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Am I a chew toy?

April 27th, 2008, 06:49 PM
I think little Gracie thinks I am a chew toy. It's getting on my nerves. I want to play with her and love on her, but unless she's sleeping, she's biting me. I know that she will be biting on everything around, and really we are doing great with that part. It's a little more tolerable and easier to fix. I simply say "no" and give her an appropriate thing to chew on. However, when we are sitting in the den or lying in bed or sitting at the computer and she is chewing on my fingers, I have yet to be able to get it through to her that I am NOT an appropriate chew toy. Anytime I say no or try to gently push her away, she thinks I'm playing so it gets worse. Does anyone have advice on this issue. I just need her to understand that I am not a huge chew toy, but I am the pack leader.

I am going to look into getting her into a puppy socialation group. DH thought it was a good idea and was able to figure out the need for it before I told him it could help with her biting. But, until we get her in, I was wondering if there are any option.

April 27th, 2008, 07:18 PM
ssbean, I"m with you. I"m tired of it too. I"m guessing your Gracie is just a puppy too? You didn't state her age. I did a little research and a lot of places say it's good for them to learn a soft bite, but I'm tired of it too. I wish I had an answer for you,, I don't ,, but your not in this boat alone. And I was told not to use the kennel as punishment either,, so , what to do? I'm going to keep an eye on your thread, Hope you get an answer I can use too.

April 27th, 2008, 07:53 PM
She is about 7wks old, so yeah, she's a just a puppy. I am noticing that she is making wiser decisions, she'll chose a chew toy instead of a non chew toy. She's just confused about if I'm a chew toy or not.

I thought about putting her in the crate for punishment, but quickly, my common sense kicked in and said bad idea. The crate should never be associated with punishment. It should remain a happy and relaxed place for her.

April 27th, 2008, 08:00 PM
Nipping is normal for all puppies. You need to teach 'bite inhibition' - which the mother should have taught but didn't get a chance to.

Pups relate to the world with their mouths - now it is your job to teach them to either not put their teeth on you at all, or to simply not press down very hard - your call.

If you act like a litter mate then the puppy will treat you like a litter mate - if you act like a parent the puppy will treat you with respect like a parent. You teach them like the mother would NOT like the other puppies would.

You should not shake or Alpha role a puppy and do not punish her with the crate. But that doesn't mean you can't be clear about your boundaries of right and wrong behavior. Momma would correct the biting and then give her another chance to choose better. If after a few attempts to correct her don't deter her then she would correct him intensely one last time and then walk away.

We allow a puppy to put his mouth on our hands (because puppies relate to the world through their mouths) and teach him not to use pressure on us. We position our hand intentionally with a thumb in his mouth. If he presses down at all - we firmly say "quit" in a low tone and QUICKLY press down & RELEASE on the tongue with the thumb. Don't hold your finger down, just press and release. He will want to spit your thumb out of his mouth because it is no fun. Sometimes it takes 3-5 corrections before he knows you mean business. But then continue to play with him and keep correcting the bad choices and praising the good ones. It is fast and intense but not harmful. Continue to play with him in a gentle manner - he will learn that gentle playing is more fun and lasts longer.

We also apply what we call the 'wind shield wiper' technique. Sit on the floor and the pup will likely try to leap into your lap and try to engage you in play (often using her mouth). Try to sit in a cross legged manner and have your elbows on your knees (make sense?) - have your flat hands (facing you) in your lap. When she tries to come into your space - set a boundary by swiping your hands up and down like a windshield wiper. She will venture into the zone and might make contact with your fast moving hand. You are not trying to hit your pup but you are setting a boundary of respect. It is her choice to come into it or not. Typically she will try it 1-2 times and then see it is no fun and back away. Often the pup will sit or lay down right in front of you and look into your eyes. At this point you praise her good choice and CALMLY and gently stroke her head. This shows her that calm, gentle behavior gets attention. If she gets nutsy again then you do the same drill. You are simply saying this is my space and you are not permitted to just jump in and take over. I will love on you when you are calm.

The other way is to use your hands in either a flat board or flick your fingers with energy towards her nose, and if she pops into your space you use a flat hand & 'snappy' pop towards her or ‘flick’ her away. Again, it is her choice whether or not to come into your hands. You are not striking out at her but setting a boundary. After a few challenges she should sit down and look at you - this is when you calmly praise.

The disadvantage people have is that we don't use our mouths to communicate physically with the pups like other dogs do. So we have to use our most available tool which is our hands at times. You are never going to be as harsh as another dog would but you have every right to stop a pushy pup and set a boundary. If this behavior occurred with a small defenseless child or an elderly person - the puppy could unwittingly hurt someone. So stop the behavior now and be done with it. Use a word to help guide the pup. Like 'off', 'gentle', 'easy'. Better to actively teach good manners than to avoid it and have it get worse.

April 27th, 2008, 09:04 PM
Thank you tenderfoot for the information I too have a small pup 9 1/2 week lab, she is doing pretty good when I try to distract her from biting but I will try your techniques. pbp

April 28th, 2008, 10:07 PM
The way I taught my pup not to bite or nip me is that I would gently hold her mouth shut for several seconds and firmly say "No Bite!" It didn't take long for her to catch on.

April 29th, 2008, 12:31 PM
I, too am being used as a chew toy. I have an 8-week Border Collie who does nothing but bite and nip. I will try some of the suggestions posted, however, my puppy runs up to me and bites or nips me in the back of my legs when my back is turned. When I quickly turn around to reprimend him, he trys coming at me again. I had a 12-year Sheltie that passed away, and have a 6-year Sheltie at home as well as this new little guy. This biting is new to me as my sheltie's never did this. I have to admit that I'm getting a little nervous being around my little guy because of his biting.

April 29th, 2008, 03:36 PM
He is just doing what nature tells him to, and he's is having a grand game at it when you whip around to scold him and he keeps doing it.

He needs to learn to respect your personal boundaries.

I would set him up for success by having the leash on him and then turn my back. I would keep 1/2 an eye on him and whip around just before he makes contact and swiftly march towards him as I back him away from me with the leash. Use a firm and sharp tone and say "off" or "quit", what ever you want to use. You are claiming your territory and warning him not to enter. Your mood needs to be firm. Then just as quickly turn away from him ready to do it again. It should only take a few corrections and he will see that you mean business. If he doesn't then you haven't been firm enough or consistent enough in your corrections. Do not feel like you have to be loud or mean to do this - you are simply protecting your space from a furry four-legged invader.

April 30th, 2008, 09:13 AM
I love your advice, Tenderfoot. I have a puppy who is just starting to mouth our hands. I'll have to try the windshield wiper method too. She likes to dive bomb us sometimes. Cute not but not later.

April 30th, 2008, 11:31 AM
My 5 year old male dog doesn't bite, but he licks constantly (us, not him). Any exposed skin. If we are near him his tongue comes out. We have tried sour apple spray, but we have to keep applying it constantly. If I grab his tongue and apply pressure, he thinks that is part of the game. Is this related to biting or is it something else?