It’s important that all
behaviors, acceptable and unacceptable, be
managed consistently by all
family members. And remember that any
method you try will
probably not be effective unless you work hard to
teach your puppy an
acceptable alternative behavior.
Children and Puppies
It’s very difficult for
children under eight or nine years old to practice the
kind of behavior
modification outlined here. Children’s first reaction to
being nipped or mouthed by
a puppy is to push the puppy away with
their hands and arms.
This will be interpreted by the puppy as play
and will probably cause the
puppy to nip and mouth even more. Adults
should closely monitor all
interactions between their children and dogs.
What NOT to
Attempts to tap, slap, or
hit your puppy in the face for nipping or
jumping up are almost
guaranteed to backfire. Several things may
happen, depending on your
puppy’s temperament and the severity of
The puppy could become
“hand-shy” and cringe or cower whenever a
hand comes toward her face.
The puppy could become
afraid of you and refuse to come to you or
approach you at all.
The puppy could respond in
a defensive manner and attempt to bite
you to defend herself.
The puppy could interpret a
mild slap as an invitation to play, causing
her to become more excited
and even more likely to nip.
Never play “tug-of-war” or
wrestling games with your puppy if you’re
having a nipping problem.
These types of games encourage
grabbing, lunging, and competition with
you—behaviors you don’t
want her to learn.
Never chase or lunge at your puppy trying to
catch it. This
can lead to a fearful
dog that will run from you when you call it by name.
Always try to coax or call the puppy over to you
then pet and reward
the puppy when they come to you. If you
need to retrieve the puppy
try to move slowly towards them always pet
and reward when you
get your puppy. No matter how
frustrated or angry you are at the
puppy for not coming to you scolding or
punishing the puppy may
teach your puppy that coming to you when
called is not rewarding
and cause your puppy to avoid contact with
you. In other words it
teaches your puppy to "RUN and HIDE" when
it hears its name.
Always stick with easy simple commands:
Short and simple
work best. Try not to overwhelm your
puppy with to many
commands to learn at the same time. Teach one trick at a time.
When teaching verbal commands try to
associate the verbal command
with a hand signal or visual command at
the same time. You never
know as your puppy grows and enters
his/her senior years whether they
will loose their sight or hearing.
By teaching both verbal and visual
commands you prepare yourself and
your dog if they ever become hearing or sight