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Still Nipping.

April 25th, 2006, 09:26 AM
My 5 month old yorkie will NOT STOP NIPPING! I can't touch her head, back, feet, anything without her shark head whipping around to bite.

I've tried yelling "OUCH!" and stopping all play. I did that for a couple months, but it didn't work at all. Next, I took a member's advice and gently held her mouth shut when she tried to bite. That seems to make her do it even MORE.

This is getting REALLY old. I've been giving her treats when she doesn't nip, yelling when she does, and being completely consistent. She just WON'T STOP.

Please tell me this is something she will grow out of!!! She has a billion other thing to chew on and bite. I encourage her and reward her for chewing "good" things. Does she not respect me? Does she think I am a litter-mate? :confused:

April 25th, 2006, 10:47 AM
5 mths is a tough age, and I think alot of it is probably normal puppy behavior, but at the same time, I think you definately need to teach NO BITING. Your pup will have many routine trips to the vet and/or groomer in her lifetime, where she will be touched. He head, her paws, her body, and it's imperitive you teach her to accept this.

Instead of yelling OUCH! try to encourage touch. hold a treat or toy in one hand although don't let her have it, just smell it, and know it's there. With the other hand, gently touch her head (while she's focused on the treat/toy). if she bites you, use a command such as NO BITING! or AHHH-AHH! and she gets nothing. If she accepts the touch, she gets the treat or toy. Remember to phase out the treats/toy, it's only to shape the behavior, not forever. You can always praise though!

I generally only used OUCH! when I got nipped during play. I said it LOUD and SHARP, basically startling my dog - which stopped the biting. Then I stopped playing, and left the room to do something else. my dog learned a nip = OUCH and playtime ends. After 5-10min though, it's forgive & forget. resume play, or do something else. Take a walk, work on training, etc...

April 25th, 2006, 10:59 AM
Some dogs are more mouthy than the others, and I have been discouraging Matty (11 mths lab) from nipping. He still does it from time to times, especially when he's excited (or when he wants to try our limit) but he's a lot better these days.

Other than the usual "Ouch!" and turn around trick whenever he nips you while playing, or the "no bite!" when you're not playing, I also find the 'handling routine' pretty effective in Matty's case.

At least twice every day, I'll ask Matty to "down", and then I'll start handling him while telling him "This is Matty's hand .... this is Matty's leg ... this is Matty's tail" as I handle that part. I'll go from hand to leg to tail to head to ears and finally to his mouth. If he doesn't nip at all I'll praise him and give him a treat. If he tries to nip I'll stand up, firmly say "no!" and start all over again - except I'll go SLOWER this time.

What I found was the first week he really didn't like it, and whenever my hands were close to his mouth area he'll begin to get mouthy. But I moved my hands VERY slowly, I let him lick my hands and tell him "good kisses", and then praise him and treat him when I'm done and he hasn't nipped me.

After a couple weeks he is used to us handling him and actually likes it these days ... cos he knows a treat is coming!

April 26th, 2006, 02:24 PM
This should not take weeks or months to teach. Respect is earned in the moment. Watch other dogs and they don't negotiate for weeks on end - relationship is established very quickly and then all is well.
Puppies are corrected for their bad choices and then given chances to make better choices. The other dogs don't turn around and say 'good job' and hand them a treat. Yet the pups learn pretty quickly what is permitted and what is not. Not to say there won't be challenges from time to time, but a good leader is clear and consistent.
Saying 'ouch' is rather like another puppy objecting to the pressures of the teeth, but doesn't really convey any message other than 'you are stronger than me.' Which can teach the mouthy pup that being mouthy gains him power.
Turning away empowers the dog too. He just forced you to move out of your space - he's in control.
So take a stand and take charge. You can set him up for this in different ways. Sit on the floor and have a piece of cookie in one hand - something he wants. He will typically jump all over you to get it. Be ready to stop him. Have him on the leash for ultimate control but use your free hand (no cookie or leash) to create a boundary. Use a flat (board like) hand facing him and pop it towards his nose (as he is lunging at you) like a ping-pong paddle or you can have the flat hand facing you and simply make a FAST windshield wiper action up and down with your hand. Don't go after him - simply create a boundary he can't come into. You want to use enough energy that you might make him blink but not so much that you are scaring him. He will jump into your hand a few times and then realize its uncomfortable and you are consistent, and then he should sit down and look at you. Softly praise him but DON'T give him the cookie. Play with the cookie for a bit to tempt him and if he makes a good choice and doesn't jump at you, then give him a nice stroke on the side of his face and praise. This teaches him that you have boundaries to be respected and won't permit his mouth on you demanding things.
From there you need to use your energy and attitude to stop him from nipping at you at all. We use the 'love & trust' roll to stop them from objecting to being touched. But the key is that you don't stop and you keep touching, and correct the poor choices and softly reward the calm energy. If he meets a flat hand of energy every time he goes to nip at you and you say 'quit' and a short, sharp tone (don't yell), but then you go back to touching him then you are in control and he will stop because challenging you hasn't worked. Then he will take the leap to tolerating the touching and then eventually enjoying it. But frankly I don't care if he likes it right away - mostly I care that he has good manners with it. With him it really isn't about the touch itself as much as it is that he is controlling you and that empowers him. That power makes him feel good. I am sure when he is in the mood he is happy to have you love on him - but again its when he wants it and demands it. You need to turn the tables on him.
Have the attitude that this is what we are doing - like it or not. But trust that I will not hurt you and then learn that it will actually start to feel good.

April 27th, 2006, 11:29 AM
Thank you so much for your helpful advice. I had been trying things that I read on here or learned from the trainer--none of which actually worked. I will definitely try this new approach. :fingerscr

Thanks again!