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Puppy will not stop biting HELP!

February 21st, 2007, 08:56 AM
Ok I need some advice. Nellie, My Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a sweet little puppy (3 months this tomorrow) 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time (when she's playing) she bites.

We are one of those couples who read up on everything before getting a dog and have tried to do everything right. We have tried to show her that we are the pack leaders (going through doors before her, feeding her after we have eaten, pinning her on her back) and she sleeps in a crate not with us on our bed. We play fetch with her and will teach her tricks.

She isn't a mean dog who wants to bite us because she is nice when we aren't playing. The second she thinks we're playing with her she truns into a little nut ball! I have tried bopping her on the nose and saying "no bite", holding her lower jaw and gentle shaking it saying "no bite", holding her mouth closed and saying "no bite", and yelping and removing myself from the situation only to go back a minute later to try playing with her nicely again.

Everything we do seems to puch her further into attack mode. I am at a loss for what we can do. Am I overreacting about the situation? Is this something she will grow out of as she gets older? I am quite concerned because last night she acted like she was afraid of my boyfriend and I. Like she was ready to pounce on my face if given the chance. We haven't hit her or anything so I don't know why she is displaying this behavior.

It's strange because I can pick her up and put her on the grooming table and she'll stand there nicely letting me comb her. She goes from being so sweet to acting like a little monster :(

One more thing, we don't have a fenced backyard so she hasn't been able to get rid of all her built up energy and frustrations (she is crated while we are at work with a break at lunch). She can't go for walks or to the dog park yet because she isn't immune yet from her shots. Could this be why she's acting this way? She just needs to unleash energy and it's manifesting itself in this form???

Any advice???

February 21st, 2007, 09:10 AM of my dog did that for a couple of days when I adopted him and I would always hand him a bone or a toy everytime he'd try to bite me and as soon as he would start chewing on the bone I'd praise him and it didn't take him a week before he got the idea that biting me was bad and biting/chewing toys was good.
I pretty much doubt that at 3mths old your puppy would have agressive is a ery young age however not impossible.

February 21st, 2007, 09:17 AM
hi, when bree was that age we gave her lots and lots of toys to bit on when she would bit my hand i would subitute it with a toy and told her no bite. she still tries to bite my husband but that is the way he plays with her for me she has stopped biting me. we also held her mouth closed until she would stop bitting, I am not saying this will work for you but it's worth a try, just keep doing it you should see some relusts.

as for the walk you can take her for walks even if she does not have her all her shots just when you see other dogs go on the other side until she has had her shots. I believe it's mostly other puppies you have to be carful of.

you can also try a 20' lead leash you hold on to one end and she has plenty of run room just remember not to throw the toy further than the leash ( I found out the hard way) even now bree who is 6 months old still is on a what i call a run leach until she learns to come back when called. As long as the other people with dogs understand that she has not had all her shoots and to please stay away you should be fine, if it a concern I hope this helps

February 21st, 2007, 09:38 AM
We went through this with Lukka as well. She would be attached to my pant leg more often than not. lol
You will most likely have many people tell you to let out a big yelp when she bites and turn away just as her litter mates did. That is also one of the reasons to not bring home a puppy until at least 10 weeks and even better at 12 weeks. Staying with the litter helps them to learn bite-inhibition from their siblings rather than from you. When you let out a cry she should take notice and give you a sign that she has understood your reaction by backing off. Even if she backs off just for a few seconds at least you know that you are getting through to her.
I also agree with the long lunge line to let her get some play outside and wear herself out somewhat. A tired puppy is easier to be around than one that is so full of excitement that you end up frustrated at the thought of going home to her.
She will also want to chew during the teething process. We used to take two or three of the rope type chews and wet and freeze them. Hand them out one at a time and refreeze once thawed.
I also found that when Lukka was acting her worse (20 minute tantrums) it usually meant she had to go outside to make brown.

February 21st, 2007, 09:41 AM
First, congratulations on your new pup.

