How to Train a Corgi Puppy to Not Bite

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You love playing with your Corgi puppy. You let him nibble on your fingers as you scratch his ears. You encourage him to pounce on you hands during play time. Then one day, "ouch!" He bites down on your hand and this time, it hurts! Your puppy looks at you, confused, wondering why you stopped the fun game all of the sudden. As far as they know, this is what playtime should be like.

Defining Tasks

Nibbling and mouthing are normal behaviors for all puppies, especially for a herding animal like Corgis. However, as your Corgi puppy's adult teeth begin to grow in, a nip stops being so cute. It is important to train your Corgi puppy not to bite at an early age to prevent issues as they grow. You can't expect your pup to understand overnight that he shouldn't bite. After all,  biting things is the way puppies naturally understand their world and play fighting is the way they learn to become grown-up dogs. But, with consistent training, you can help your puppy distinguish between what they are and aren't allowed to bite.

Getting Started

Set aside time each day to train your Corgi puppy not to bite. You can use training treats to reward the behaviors you like, but do not use physical punishment to reprimand the behaviors you don't. Punishing your puppy physically will only teach him to be more aggressive. Instead, invest in a variety of toys that your puppy can bite instead, such as tug toys. If biting is very bad, you can try putting a product like Bitter Apple or Vick's VapoRub on your hands during training sessions.

The Yelping Method

Most Recommended
4 Votes
Step
1
Start playing with your Corgi
Use a toy, not your hands, to encourage your puppy to start playing with you. Allow him to nibble on your fingers as you play.
Step
2
React when the bite is uncomfortable
As soon as your Corgi puppy bites down on your hand to the point where it causes discomfort, yelp loudly. A high-pitched noise is good because it mimics the sounds your pup's brothers and sisters would make during play fighting.
Step
3
Let your hand go limp
Don't try to pull your hand out of your puppy's mouth as this action will only encourage him to chase it down. Instead, let your hand go still or limp, so it is no longer fun to play with. Your puppy should let go when you yelp or once your hand is "boring."
Step
4
Reward him for letting go
When your puppy lets go of your hand, or even better, licks you as an apology, give him a treat. With puppies, you always want to reward good behaviors rather than punish bad ones.
Step
5
Start from the beginning
It will take several training sessions for your Corgi to realize what you are trying to teach him. Repeat this process three or four times during a session. Practicing every day will help your puppy understand that biting is not okay.
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Play with your pup
Start a game with your puppy using a toy and let him nibble or bite your fingers. Don't react until your puppy bites too hard.
Step
2
Yelp and walk away
When your Corgi puppy gets too excited and really bites down on your hand, say "ouch" or yelp and then walk away. If your puppy follows you and tries to keep biting your ankles, leave him alone in a puppy-proofed room.
Step
3
Put your puppy in time out
Don't start playing with your puppy again for at least 20 to 30 seconds. You want to teach him that biting ends the fun. His desire to keep playing will drive him to learn the rules to the game.
Step
4
Calmly return to the game and repeat
Without making a big fuss, start what you were doing again. Encourage your Corgi puppy to return to the game. When your puppy bites too hard, repeat the time-out process again.
Step
5
Add rules as needed
Once your puppy gets the hang of being gentle during play time, you can keep using this technique to stop him from even nibbling on you. Yelping and putting your puppy in time out any time his teeth touch your skin can encourage him to only bite his toys rather than you.
Recommend training method?

