Biting and Nipping

 

 

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO CONVINCE A NEW PUPPY not to

bite the hand that feeds him…pets him…or plays with him, for that

matter. When puppies play with each other they use their mouths, so

they may also be inclined to bite or “mouth” your hand during play or

when being petted. This is rarely aggressive behavior meant to do

harm, but it is a difficult habit to break unless you encourage your

puppy to try an acceptable alternative behavior. The goal is to redirect

your puppy’s energy onto acceptable chew toys and to teach her to

be gentle when a hand is in or near her mouth.

 

 

Encourage Acceptable Behavior

 

Redirect your puppy’s penchant for nipping and biting by offering her

more acceptable objects (such as chew toys) whenever you pet her.

This technique can be especially effective when children want to pet

her. As you or the child reaches out to scratch her behind the ears

with one hand, offer the chew toy with the other.  This will not only help

your puppy learn that people and petting are wonderful, but will

also keep her mouth busy while she’s being petted. Alternate which

hand does the petting and which one has the chew toy. You may need

to start off by petting or scratching your puppy for short periods of time,

since the longer she’s petted, the more likely she is to get excited and

start to nip.

 

 

Discourage Unacceptable Behavior

 

You must also teach your puppy to be gentle with hands and show her

that nipping results in unpleasant consequences. Teach your puppy that

nipping “turns off ” any attention and social interaction with you. As soon

as a nip occurs, look your puppy right in the eye and yell “OUCH” as

though you’ve been mortally wounded. Then ignore her. Leave the

room if you must, but ignore her until she’s calm, and then try the chew

toy and petting method again. 

 

 

 

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