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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My puppy does bite me but I'm able to tell him sit to curb it. The problem is, I assume my 4 year old chihuahua "trained" Lucky, so he now behaves like her, and he also keeps biting her whenever we walk through the door with her. He also plays tug of war with her leash, and keeps tugging, so we have to keep it off her.
My chihuahua is 8 lbs, Lucky is 32. How do i get him to stop biting her, and stop him from learning the bad behavior from her (e.g. barks at other people at a distance like from the window, but at 3 feet or closer,jumps on them happily)
Hello Kien, For the biting, check out the article that I have linked below and first follow the "Leave It" method. Once Lucky knows "Leave It" and can do it with clothes, then if he continues to bite you after you tell him "Leave It", use the "Pressure" method as a form of discipline. Teaching him "Leave It" first, and then using the "Pressure" method to enforce your command will help him understand what you want from him and prevent him from simply getting more riled up when you use the "Pressure" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite You can use the "Leave It" command to teach Luck to leave your smaller dog alone too. Also, teach him an "Out" command. To teach him "Out", toss a large treat several feet away from you, while with the same hand, pointing to where you want him to go with your pointer finger. When he runs over to get the food, praise him. As soon as he finishes eating the treat, tell him "Okay" to indicate that he can come back toward you, and encourage him back. Repeat this often until you can point and say "Out" and he will go to where you are pointing before you toss the treat. When he does that, then toss the treat to him when he is in the correct spot, away from you, where you pointed. Next, transition to using it in real life. Whenever he disobeys the "Out" command, then get in front of him and calmly and firmly walk toward him until he backs out of the area you told him to get out of. Continue to block him and stand firm until he gives up trying to go back to where you told him to leave. If he tries to return to the area you told him to leave once you walk back there or away from there, then repeat walking toward him. Expect to repeat it a lot at first. The more consistent you are about enforcing him staying out of somewhere you have told him to leave, the more likely he is to respect your command. Practice in the kitchen, around things he wants to bother like plants, and finally, around other dogs. Keep him out of the area you tell him to leave, until he is told "Okay", so that he will learn to learn and stay out of an area through your consistency. This takes repetition. When he has learned the command through practice, then tell Lucky "Out" when he is bothering your small dog. If he disobeys, then get between them, in front of Lucky and walk toward him firmly to make him back up. Do this until he is several feet away from her. Expect him to try to get past you at first. Be like a soccer goalie and prevent him from getting by until he gives up and leaves. With practice he should learn that you mean it when you say "Out". The only way to get Lucky to stop learning from your small dog is to train both dogs to behave well, to keep them apart, or to constantly work on undoing Lucky's new bad habits and re-teaching him good ones. That last one is very frustrating and hard at times. I recommend working on training both dogs to behave whenever possible, then you can enforce your rules for both dogs when they act out, and both dogs will understand what they are and are not supposed to be doing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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First thing in the morning and at the end of the day right at bed time snoopy is very wild and aggressive. While eating a pillow I tried to take it off him he nipped me and a mean growl! What to do?
Hello Shari, First, he probably needs a combination or mental and physical exercise during the evenings, especially if you are gone during the day. Work on teaching him to sit and bring a ball back to you, and then play fetch with some training commands incorporated into it. You can also set up an agility course in your backyard and practice that, or take him for a run and work on "Down", "Heel", "Stay", "Come" and "Watch Me" sporadically throughout the walk by using a long leash reeled up during the run. You want to get his energy out, but you also want to challenge his brain to help him focus and calm down. Both will wear him out and any training will help with respect. The nipping is probably the worse during the evening because he is highly aroused during that time. That means that behaviors that are normally there during the day are simply worse during that time. The aggressive tendencies are probably there all the time, but only obvious when he gets that excited. I suggest teaching him the "Drop It" command using positive reinforcement methods, and then generally putting him on a "No Free Lunch" program for a month or until you see any pushiness and aggressive tendencies improve. A "No Free Lunch" program simply means that he has to work for everything that he gets, including affection, toys, food, walks, and everything else that he enjoys, by doing a simple obedience command for you first, like "Sit". Check out the article that I have linked below. The "Working" method is a "No Free Lunch" program. Follow the steps from that method, but also check out the other two methods found in that article. Those can be helpful as well. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Is it normal for my dog to play bite me? When I transition from running or playinf fetch to me petting him, he bites my hand, and I pull it quickly so he won't get to it. Our biting game is, I tap him, I pull my hand back before he gets to it. Should I quit this game to prevent him from biting?
And when we clip his nails or even touch them (he thinks we'll cut them if we touch his nails or paws), he bites us savagely, but out of extreme fear.
Same with my chihuahua, she bites us when he clip her nails. Lucky bites us when we clip his nails or wipe his paws with a towel after he comes in from the yard or from the dog park.
The only person within our family my chihuahua bites is me, and that happened ever since we got Lucky, in May 2018. What happened, and how do I get her to stop, so if she runs to this place that she's not supposed to be, I can get her?