When Nellie nips you, firmly say "no" or yelp or "uh uh." Ignore her completely for at least 5-10 minutes by leaving the room, looking out the window, doing dishes, whatever. I don't feel 1 minute is long enough to get the message accross to her. After this time, I wouldn't immediately begin to play with her again. Have her do a sit, give her praise, some toys to play with etc. Pinning her on her back is termed the "alpha roll". It physically forces your puppy into submission and is really not necessary. You're already teaching her that you're the leaders by all the other things you mentioned you do. No need to get physical with her. She may show some fear now because you punish her when she nips (pinning her down, holding her jaw, etc.) You don't want her becoming fear aggressive. Try positive reinforcement instead every time she does something good and totally ingore her when she does something unacceptable. You'll be sending her clear messages. And provide her with appropriate chew toys. Keep the training part of your routine (teaching her tricks) to short periods about 10 minutes max. 3x per day. Remember, one trick at a time; puppies have short attention spans

She definately needs more exercise. If you're concerned about her contracting illnesses, wipe her feet with soapy water before entering your home and watch that she doesn't pick things up in her mouth while you're out. But she really needs to get out and socialize more. Are there any puppy socialization classes in your area? It's highly recommended that she meet other dogs and a wide variety of people/children at this crucial learning stage in a puppy's life. It can help prevent all sorts of behavioral issues in the future.

And, most importantly, be patient. It's all worthwhile. Let us know how she progresses.:)

February 21st, 2007, 09:54 AM
pinning her on her back - bopping her on the nose and saying "no bite", holding her lower jaw and gentle shaking it saying "no bite", holding her mouth closed and saying "no bite"

I wouldn't continue doing any of those methods.

yelping and removing myself from the situation only to go back a minute later to try playing with her nicely again.

this is the right thing to do, and it takes TIME. one of my trainers suggested a "time out". which always worked for me... to do:

when pup is being a wild monster....
gently scoop pup up
gently place pup in crate
close door
walk away for only a few minutes
let pup out when she is NOT whining/crying/barking. timing is important. you want to let her out when she is calm, even if she's only calm for 10 seconds.
play a DIFFERENT game. work on the sit command, or recall. give the pup a treat dispensing toy to play with, etc...

handing a pup a bone or toy when she bites may reinforce it - essentially you are rewarding the behavior. ignoring the dog is really best, and if you need to isolate the pup in the crate for a COUPLE of minutes just so she can calm down, then so be it. the key is to isolate the dog in a calm manner, do not imply ANY anger, or the dog can develop fears of the crate. the crate CAN be used successfully for a time out if done properly.

February 21st, 2007, 12:54 PM
Thank you for all the suggestions. I am not sure how to quote from numerous posts so I will just make a few general statements.

I think it would be a great idea for us to get a long lead or something that will allow her to run in the fields. Within 2 weeks she will be fully immune so hopefully that will help.

Nellie has been well socialized and has been around lots of people, babies, women, big scary looking men haha, and and four different dogs that we know are vaccinated. She especially loves the Lab next door. I let her play with him at lunch for 20 minutes and when I brought her inside she just chewed on her bone and was calm. She has been to different parks, both of our works to meet everyone, and numerous friends houses. Needless to say we are trying to do everything we can to make her well socialized.

As for puppy socialization classes my breeder told me she doesnt need to socialize with other puppies as she just came out of a litter of 6 of them. Nellie will be going to the dog park on a regular basis though. I'm sure she will be more then well socialized after hanging out with the dogs in there.
But you never know. I may change my mind and take her to some classes.

We try to ignore her but then she starts trying to eat the furniture so I can't just sit back and let her do that. I think I will try the crate method of just giving her a little time to cool down. I was picking her up and placing her in the kitchen. 5 minutes later I would go back and get her, place her on teh ground and she'd be right back at it.

I will see how crating works. BTW she has TONS and TONS of stuff to chew on. She'll get it eventually.

I'll let you all know when this miracle occurs! Haha thanks for all the advice!

February 21st, 2007, 02:03 PM
I agree with lucky penny and jessi76. I personally used the "yipe" method with Riley and then tried to distract him. He got two tries and then if he bit for a third time I took him gently and directly to his crate for a "time out". He got the message pretty quick. It is very important not to be angry when placing the pup in the crate as this develops a bad vibe for crating.

Be consistant with whatever method you choose!

What also really helped was the puppy classes. By playing with the others they learn bite-inhibition much faster then we can teach it.

February 21st, 2007, 05:31 PM
Dog parks can be fun or can turn into total nightmares. Understand when you use one it is always at your own risk, not all dogs that go to them are well socialized, and some may not be small dog friendly, other problem is not every one deworms or vaccinates their dogs and some will take sick dogs to the park, so the risks exists for kennel cough and flu even if your dog is vaccinated.

