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puppy biting

February 2nd, 2005, 12:58 PM
i have a question about duffy, our little guy who's 15 weeks now. he's coming along well with his training, he can recognize his name and sit, when he isn't to preoccupied with getting into mischeif. he's a real sweetheart with one major problem--biting and nipping. he's never done this with the intention to hurt, just playing, but those sharp little puppy teeth can do some damage.

we've tried yelping like dogs and giving a stern a "no", replacing our fingers and toes with a toy and then hopping up on the couch to ignore him. i've read this is the kind of method that works but not for duffy apparantly. once you're up on the couch, he's trying his hardest to jump up on you (fortunately, he's too small--for now). eventually he will give up but he's pretty persistant. what can we do?

we've taken him to puppy school but over $100 bucks later (with a few classes still to go) we're not satisfied with the teacher's response toward biting. she says leave the room but we're not about to let our little guy have free reign of any room yet. she also suggested putting him in his crate when he misbehaves like this but i refuse to turn his crate into a "time-out" zone since it's his bed and his comfort spot.

any suggestions? thanks so much!

February 2nd, 2005, 01:21 PM
Again, this all comes down to respecting you. He would not nip at the leader who told him not to and meant it. He would go and pick on the rest of the pack who are litter mates or more tolerant. You have to be that strong leader who says 'no more!'
You need to teach him bite-inhibition. We do this by letting him play with our hands. We try to maneuver our thumbs so that it is in his mouth, when he goes to press down - we press our thumb quickly down on his tongue and then quickly let go - as we say 'quit' in a sharp, firm tone. This will be uncomfortable to him and cause him to open his mouth and want to get rid of our thumb. He might go right back to it thinking that was a mistake on your part. But if you are clear and consistent he will get the message and stop. The key is to keep giving him another chance to make a better choice. If you have done this 3-5 times and he is not rethinking his behavior, then you need to be more intense in your response - not mean or loud, just intense. Act like he really hurt you and get miffy. This is not a game. I know he is little, but you are not going to hurt him - you just need to impress him.

February 2nd, 2005, 01:41 PM
tenderfoot, as a trainer yourself, would you agree with what our trainer suggested? i'm trying to figure out if she's good or bogus because i'd like to continue duffy's training after puppy school finishes.

February 2nd, 2005, 04:15 PM
Lots of trainers advise to walk away - it is a very passive way to try to teach and may never work. In our mind we would rather be clear in our teaching and let the puppy know just what is permitted and what is not. I would rather teach right now, so that we can continue being together right now.
It is the same as telling people to turn and walk away when their dog jumps on them - it usually doesn't change the dogs behavior, you walking away just empowers the dog.. We say step towards the dog and tell him "off" as you make him back away from you. This empowers you as the leader and rule maker.
I cannot judge the quality of your trainer without knowing them very well - unless they were ever to advise you to be mean or violent - then it would be a big NO. You have to judge for yourself - how effective is the training and are you happy with the method? Personally, for your Duffy to only know his name & sit at this age is not much. He could easily have a 40 word vocabulary by now. During our first session with someone their dog can learn 15 things in one hour. I don't expect any of it to be perfect, but they sure can know it fairly well in that short time. You really aren't teaching Duffy how to sit or come or rollover - he knows how to do it all. You are learning how to communicate clearly and effectivley so that he knows what you are asking and does it out of love and respect for you.