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The Chow Chow is one of the oldest breeds known to man. They originated in China as a multi-purpose dog, useful in war, hunting, and at home. With their incredibly fluffy smooth or rough coats, thicker around the ruff to intensify their lion-like appearance, their blue tongue, and wrinkled face, the Chow Chow is one of the most distinctive looking of dogs. They are simultaneously cuddly and intimidating. Chows are reputed to be fiercely loyal and protective of their families, and so it is very important to carefully socialize and train your Chow to be polite with visitors. While all puppies are prone to being mouthy and it is important for all breeds to be taught mouth manners, this is exceptionally important for breeds like the Chow.
Puppies, like human babies, explore the world with their mouths, and your Chow pup is no exception. Growing puppies also learn social rules and manners, and controlling their mouths is one of the most important of those rules. Your Chow puppy was taught about bite pressure from her mother and siblings, but she will need to learn an entirely new set of rules now that she is living in a human family. Even if you and your family are amused by your adorable Chow Chow pup's rambunctious play, you will be less happy when your Chow is big and her bites start to hurt. Teach bite inhibition and control now to prevent problems later on.
While your puppy isn't biting you just because she has nothing else to chew on, having plenty of other things to chew on will help her redirect her desire to chew on you. Make sure you have plenty of good chew toys, balls, and tug toys for her to sink her teeth into. Puppies seek out diverse materials, textures, and sizes, so make sure you provide a variety for your Chow.
Food is the great motivator when it comes to training puppies, and even if your Chow Chow really wants to nibble on you, she will find restraint when presented with actual yummy food. Make sure you have plenty of good treats available, but be careful that you balance nutrients for your puppy's rapidly growing body.
The Bite the Right Thing Method
Driven to bite
Chows are an ancient breed, largely used for protection, and some have a powerful bite and protection drive. If your puppy needs an outlet for her bite drive that isn't you, try bitework.
Bite the sleeve
Teach your Chow Chow to bite a bite sleeve by shaking it and making it enticing to her. Teach her now when a misstep won't matter as much that she is to bite the sleeve and not any other part of your body.
Earn the sleeve
When your Chow Chow bites the sleeve, let her have it for a time to reward her.
Name the bite
As your Chow Chow develops focus, give a command for the bite. Make sure it is nothing you would accidentally say. Train until your Chow is waiting patiently for the command to be said.
Control the bite
Practice having your Chow bite or not bite brave friends wearing the sleeve. With practice you will have control over when your Chow bites and when she doesn't.
The Ouch! That Hurts Method
Hands are fun
Play with your Chow puppy with your hands, allowing her to put them in her mouth but being careful not to pull back quickly and trigger her to hold on.
Ouch, too much!
As soon as your puppy nips too hard and causes you any discomfort, dramatically overplay how much it hurts, yelling "ow!", letting your hand go limp, and pulling back from play.
Remove yourself from play, closing a door between you and your puppy if necessary, for only twenty to thirty seconds.
Go back to play
Go back to playing with your Chow Chow with your hands. As soon as you are uncomfortable, go through the 'ouch' and time out routine again.
Puppy instigates play
Keep playing, allowing your puppy to draw you into play. If she presentes you with a toy, reward her and play with that. If she wants to play with your hands, be strict. She will soon likely choose to use toys.
The No Teeth on Flesh Method
Always have diverse chew and tug toys available, preferably having one on your person or within reach at all times when you are with your Chow.
Instigate play with your Chow Chow often, inviting her to play tug or chase with toys.
If your puppy ever puts teeth on you, either accidentally or on purpose in the midst of play, yell "ouch!", go limp, and remove yourself from play for several seconds.
Offer a toy
Go back to your Chow, offering a toy playfully. Continue playing as long as she doesn't put teeth on you.
Test your Chow Chow
Test your Chow's understanding and comitment to not putting teeth on you by presenting your hands while playing tug, so that she has to be careful to grasp the toy instead of you.
By Coral Drake
Published: 02/09/2018, edited: 01/08/2021