The Replacement Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Choose a toy you know your puppy loves
Start carrying around your puppy's favorite toy, or if not possible, have a sense of where it is in the house most of the time. For this method, you will need to be able to quickly offer an alternative to your pup's biting habits.
Step
2
Give your puppy something to bite
Some Corgis are more likely to nip at your heels than your fingers. Figure out what actions encourage your puppy to nip or bite and then create a controlled situation using those actions.
Step
3
Freeze!
As soon as your puppy starts to nip at your hands or feet, stop moving. In general, puppies grab at things that look like something worth chasing. This can be a pant leg or your fingers. By stopping the movement, the allure of whatever your puppy is chasing wears off.
Step
4
Offer an enticing replacement
Wave your puppy's favorite toy to encourage him to let go of whatever part of you he is biting. If you don't have the toy on you, just stay still until your puppy lets go on his own.
Step
5
Reward him for good behavior
If you were carrying the toy, let your puppy have it. If you weren't, go get it quickly and give it to him. You may also want to give him a treat when he lets go of you quickly. However, be careful with your rewards. Dogs, and puppies especially, don't have long memories. The reward should come as close to the action you want to encourage as possible so your Corgi puppy understands what behavior you want to see more of.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Christina Gunning

Published: 03/12/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Winston
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
12 Weeks
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Question
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Winston
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
12 Weeks

Biting and nipping

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Darla, The biting is probably mostly normal puppy mouthing, but due to pup's breed, you may also have some herding behavior happening when pup nips while people are moving. I recommend working on the Leave It method and the Out command with pup to help pup learn self-control. I would also give pup a mental outlet for the herding through things like regular training practice, fetch, teaching pup jobs they can do, or toys like durable puzzle toys, dog food stuffed chew toys. While pup is learning Leave It and Out - which will take practice, you can immediately use the Bite Inhibition method, which will likely help somewhat until Leave It and Out can address the behavior a bit better in most cases. Bite - Leave It and Bite Inhibition methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ If pup isn't already crate trained, I would also crate train pup, and when they are overly wound up they actually probably need a rest time with a dog food stuffed chew toy. Puppies can get kind of crazy when actually over-tired. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Free PDF E-book download, After You Get Your Puppy can also be downloaded at the link below. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zorro
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Zorro
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Months

Nips and bites my hands and feet persistently after I come home from work or sitting quietly. Less so (or not at all) during the mornings or weekends.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Zorro, First, teach pup the Leave It and Out and Place commands. Once he understands those commands well from practice, use those commands to tell him to stop biting (Leave It), go away from you if the temptation is too strong (Out), or go settle down somewhere (Place). Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - meaning leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ If pup disobeys your Out command, use the section in the Out article on "how to use Out to deal with pushy behavior" to enforce that command. If pup disobeys Leave It, use a Pet Convincer - which is a small canister of pressurized unscented air (don't use citronella) to spray a small puff of air at his side as a consequence, then make him leave the area where you are. If pup disobeys Place, keep a drag leash on him during that part of the day while you are home so you can calmly pick up the end of the leash and move him to Place, insisting he stay there. He will likely try harder to get you excited and flustered to get your attention when you first enforce the rules - stay firm, calm, and very consistent with the rules. After a lot of insisting, being firm, and being consistent every time the behavior normally improves. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jorgi
Corgi
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jorgi
Corgi
10 Months

How can I teach my dog to stop nipping?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think it is important to channel Jorgi's energy elsewhere. Make sure that exercise is a big part of the day - puppies have a lot of energy to expend! Take Jorgi for a few walks every day. Play fetch and ball in the yard. Look at the tips here: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-nipping. All of the methods are good. It is also essential that Jorgi is socialized and has the opportunity to play with other dogs. Start obedience training as well. In group classes, dogs are trained to follow direction and that can be used with the nipping situation, too. Make sure that Jorgi has interactive toys that stimulate mentally (like puzzle feeders). The Corgi has working and herding lineage and Jorgi will thrive on learning in class. Good luck and try the instruction suggested in the guide I linked on "stop nipping." Happy training!

