View Full Version : Biting- help!
9th September 2006, 07:33 PM
Hello! As a new puppy parent, I would really appreciate some help! Coco has been with me for a couple of weeks now. She's almost 11 weeks. We have been having a great time with her. I don't have much experience with dogs since she is my first!
When I first brought her home, she was fairly quiet and shy. She quickly became comfortable here. She chewed things a little bit, including our fingers, but she would usually respond to yelping (and if she didnt, we ignored her for a few minutes.) Sometimes she understood why she was being ignored and it was pretty obvious that she felt bad about it.
Now a days she is biting our fingers and toes much harder! She often bites harder and harder when we yelp in a high pitch tone. Recently, I have tried saying other things like "Ehhh", or "nahhaha" or lowering my voice in a more growling tone. I have also tried just saying "No", while standing over her if she is biting someone else, and that sometimes works. Nothing really works consistently though!
I praise her when she responds to the yelping but that is so rare!
I've read that if a dog doesnt respond to yelping, she can be confined in a pen or room for a few minutes. I've tried that, but I feel awful doing it. Is it too severe form of discipline for such a gentle breed?
Can anyone help me with the finger and toe biting? I know it's normal puppy behavior, but I'm still worried that she will bite as an adult!
9th September 2006, 07:52 PM
Merlin did exactly the same - they're like babies using their mouths to feel whats good and whats not. I wouldn't worry too much, you're doing the right thing with the noises etc.. the little one will grow out of it!
9th September 2006, 08:46 PM
Ditto Merlin. Puppies go through a phase when they bite a lot. Some of it is caused by teething, for which appropriate, cold chewwies help. Try taking a rag and soaking it in the sink. Ring it out into a twist and then put it in the freezer. Presto--a home made frozen chew. When it defrosts, rinse again and refreeze.
Redirecting some of the biting with appropriate chew toys works, too. Otherwise, keep up with the verbals and ignoring. I wouldnt isolate the pup in a room by itself, but you could try putting it in an xpen until it calms down.
And, finally, do not despair. This is a stage that the pupy will eventually outgrow. I often tell new puppy owners that while it seems unbearable now, in a few months you'll look back fondly on this time and hardly remember all the biting!
9th September 2006, 09:26 PM
It's great to hear that she will grow out of it. I need that reassurance!
We've put her in her pen for a few minutes to settle down , and I was worried it was too harsh discipline for her. The few minutes she was in there felt like an eternity- I just couldn't wait to get her out of there! It's so difficult to discipline these cuties.
I will definitely try the frozen rag. I think she will like that. Thank you so much for the advice!
9th September 2006, 09:30 PM
Good advice there, she's probably teething, poor baby. The sounds should put her off but if not, as the others have said, try a pen. The cold things work wonders too, you can now get dog toys that you put in the fridge or freezer for teething. They are quite good, I got one as a new puppy pressie for Daisy when Alison got her :flwr:
10th September 2006, 12:50 AM
It is very important to continue to discourage puppy biting -- a dog that isn't discouraged as a puppy will continue to think it's Ok to bite as an adult; a puppy that learns bite inhibition tends not to. :)
It sounds like your reaction is triggering her to further excitement. Without seeing what you are doig it is hard to give advice but my guess is, if you video'd your typical response to abite, you'd see that you might be giving her positive rather than negative feedback, without meaning to.
Give a good loud 'OW!' and walk away and ignore her for AT LEAST five minutes, not just a few moments then back to play as right now, she seems to make little connection between your reaction and the end of all that is fun in her life. And yes you can should put her in her pen for a time out if she is getting overstimulated (or see quote below). Also, just say 'Ow' or "AHHH!" and nothing else -- don't talk to her, don't talk in a high pitched voice, don't look at her, don't wag a finger at her... I am trying to think of all the things you may possibly be doing without thinking that makes her think this is all a game where you are actually *responding* to her biting, rather than by discouraging her (note warning on negative attention below).
Try reading these:
Note the latter states:
1. No painful bites. 90% of puppies will stop if you give a high-pitched squeal or yelp. If
they stop, praise and reinforce by continuing the game. The other 10% and puppies who
are tired or over-stimulated will escalate their behavior instead of stopping. This requires
you to confine the puppy or end the game. Remove all attention. It does *not* require any
added aversive -- yelling, popping the nose or under the chin, shoving your hand down
his throat, or spraying with water.
If you end the game, you need to be able to get away from the puppy with as little fuss or
attention as possible. Even negative attention is attention. It's often helpful to have the
puppy tethered, so you can simply move back out of his reach. Or, have him in a confined
area and simply stand up and move past a boundary. Because the getting up and moving
is tough to do at the instant the undesired behavior occurs, consider using a hand signal
that will always mean "You're a jerk. Fun's over." Use it consistently when poor behavior
occurs and you're going to withdraw attention.
I am well aware that puppy teeth hurt, and that this step can be overwhelming. Do it
when you can, and at other times redirect, redirect, redirect. Puppy mouthing is a 100%
natural dog behavior. It's not dominant. It's not meanness. It's a puppy being a puppy.
When it's too much either redirect or end the game. Aversives are confusing, unfair, and
11th September 2006, 04:29 AM
I tried the frozen rag when she was in a very chewy mood- it worked wonders. I have a Pet Stages toy that can be frozen that she also really likes- I'll freeze it more often! Thanks for the advice!
Thanks Karlin for your advice too. I never thought that we could be encouraging her with all of our "Ouches", "No"s, Yelps, and screams! I feel so silly for not having realized that! I've since tried walking away and ignoring her for 5 minutes. It has worked a couple of times, but other times she just goes back to biting us. It's so hard to ignore her for that long, but maybe it's not long enough! I'll keep trying! The articles were quite helpful as well- I actually read them earlier from a previous thread. Thank you again!
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