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Serious puppy biting inhibition problem! Need expert advice!

August 5th, 2011, 11:41 PM
Hello everyone, i'm new to this site but i decided to sign up because I'm in need of advice from knowledgeable people.
I first got my puppy when my dad brought him home on my birthday. He received it from an acquaintance of a coworker but did not know the the age of the puppy. He was very nice at first but my family noticed he play-bites a lot. So, I did some research and deducted that he might have left his mother too early. I did what i could and tried to teach him but it seems like there has not been much progress and the biting has gone a lot worse. The biting has grown to aggressively growling and barking and at times he can be VERY hyperactive and seems unable to stay still. At times, he could be playful but still bites quite a bit and in other instances he'll just constantly be biting my feet and jumping up to bite my shorts (kinda like a shark)!
I'm seriously scared about the future problems that might arise and I'm trying to do as much as I can right now to help him. I'm considering to getting my dad to contact the original owner to take him in for a bit so the mother could teach him biting inhibition/manners. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna try to enroll him in puppy classes (but I'm not sure if he'll behave with the other puppies and he has yet to get his shots).
So my question is will bringing him back to his mother for a bit help sort out his biting inhibition/behavior problems? If not, what is the best road i should take to help him with his probelms?

I know it's a lot to read but I really appreciate everyone's inputs and hopefully you guys can help me out because I really don't wanna give up on him. Thanks

Below is a picture of him right around the time we first got him, he's a bit more than 5 weeks older now. An estimate of his age at the time of the picture would also be greatly appreciated.

August 6th, 2011, 10:40 AM
He sounds like a normal puppy. There are some good tips on this thread which is running just above yours:

Sorry, unable to estimate age but if you are correct it might mean only a wee bit more work on your part. Staying the the mother dog till at least 8 weeks old certainly helps but it doesn't mean no work for you.

Yes, puppy classes usually help, you and puppy. Something else you could try is a patient, older, safely vaccinated dog, preferably a female, who could visit and play with your pup. He needs to know proper social behaviour with dogs as well as with you. An older female often will tolerate so much then let the puppy know, by her pinning him perhaps, or mouthing him or giving him a snap without biting him, that he has gone too far. My own male is quite good at this too.

August 7th, 2011, 12:13 PM
The best teachers of good social skills for puppies are other puppies. You can't go back in time to change how long he spent with his mother and litter-mates (nor should you try ;)) but you can get him into a puppy social play class that will really help him now. Most places will take puppies for social classes if they have their first round of shots, I'd get them asap.

The mouthing and nipping are all about play, so use that to your advantage. Give him lots of acceptable ways to play with you (tug toys, bones, balls) and end the game (just for a few seconds) when teeth touch skin. If he is being really sharky, get up and leave the room - somewhere where he can't follow you - and come back and resume the game in an acceptable way (again, only for about 30 seconds, puppies have really short attention spans). If you are consistent, he will learn that if he wants to play, he will need to be careful with his mouth.
Here's a good video.

The other part of this is tiring him out so that he has less frantic energy. This can be walks, games, or socializing with other dogs, but I find a lot of folks don't stress enough mental exercise. Do some training with him. Short sessions, 5 or 10 minutes, keep them fun. Minute for minute, training can be more tiring for dogs than a leashed walk and it really improves their self control.
This will get you started

Also, I would recommend grabbing some food toys or puzzle balls to put his daily diet in that he has to work for - this will satisfy both his urge to chew and challenge him mentally.

Good Luck! It gets better, I promise :thumbs up

August 13th, 2011, 10:07 PM
The prime time for a mother to teach their pups is between 8-12 weeks, which is just when puppies are usually heading to their new home. No matter what, it is your job to teach this puppy manners with his teeth when dealing with two leggeds.
The best four legged to teach bite inhibition is a mature, emotionally balanced dog. Having puppies teach other puppies is rather like having a three year old child teach a three year old child table manners - not the best option for learning.
Play biting is simply too much energy being directed through the mouth. So teach puppy not to get too energetic when he plays.
You should try to teach him how to play with level 5 energy (on a scale of 1-10). Play with him and when his energy gets a tad too high, stop playing and say "easy" or "gentle" in a firm tone and make your body go still. He should match your change in energy but if he doesn't then you create a personal bubble that he is not permitted into unless he calms down. Use your firm flat hands like little windshield wipers to prevent him from coming into your space. It is likely you will have to do this a few times before he gets the message. But then he should sit down and look at you as if to ask "what can I do?". When he is calmly sitting and looking at you then you can CALMLY stroke his head and tell him good "easy".
Repeat the game of play and then back to 'easy' energy. Back and forth until the puppy understands the difference between play and gentle energy.

August 21st, 2011, 09:37 PM
very good tips already. another trick people swear by is smear the back of your hand with a little bit of butter. he will "LICK" this off. PRAISE him. If he goes to "nip" or "chew" or "bite" , tell him in a firm voice "no bite" and remove hand (and any attention you were giving him".
Then repeat. He will eventually learn, when I "lick" mommy, I get told good boy, lots of praise, a pet on the head ECT.... when I bite mommy, she stops paying attention to me.

I've also had the vet tell us to replace HAND or FOOT with "toy".
So...feel puppy's teeth on your foot. say "no bite" , remove foot, and give toy.
soon as pup starts mouthing toy. GOOD BOY...praise, ect.