Hello Kien, Lucky biting you gently while you play is normal at this age. As long as he does it very gentle and stops when you tell him to, you are alright either way. He will be more likely to play-bite other people if you keep it up but it can also help him remember how to control how hard he bites - which can make him safer if he were to bite when he got injured. Most people teach their dogs to stop mouthing because it can be a tricky issue to manage correctly - you have to teach the dog to stop when you say to and to only do it during play and to only do it gently, so teaching a dog not to do it at all is easier. I personally will let my retriever do it during play but she has been taught a stop command and only does it when I let her know that it's okay and not at other times. If you want to teach him to stop biting completely, then teach him a "Leave It" command and use that command to tell him to stop. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Leave It" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite The biting during grooming is not okay because he is using his mouth to control what you are doing and that is a mild form of fear-aggression. He needs to be desensitized to having his feet touched and nails clipped - which means teaching him to relax and enjoy the process more. To teach that, grab a bunch of his food kibble (you can use his whole dinner or breakfast for this every day or as often as you are able to practice it). Call him over to you, put the nail clippers on the floor and put treats on and around the clippers and encourage him to eat the food. When he relaxes around the clippers finally, then pick them up, hold them out for him to sniff and whenever he sniffs or touches them, give him a couple of treats. If he needs extra encouragement put treats in your hand with the clippers. Practice these steps until he is totally comfortable with the clippers. Next, touch the TOP of his paw gently with one hand - without the clippers yet, while you praise him and feed him treats from your other hand at the same time. Practice this with each paw until he is alright with having his paws touched. When he relaxes having his paws gently touched, then gently pick up his paw while you feed him treats at the same time. Repeat that until he is comfortable with it. Next, gently rub his paw and put a little bit of gentle pressure on his toes with your fingers (like you would while holding them for a nail clipping - NOT hard enough for it to hurt though!) and give him several treats while you do this. When you do any of these touches, let go of his paw when he finishes the treats in your other hand. When he is completely comfortable having his paws touched and being around the clippers, then touch the clippers to the tip of his nail (without clipping anything) while you feed him treats. Practice this until he is comfortable having all nails touched with the clippers. Finally, clip a tiny piece off the end of his nail, just so that he will feel it a little (but not so much that you might cut his nail too short), while you feed him several treats, one after another. Practice that until he is comfortable, then gradually cut a little bit more of his nail during training sessions as he improves, until he can handle a normal nail clipping. - It will always be important for you to be careful not to cut his nail so short that it hurts though. You can practice this same type of training with your chihuahua. It will probably take longer with her because she has been afraid for a lot longer though. Also, practice getting him used to having his paws touched with a towel by giving him a treat whenever the towel starts to touch him - before he starts biting, to get him used to that as well. For the running with your Chihuahua, you would need to keep a leash on her so that you can simply step on it and lead her out of where she is hiding without her being able to use her biting to stop you - when she bites and you stops, she learns that that works and so does it more often. When she comes out and is not trying to bite you, give her a treat every time to build her trust. She might be biting you because she is more nervous around Lucky and you are the person she least respects in the family so she directs that aggression toward you more than other people. She probably had the same amount of respect for you before but now is just more nervous so is taking out her feelings and displeasure on you more. Dogs tend to respect younger members of the family the least, and women less than men, unless that person does something to change that like practices training with the dog often. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We been trying for a year to stop her from biting she is getting better with humans but still needs work, and is always biting our older dog. What can we do?
Hello Makaila, After a year of little progress, I suggest hiring a professional trainer to come to your home. Look for someone who has studied different methods and knows more than just one technique for teaching things. Look for a trainer who uses both fair corrections and positive reinforcement to train. Without knowing what all you have tried I am not able to suggest methods well. After a year I suspect you need someone to actually demonstrate the training though. There are a number of ways to deal with mouthing in an older puppy. As a trainer I typically use slightly different methods for older puppies than I would with a young puppy, because at a year, the cause is a bit different. The best method will depend on your specific dog, which is why a private trainer is best suited to this situation because they can evaluate, guide, and change details in the training protocol while you see how your dog responds to the training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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he is biting aggressively, trying out different solutions but not working, please help
Hello Sirisha, Puppy mouthing is completely normal and healthy for 2 month old puppies. They learn how to control the pressure of their mouths, learn about the world around them, play with other puppies, ect...they have to be taught that humans can't be mouthed the way other puppies can be, and that takes time for a puppy to learn - usually weeks of being consistent. To help him learn, check out the article linked below and start by using the Bite Inhibition method - you can use that method starting today. While you are using that, go ahead and start teaching Leave It from the Leave It method also - this will take time to teach but is the end goal with stopping biting. Once he knows the Leave It command really well, use that to tell him to stop biting - he should understand what to do then since you have worked on that command. Right now he probably thinks you are just roughhousing when you try to get him to stop. If he doesn't stop when you say Leave It once he understands what Leave It means, then use the Pressure method from the same article to gently discipline his disobedience to Leave It. Puppy Biting article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Expect all of this to take a few weeks of being consistent. He should gradually improve during that time until the biting stops completely before five months of age - when his jaws get stronger. Also, work on teaching the Out command - which means leave the area, and use that command when he is struggling to listen. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ When he is really wound up he may also need a rest time. Many puppies get really excited and 'crazy' when they are actually tired and overstimulated and need some down time. When he seems to be really struggling but has been given exercise and mental stimulation that day, then he likely needs a break. Place him in his crate with a hollow chew toy that has been stuffed with dog-food soaked in water and a little peanut butter so that he can do something calm or take a nap. Crate Training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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