Puppy nipping

Posted by Elaine
Dec 16, 2007
Good afternoon to all. I have a 3 1/2 month old Border Collie mix that is absolutely a wonderful dog. In one week she caught on to the outside potty training routine. My next hurdle is the puppy nibbles that are quickly becoming more frequent and harder. I get it that she wants my attention....but how do I get her to understand she is not to get it that way. I play with her about every 3-4 hours, after we "go out" for about 1/2 an hour. Any suggestions?
Posted by MartyEd
Dec 17, 2007
The problems you are experiencing with your puppy are relatively common ones puppy owners encounter. Nipping and biting are both common puppy behavioral problems, and they can quickly become annoying because of those razor sharp, needle-like puppy teeth. However, it is usually something a puppy will quickly grow out of. You can speed up this process by properly reprimanding your puppy whenever this happens. I would urge you to proceed with caution when training a puppy this young though. If you are too hard on her, you run the risk of making her a nervous wreck later down the line. So please take it easy on her and don’t growl too hard!

There are several techniques that can be used to put a stop to biting, nipping and mouthing. Some of the best ones are outlined in the section "Biting and Nipping" in SitStayFetch. However if you have limited success with these techniques then a more forceful method may be required. You have to let your puppy know that its biting is unacceptable. The best way to do this is by demonstrating yourself as the alpha dog by growling menacingly, the way an alpha dog would.

1. Sit down with your puppy and hold out your hand. If the puppy nipps growl sharply, say "AAHH" rather then "NO", and do not yell it, growl it; make it quite guttural (even if this gives you a sore throat).
2. Hold out your hand again, and if your puppy goes to bite it again, growl again but stand up suddenly at the same time. Walk away for a few minutes.
3. When you hold out your hand the next time and your puppy goes to nip it, quickly push her nose down. Hold out your hand again, and by then your puppy should be wary of your hand.
4. When your puppy doesn’t bite you with your hand out, give her plenty of vocal encouragement and perhaps and even a small food reward.

Be sure not to let any visitors or strangers encourage the nipping. I have found that many people think a puppy biting hands is cute because it does not hurt. And they are rewarding the puppy for biting, this is neither fair to the puppy or the owner who has to deal with a puppy who, grows bigger and stronger every day, and bites. Also never play tug of war games with your dog if you are having nipping problems. This will just encourage out of control behavior.

As stated above, read SitStayFetch for more information. Best of luck with your puppy and her current problems and remember to ensure you undertake the alpha techniques over her as a family as these will also enforce to her that you and your family are boss.

Best of luck and please let us know how you progress with her current behavior.

Kind Regards,

Mark Edwards
SitStayFetch team
Posted by Elaine
Dec 17, 2007
Thank you so much Marty for getting back to me. I did read the section you mentioned and I think with frequency she will get it. I did not however know that tug of war (which of course she likes) is not good behavior to get into. I will stop that immediately! She is a very sweet and sharp dog and watches me intently for signals arleady....and I am gentle but firm & very calm with repremands. I did the AHHH noise and she stopped, but she started up pretty fast again. I just tried putting out my hand and doing what you said with the noise and ignoring her and that seemed to work even better. I do not want to get her hand shy though.

Thanks again for your help.....I LOVE the program I purchased! This is an invaluable resource.....I will be recomending it to all my dog owner friends!