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Walter
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Walter
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
3 Months

My puppy gets very aggressive when I go to put his harness or seat belt on him. He barks loudly and bites at my arm. How do I discourage this behavior? I've tried using treats to distract him, but it doesn't really help. He also has started biting a lot while we play. I can't tell if it's just normal puppy mouthing/nibbling or actual biting. Please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abby, It sounds like he is protesting the harness, which is different than puppy mouthing. If not addressed that can lead to future issues as an adult when someone goes to touch him. Find some of his favorite things like treats, food, or toys. Toss the toys onto the harness so that he ends up touching it a lot while you play. Feed him his kibble sprinkled around the harness and seat belt clip, so that he touches them a lot while eating. When he is fine touching them, then feed him his meals one piece at a time, holding a piece of food against the harness. As soon as he touches the harness, give him the piece of food. Feed him his entire meals this way. When he quickly goes to touch the harness to get the food, then hold the food through the head hole of the harness, so that he has to reach in to get it. Practice that until he is comfortable reaching into it. Don't rush this and scare him by trying to throw the harness on him when he gets close. As he improves, gradually hold the piece of food a bit further away through the harness hole so that he has to reach his head further into the harness to get the food. Practice this under he puts his head all the way into the harness himself each time. When he will do that, feed him several pieces of food in a row while you pretend to buckle the harness with your other hand. Practice gently moving the buckles around while feeding treats, then taking the harness head piece off again. Do this until he is fine with having you put the harness over his head and mess with the buckles. When he gets to that point, buckle the harness, unbuckle it, then take it off again, while feeding treats the entire time. Finally, put the harness on him, buckle it, and clip the seat belt clip onto it while feeding treats. The key is to ease into the harness and break it into small steps so that you do not overwhelming him. You want to practice each step until he is comfortable with that step before adding the next step. Expect this to take a couple of weeks of practicing this at most meals. After he is used to the harness and buckle, I suggest continuing to hand feed him his meals, one piece at a time as often as you can as rewards for letting you touch him. Gently touch an area of his body and give a treat. Touch an ear - give a treat. Touch his mouth - give a treat. Do this with every area until he is tolerant of being touched all over. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Wilson
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
4 Months
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Question
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Wilson
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
4 Months

Our little guy will not stop nipping and biting myself and my 19 year old daughter. He’s her pup. We have had him since he was eight weeks old and this is been a continual battle that we cannot find a fix for. We’ve tried time outs, distractions, yelping. Nothing works. He just nips more. Clothing, hands, arms, whatever he can latch onto. And he’s super fast about it. He doesn’t bite my 26-year-old son nor my husband and will actually be submissive (lays ears back and licks) and listens to both of them if they tell them to stop behaviors. When my daughter and I try to tell him to stop doing something or distract him from biting us he escalates his behavior. He’s ripping my skin open with no end in sight and I’m completely frustrated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elaina, Check out the article linked below and follow the "Leave It" method to teach self-control. Once he knows that method (which will take a couple of weeks of frequent practice for him to likely begin fully understanding), then use the pressure method from the same article as disciple when you tell him to "Leave It" and he doesn't stop the biting. Teaching leave it has to come first for the pressure method to be as effective. Leave it and Pressure methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Also, teach Out by following the How to Teach the Out Command section of the article I have linked below. Once pup knows what Out means (it means leave the area), then follow the How to Use Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior of the article to enforce your Out Command when he isn't listening. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ If things aren't beginning to improve over the next month, I suggest finding a well recommended balanced trainer who specializes in behavior issues and also has a lot of experience with puppies, to help you in person. Enrolling puppy in a puppy play group (some pet stores offer free ones) or puppy kindergarten class that has time for off-leash puppy play can also help pup learn how to use his mouth more gently - called bite inhibition and normally learned through play with other puppies. Finally, I suggest crate training. When pup gets really wild he is likely over tired and needs some calm time. Give him a dog-food stuffed hollow durable chew toy in a crate and let him rest for an hour - puppies tend to throw their own version of tantrums when overtired. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Hi there, I have an 11 week old Corgi puppy that I have had for 2 weeks. I have heard nothing but great things about Corgis so I thought a Corgi is the best choice for me. He doesn't respond to any yelps or time outs, replacements, nothing when he bites. And let me tell you, I have met a lot of puppies in my life and never have I heard of one so unteachable as my Corgi. He will play with a toy for about 5 minutes then it's flesh he wants to bite! He goes for hands, arms, legs, feet anything! I will redirect him to the you or use a different one but he bites even harder onto my skin and starts growling and has no interest in letting go. I believe he is showing signs of aggression, what do you think?