He is JUST being a normal puppy. They experiment if you will with growling, barking, whining, and biting.
Its how they feel out thier enviorment.
Kinda how a toddler puts everything into thier mouth when they first start crawling.
Pups get a little bit of confidence, and EVERYTHING is "bite" worthy.

another tid bit. NEVER give any toys that resemble "real" things. I've really wanted to just scream when I hear "fido is tearing up my shoes"...but then find out that fido has an old shoe that owner no longer wanted, and has given that for a toy. Um...and the dog is just suppose to know the difference between your jimmy cho's and your old boot. NOT! :)

I'm not an expert. But I've been thru five dach puppys....they were all biters at some point. Just a little patience and training.
Good luck.
(ps..your pup looks as if it has jack russel or terrier in it). these are HIGH energy little fellows. Very smart too)

August 29th, 2011, 02:22 PM
This is a wonderful video and works amazingly!

August 29th, 2011, 04:57 PM
I've also had the vet tell us to replace HAND or FOOT with "toy".
So...feel puppy's teeth on your foot. say "no bite" , remove foot, and give toy.
soon as pup starts mouthing toy. GOOD BOY...praise,

This can work, but timing is the key. Make sure the puppy understands that you are not happy with his teeth on your foot. You need to see a response of him backing away from your foot and not lunging back to it. When he has backed off and is being calm then you can offer the toy. Otherwise people are so quick to replace the foot with the toy that they are actually teaching the pup to go for the foot because he thinks it will bring him a toy.

August 29th, 2011, 06:15 PM
good point. tenderfoot. I did fail to add the timing issue with it. Thanks for catching that.
Fortunatly for us, we only had ONE stubborn nipper, and she learned when everytime she bit got up and walked away. That was the ONLY way she learned. took her about a month. then it was like...AH HA...(lol)

August 30th, 2011, 12:38 PM
Sorry but puppies bite, some bite a lot. It's normal. It might have nothing to do with when he left his mom. Sending him back to live with his mom for a couple weeks is not like sending a rough teenager off to boarding school, it's not a magic solution and most likely will accomplish nothing.

8-12 wks (actually 6-12 but most pups will stay with mom till they're 8) is the best time to imprint pups with any new behaviours and environments. To leave the pup with the mom during this crucial development stage would only hold back the pup's potential. That's why this is the best time to introduce pups to their new homes.

You need to learn how to deal with the pup's behaviour, you can't just send him back and expect him to be "fixed" considering that what he is doing sounds perfectly normal. You got some great advice already but I think you would benefit the most from some hands on help. Find a reputable trainer and enrol yourself and the pup in any sort of puppy play group or class. You're not looking for obedience classes, just general puppy socializing and raising "class" or play group where the trainer will help teach you how to deal with the nipping, how to deal with any house braking and crating, how to start to train your pup and shape his behaviours.

That being said, don't go to just some free for all puppy group. There can be much more harm caused by these then good. There needs to be structure and guidance involved. Having a bunch of young pups together with no structure is one of the worst thing you could do. You're almost better off not going if that's all there is available to you. Pups don't learn any thing in these environments, the week pups get beat up and the strong ones get to be bullies, you're only reinforcing bad behaviours and setting the pups up for future behavioural issues. Puppies DO NOT teach each other things, ever! Not at this age. They beat up on each other or play, the first is no good and the second you're perfectly capable of doing yourself and it is a fantastic bonding and training opportunity you should not pass up on. It is up to you as the pups new owner to teach it good from bad and guide him through life, not some one else's.

August 30th, 2011, 03:48 PM
I just had this afterthought to add..

There is a difference between bite inhibition and no biting. When puppies learn bite inhibition through playing with each other while very young, they essentially learn to bite nicely, they don't learn to not bite, they just learn how to modulate the pressure of their bite.

And what do you want as a person? You don't want your puppy to bite you nicely, you want him to not bite you at all! So some of the lessons that puppies might learn from each other while young don't necessarily apply to how they are with us as we expect different behaviours from our dogs with us then towards themselves. That's one of the reasons I don't like it when people use the excuse that a pup was removed from their mom too young when they have an unruly dog. I don't think it applies, and it's just an excuse.

If your pup and his litter mates genetically are more then average biters, having them stay together may have actually caused you more problems because they would be more prone to biting each other as they matured and grew. That would only cause conflict and teach them aggression, not the other way around like many people always assume. One example that comes to mind, breeders of certain working breed dogs separate the pups early on purpose, usually around 6/7wks of age, for this very reason (and to take full advantage of that imprinting period pups go through). If the litter is showing higher then average fight drive with each other and the pups are genetically predisposed to being more mouthy and actually love to bite, you will end up with more problems in these dogs as they grow older if they are not separated earlier. These pups will very quickly go from play to actual fighting and can also injure each other, and cause the same lasting psychological damages to each other as when any average dog is attacked.

I'm dealing with a pup from such a litter right now and at 7wks the pups were already seriously scrapping together and developing serious resource guarding issues with each other that carried through to other dogs when I brought my little guy home. For the first couple of days he would snarl at and attack my other adult dog over food toys and attention because that's what he was used to and that's what he learned from being with other like minded possessive and aggressive puppies. It took some work but we got that out of him (for now). He still has those qualities in him but he has learned he doesn't have to defend his stuff and that good things happen when the other dog comes over, which certainly gives us a head start to be able to work on this while he's 10lbs then when he's 80. I can also tell you that while we are still working on his nipping, he gets noticeably worse after playing with any other dog, puppy or adult. Playing with other dogs only strengthens the habit and natural behaviour of using his teeth in play.

So with very nippy puppies, contact with other dogs is not always some magic answer and can actually exasperate the problem.