Only now he's grown into an adult dog and those play bites aren't quite so funny. In fact, they hurt. Clearly, he isn't being malicious, the tail wags and he seems generally delighted by the game, but you don't find it amusing anymore. You've tried pulling your hand away, shouting, and even resorted to smacking, but all that happens is he gets more excited and ramps up the fun.
What to do?
Ideally, start by teaching bite inhibition to a puppy. This can require you to use techniques such as timeout out or redirecting play onto a toy. An adult dog, with the potential to do harm, is a more serious prospect to deal with. Consider the suggestions below, but also know that for safety's sake it may be necessary to consult a certified behaviorist and have a safe strategy put in place.
My puppy growls and bites at my ankles, arms, and hands. We have tried lots of things to help her stop. Do you have any suggestions?
Hello Laura, Because certain things tend to work better for some dogs than others I would have to know what you have tried so far in order to say for sure what you should do, but generally I would suggest teaching your puppy a solid "Leave It" command. To teach that command check out this Wag! training article: https://wagwalking.com/training/leave-it Once Ivy knows how to "Leave It" with the treat, then practice "Leave It" with various household objects, including articles of clothing, such as pants, shoes, socks, and gloves. Work on "Leave It" until your puppy is really good at leaving those items alone when you tell her to. When she can do that, then put the clothes on yourself and practice "Leave It" that way. I would suggest you start by putting the glove on your hand and showing her your hand and covering it with your other hand if she tries to bite it, and then rewarding her with a treat when she leaves it alone. When your puppy has developed the self-control and understanding to leave the glove and other items alone while you are wearing them, then use the "Leave It" command in real life whenever your puppy starts to bite you. In addition to teaching the "Leave It" command I would also recommend changing the way you interact with your pup in the biting scenario. Pad yourself up so that the bites will not hurt, and then set up a scenario where your puppy tends to get very excited and bite you, and this time when she tries, then tell her "Aha", which sounds like "Ah Ah", in a firm, calm, and no-nonsense tone of voice, and then walk towards her, or into her if she does not get out of the way, until she either backs away a couple of feet and stops or until she walks away from the area in general. When you first practice this, expect her to rush forward to bite you again when you stop walking. What you are doing is probably new to her and she may react playfully by biting you or dominantly by rushing into your space. Simply remain calm and repeat walking toward her whenever she does it. It is extremely important that you do not yell, shout, act scared, or act angry. Your attitude is simply firm, non-nonsense, and calm. A bit like a drill Sergent. By walking toward her you are claiming that space that she is in, and conveying with your body language that that area is your space and she needs to respect it. It is important to teach the "Leave It" command also though, because that will help your puppy to understand what she should be doing instead of biting you, and then you can reward her for calm behavior instead or biting. The more you reward her for calm behavior and are consistent about her respecting your space, the quicker she can learn what TO do instead, which is be calm or chew on a toy. When she is really wound up, also give her one of her own toys to help her make the right choice. Do know that your pup's behavior is fairly common at this age. She does need your help to learn and to stop doing it, especially now that her jaw strength is increasing, but it is common. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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