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Question
Watts
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
8 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Watts
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
8 Months

Bites when does not get his way. Draws blood. Tried all methods used with our other dogs. This one we love. He is our sons and we have him due to move.his friend watched him a month. All training out window

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Vickie, At eight months of age you will want to deal with the mouthing differently than you would with a young puppy. First, work on teaching your dog a solid "Leave It" command following the "Leave It" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Once your dog is able to obey the leave it command during training sessions, then when your dog tries to mouth you in real life tell him "Leave It" and correct him if he disobeys. Check out this video link below. At 3:33 time on the video, the trainer mentions an older dog mouthing and correcting the dog. You will also see below that video the link to his YouTube channel where you can find specific videos on different ways and tools to correct with to learn how to correctly correct a dog effectively and safely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRJJvy3IkIE Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Duke
Corgi
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Duke
Corgi
10 Months

We rescued him about 2 months ago. We were told he had a slight nipping problem but it was playful. Well it has become more aggressive but anything you do, he thinks of it as a game. The problem is that we are expecting, and I worry for our baby that he may play and nip... but that our baby's skin is alot more sensitive than ours. We do have toys, and we play with him. We don't know what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chelsy, I suggest teaching pup a few commands to directly help with the biting, and a few other commands to help build pups inpulse control, calmness, and obedience before baby comes. Start with the Leave It command from the article I have linked below and the video below that. Leave it: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Check out the video linked below. https://youtu.be/EcwvUOf5oOg I also suggest practicing additional commands that work on impulse control, calmness, and building respect. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Archie
Corgi
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Archie
Corgi
4 Months

My puppy bites absolutely everything non stop! He's chewed through several chargers, the wall, decoration baskets, and even my clothes! He likes to eat everything from paper to leaves to paper towels. He is driving me crazy and I don't know what else to do.
He bites me extremely hard and I have tried all of these methods to no avail. I don't know what else to do. I have had him for 2 months and behavior has yet to get better.

He bites the family as well, but he bites me the most. Please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Isabella, Check out the article linked below to deal with the household item chewing. Pup especially needs to be crate trained and tethered to yourself with a 6 foot hands free leash right now while learning and in a heavy chewing phase. While pup is tethered to yourself, you will have lots of opportunity to practice commands like Leave It and Out to help pup learn better self-control. Be sure to give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy - like a Kong, or frozen Kong to chew on instead also. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ For the people biting, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the yelp method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room - pay attention to the section on dealing with Pushy behavior. Out is another great command for teaching pup to give space and calm back down when they are very wound up and struggling to listen: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Also, know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep at it. Commands that increase self-control in general and teach pup calmness are also good things to teach. These commands will take time to teach of course, but they can also be a great way to create your own puppy class with pup. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Riley
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Riley
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10 Weeks

Puppy is scared of food bowl. Will only eat food if it is placed onto the floor. How do I correct this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tori, Many puppies are afraid of a food bowl if the bowl is reflective or the water or food moves - like automatic dispensers. If that's the case, I would start with a non-reflective bowl until pup is used to eating from a bowl, at which point you can try switching back later. If the bowl isn't automatic or reflective, I suggest feeding pup on a plate, waiting until pup is completely comfortable, and gradually choosing bowls with slightly higher rims overtime - until pup can eat out of the normal bowl with the rims again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Chuy
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
13 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Chuy
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
13 Weeks

While playing (Usually 10-30 mins of fetch/tough of war) Chuy gets overly excited runs circles trying to jump on the couch nipping & biting like crazy at anything. Including the kids.We stopped yelping “ow” it excites him more.

The time out method works a little better. We all leave the room but while trying to calm him down to get him into his puppy safe space is difficult. He’s soo excited he bites anything in his path.