The only time I will use a dog park is in the summer while my dogs are on interceptor inorder to protect them from internal parasites, I will never take Maya or Winnie to a dog park, Winnie because of his size (15 lbs) too small for other dogs rough play and Maya though a big dog at 70lb will never go because she is too fearful, her behaviour would likely cause other dogs to gang up and pick on her because she is an omega personality, it is not that the other dogs are mean, it is that her personality cause them to want to dominate her and push her around, and it is a natural dog behaviour, and the more dogs at the park the more competitive they will become at trying to push her around which then can become dangerous for her. So using a dog park should entail understanding dog behaviour and understanding behaviours can escalate when competitiveness sets in.

Nikki at 27 lbs is medium size but she has a enough attitude to put a bigger dog or pup in it place, Sunny is 84lb is fine with other dogs but if pack/gang behaviour kicks in he will join in the melee. Woodtocks dog park is fine if there is a small number or dogs no more than 8 or 10 but once their in more there is risk of seperate packs forming, and then claiming territory which can cause fighting to occur at 2 acres it is a very small dog park. If you get too many dogs there is a good chance things will turn very nasty very quickly.

I used to go to an 18 acre park near Toronto and once there were about 30 dogs, you had to be very alert to dog interactions to be sure nothing was getting out of hand, there was one incident where someone brought in a scared shih tzu when a dog ran toward it is yelped and screamed in fear, that sound stirred up preydrive in about 10 to 12 other dogs and within seconds they were all running after trying to catch this scared little dog, and trying to break it up was no easy task several people got bit because the dogs were so wound up, luckily I was able to jump into the middle of the fray and cover this little dog with my body to protect and it came out alive and unharmed other than missing some some tufts of hair and some bruising. A dog park is no place for unsocialized, unconfident dogs and it is not the place to teach a dog to be so, it is a place for dogs to socialize and wear off energy, but they already need to have strong dog social skills to ensure they get along peacefully.

So I highly recommend for a puppy to first start them in a controlled setting such as puppy classes first so you can learn what kind of personality your pup has, and whether it can fit into the dyamics of a dog park.

Some places in TO have separate parks for large and small breeds which can really help to cut down on tragedies.

I have used dogparks but after seeing and hearing about so many problems I am not a fan of and stopped going, too many owners that use do not use common sense or they are so lacking in dog knowledge that they do not realize that their dogs are not suited to a dogpark environment and therefore are putting their dogs lives on the line.
And I sure as heck do not want to risk getting bit by possibly unvaccinated dogs trying to save their dogs lives, or putting my dogs in danger by people bringing aggressive/unsocialized dogs into the park or those who simply go there to socialize but pay no attention to what their dogs or others are doing

February 21st, 2007, 09:01 PM
Wow, OntarioGreys, well said! I'm not really a fan of dog parks either because my anxious dog Lucky got attacked by other males all three times I ever went to one with him. He happily wants to meet dogs but I suspect he never learned 'calming signals'. There were very few dogs in the park, but of all three, only one owner had control over her dog.

That said, I have to commend you SCWTlover for your efforts in socializing Nellie to a wide assortment of people :thumbs up . You've done your homework well :thumbs up.

February 21st, 2007, 10:26 PM
I also agree with OG. I generally tend to avoid "dog parks" although will frequent "dog friendly" walking trails. I find too many people in dog parks don't have a clue about dog body language ... too much "oh my dog is just being friendly and loves everyone" when in reality they just have no control over the dog at all :frustrated: . I don't want to totally knock dog parks as they can be lots of fun for them. Just make sure you keep a close eye and if necessary get the heck out of there before it becomes a bad experience.

I prefer walking well travelled trails where they get to meet lots of dogs and if wanted they can have a quick play session and then we move on. This also helps to keep the focus on me because walking with me is a fun activity for them instead of me just standing around at the park.

February 24th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Regarding the biting issue... if it is just playful biting because she's excited, it's probably just because she's only 3 months old! As much research and training as you do, just remember that she's still very young... and also teething, the discomfort can override the desire to please you.

It sounds like you are doing a great job so far with training, but with puppies things are not always within your control. Don't get yourself down about it and just keep up the good work... eventually she will surprise you!