I have tried holding his collar & calmly saying “Relax”

Is there another method that would work better?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Haidi, What you just described is commonly called the "puppy zommies". It's normal, although a bit tricky to deal with in the moment. I suggest practicing something called "Jazz up and Settle Down". Which is a bit like red light, green light for dogs. During training, get him a little excited, then command "Stop" or something he knows like "Sit", and freeze. Wait and completely ignore him until he calms back down. As soon as he gets calm or sits, praise and give a treat. Tell him "Let's Play!" again, and start playing and getting him a bit excited again. As soon as he starts to get a little worked up (not too much at first), command "Stop" or "Sit" again, then wait, reward with a treat when he calms down, then continue the game after he is rewarded. Repeat this a few times each training session, then end the session (have lots of frequent shorter sessions throughout the day at his age). As he improves, and can really calm down quickly, let him get a bit more excited before calling Stop. Gradually work up to him becoming more and more excited and having to calm down quickly from a higher level of excitement as he improves. Also, understand that this will take some time and practice. Puppies have to learn self-control just like any other skill, while young. This game can help him develop it sooner though. I also suggest teaching the Leave It command from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Uhltred
Corgi
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Uhltred
Corgi
1 Month

Potty training

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior.

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Nike
Corgi Chihuahua
4 Months
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Nike
Corgi Chihuahua
4 Months

Hi Trainers, and thanks for taking the time! Nike here is my heart. He has 2 issues; first, the benign one: How do I teach him to stay?

It seems like a 2-person job! I take him thru commands every day, but no matter how I try, i can't get him to stay for even a moment as i back away - in order to treat him, and reinforce the behavior. Advice?

The 2nd issue is more pernicious. He's becoming good aggressive, most especially w/the cat - and even tho I've had them eating in close quarters (and even out of the same bowl, for training and tolerance purposes) but now all the sudden at 4 mos, he's getting snarly when the cat even approaches him while he's eating his favorite treats. What gives?

I use all positive reinforcement in his training - or have up til now, and have recently had to employ a 2oz water bottle for a quick spray to the face as a correction. Which is a cat method, but seems to work for less heinous offenses like coffee table surfing. The food guarding though, has got me licked! What to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
841 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chelsea, For the Stay, I recommend purchasing a long training leash, looping the leash around something secure that's behind pup, like a stairway banister, then feeding the leash to where you are standing as you back way. When pup tries to follow you, use the leash that's connect to pup and looped around something behind pup, and you're holding the handle, to tug pup back a bit. When pup stays, even if you had to help with the leash tugging them back, while you step a couple feet away, then toss pup a treat. Unfortunately, having the cat so close while pup eats might actually be what's causing the aggression. Pup may feel like they are competing with the cat for food, creating stress around meal times. That stress can lead to defensiveness around the food. I wouldn't feel bad about that since it's a very common mistake to disturb dogs while eating in hopes of preventing food aggression - but when it's not made fun for pup it can have the opposite effect than what was intended. To start, feed the animals away from each other. When not training, I would feed pup in a closed crate so the cat can't bother them while they eat and they can start to relax during meals. I would also work on creating a positive association about the cat being nearby while pup is eating, to change pup's feelings of competing with the cat. To do this, back tie pup somewhere for safety reasons while you feed them, with a leash that is long enough pup won't feel it unless they charge toward the cat. Have someone else walk the cat past pup at a distance that pup's body language can stay completely relaxed while they pass. As the cat passes, give pup more food or toss extra delicious treats into pup's bowl. Practice this often as the relaxed distance. As pup improves, gradually practice with the cat closer, just one foot closer at a time, until the cat can eventually walk by within three or four feet and pup stay completely relaxed and happy about it. Do not allow the cat to bother pup's food in general at any point. Feed the animals separately to avoid future stress and competing. Be sure to do this with pup's back tie leash length in mind, to ensure that the cat is never close enough that pup could actually reach the cat if you moved the training forward sooner than pup was ready for and pup lunged at the cat - if that happens, calmly correct pup, but then go back a step in training and practice at that step for longer before decreasing distance again, knowing that the cat was probably too close before during the training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Scooby
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
8 Weeks
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Scooby
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
8 Weeks

He is very sassy. When I tell him no he barks back. He nibbles at my hands and ankles. He will have spurts of “crazy” moments where he jumps, barks, and bites. Please help!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Puppy
Rat Terrier
7 Years
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Puppy
Rat Terrier
7 Years

Whenever someone comes to visit puppy runs to the door barking and growling and the door and when I open the door he'll run up and bite them barking. How can I get him to stop

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. It sounds like you have your hands full. I am going to provide you with information on how to correct this behavior. You won’t be able to solve your dog’s overprotective behavior in one day. In the meantime, you don’t want to put your life on hold. You can still invite guests into your home as long as you prioritize managing your dog’s behavior. You’ll need a short-term strategy to start showing your overprotective dog what behavior is unacceptable while also keeping your guests safe. There are a few ways to do this. Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash while friends are visiting gives you control over your dog’s actions. Leash him up before the doorbell rings and keep him close as you greet your guests. During the visit, you can let the leash drag and only use it if you have to. Muzzle: If you feel his behavior warrants the use of a muzzle for the time being while you work on solving this problem, then it may be a wise choice. Separate Room: Your dog won’t get better without practice, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks versus rewards. If your overprotective dog is in the beginning stages of training, keeping him separated from guests might be best. You don’t want to put a friend’s safety at risk or needlessly stress out your dog. As long as you keep working toward stopping the behavior, separating an overprotective dog from company is a temporary management solution. Start Obedience Training Obedience training is a must for every dog, and it’s especially important for overprotective dogs. Working with your dog on things like “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” and “heel,” will help build his impulse control. He’ll start seeing you as a capable leader and will turn to you for guidance. A mistake many pup parents make is stopping obedience training once their dog masters the basics skills. Being well-trained is about more than knowing how to sit when a person holds a treat in front of their face. It’s a lifetime lesson, and even senior dogs need regular training. Commit to training your dog several times a day for short periods of time. Make Your Dog Work for Affection You can’t help but smother your dog with love every time he’s within petting distance, but that isn’t always what’s best for him. He will start to feel entitled to your attention, and that’s part of the problem. To remedy this, initiate a “work for it” program that allows you to show your dog affection as long as he earns your attention in appropriate ways. Make him sit, stay calm, and do whatever else you ask before doling out whatever it is he wants. If he’s excited for dinner, make him sit and leave it before digging in. If he wants in your lap, ask him to do a trick first. Never give your dog attention if he rudely nudges your hand or barks in your face. He needs to know polite behavior, and polite behavior only, is how he gets what he wants. You ignore everything else. Involve Other People in the Dog’s Life Most overprotective dogs choose to guard only the person they feel closest to. It’s usually the same person who fills their food bowls, takes them on walks, and handles training. They become obsessively attached, and a strong bond gradually mutates into overprotective behavior. Putting some space between you and your dog will help him learn to trust other people. Enlist the entire family’s help and take a step back in your role as primary caregiver. Have someone else feed the dog a few times a week, and encourage other people to engage her in playtime. This will help him be more comfortable with different people. Socialize Socialization is best done during the puppy stages, but even adult and senior dogs benefit from new experiences. Exposing your overprotective dog to new places, experiences, and people, will help him learn that not everyone is out to hurt you. Make sure each new experience is positive, and encourage your dog without forcing him to interact. If your dog is afraid, you don’t want to make things worse. Take socialization at the pace he’s comfortable with. If he seems overwhelmed, back up and try something a little smaller. These are some general ideas and they can be modified to fit your dynamic. These behaviors do take time, I am talking months, to correct. And sometimes the behaviors get worse before they get better. So just push through that time if that starts to happen. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Corey
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
4 Months
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Corey
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
4 Months

I need to know how to potty train him, and how to get him to stop nipping at my ankles and clothing.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
227 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use the crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures. Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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