View Full Version : Biting really bad

princess's mom
14th November 2006, 09:54 AM
my 10 week old puppy is biting and snapping really bad at the moment. Ive tried putting her down and ignoring her when she does it, giving her chew toys instead and I know were not supposed to but giving her a slight tap on her nose and she is just getting worse. This worries me because she bit me quite hard last night and I let out a yelp ignored her and whe I picked her back up she did it again :( I know she is very young and she is learning everything but Im worried incase there is something wrong with her or she bites my daughter who is 5!!

Barbara Nixon
14th November 2006, 10:11 AM
A few queations :

Have you had the puppy checked by your vet ?

Is the biting aggressive or play biting ? Most puppies will chew or pull om clothing and mouthe your hand.

Was your puppy a singleton or taken away from litter brothers and sisters for some reason ?

Be very careful of taps on noses. The bones are very delicate, even in adults and are easily damaged. Also the puppy may take the tap as you biting back, so the circle is unbroken.

14th November 2006, 11:02 AM
I never had this prob with Sally but then she was 12 weeks when i got her. My friend had this prob what she used to do was sort of yelp very loudly and ignore the pup for a few minutes. It took awhile but did work.

princess's mom
14th November 2006, 11:53 AM
I have had princess checked by my vet she had her injections last tuesday!
Its agressive biting she actually growls and bounces up on you she has broken skin too!!
I have her since she was 7 weeks and there was 6 in her litter??

Im not too sure what else to do

14th November 2006, 11:58 AM
By the looks of things she was too young when she was seperated from her siblings. Puppies will 'play fight' and this will teach them what hurts and what doesnt. Their brother yelping at them for biting too hard will teach that quickly.

When I first got Max he did bite hard enough to break skin, thankfully I stopped him before he ever did, but all I did was yelp at him, put him on the floor and ignored him. Took a while but he eventually learned his limits.

He still bites to this day despite him being two and a bit but its more mouthing than biting and never really puts and pressure into the bite. He merely likes to have my hand in his moth for some strange reason icon_whistling

14th November 2006, 12:09 PM
7 weeks is pretty young to have been separated from mum and sibs. Mouthing/biting is something all puppies do, but they need to understand the difference between toys and human skin.

I would keep doing what you're doing, and eventually she'll catch on. When she bites, either yelp or say "NO!" and walk away. She'll learn that if she bites you, she loses a playmate. It might take awhile because this is a social skill that she's learning with you, rather than with her littermates.

Cathy Moon
14th November 2006, 12:24 PM
If you have an xpen or a baby gate, try giving her a timeout. When she starts snapping or biting, calmly put her in a babygated room or in the xpen for a little while until she calms down. Be sure to ignore her. She will learn that she gets to be near you when she is not biting.

The xpen or gate will come in handy to keep her safely separated from children when you cannot supervise her closely.

Also, try wetting, knotting and freezing a face cloth for her to chew on in case she is teething.

14th November 2006, 02:49 PM
Princess's Mom

I have exactly the same situation. My puppy is 10 weeks and started last week when excited to chew on her lead, then my trousers while outside and snapping and growling at the same time. She seems to get wound up by the wind and the leaves. Then she got her jaws on my 8 yr old daughter's ankle last night which put the wind up me a bit.

We also got her quite young - 8 weeks, and I and the kids have been yelping loudly every time she even mouths us at all, and then ignoring her, right from the beginning. It is as if she now has the confidence to try it on a bit. My vet suggested squirting a bit of water at her nose to put her off ... Let me know how you get on!

14th November 2006, 03:54 PM
I think a little overall perspective is needed here. :) Please remember that puppies and kittens are just babies, both bite and scratch as a NORMAL part of learning adult behaviour and how to be polite and to try out how their bits and pieces work -- just as young children slap, hit, bite, scream and do other things that annoy us and aren't polite. It takes time and patience with both animals and children. Puppies are not easy, in this way -- it's one reason why many breeders would advise an older dog for homes with young kids or for people who might not 'enjoy' :lol: this aspect of raising a puppy as it goes on for a long time (NB: chewed up furniture, clothes and shoes are the next phase and that goes on for months, too! :) ).

10 weeks is a tiny baby in puppy terms and what you describe is totally normal. It will be many weeks before puppies gradually learn not to puppy bite -- it doesn't happen in a week and puppies this age have little self control; they are learning like sponges and testing their world every moment! :)

In being removed to a new home alone at 7 weeks, the pup did miss a valuable chance to socialise more with sibs and parents -- this is really too young to home a cavalier or any puppy but sadly some breeders insist on doing this still. Good breeders hold on to puppies til 8-12 weeks before homing. So: that makes the task a little more challenging and behaviouralists note that puppies homed before 8 weeks DO have greater problems.That one week is quite crucial. You are now having to do the extra work that would have been done by mum and siblings, in other words.

The only thing that works is doing what you are doing -- ignoring (at LEAST 5 minutes before you pay attention again to the puppy), yelping, time outs. This must be consistent, kind, but firm. As the puppy gets older these things will stop -- just as most 5 years olds do not throw tantrums the way they did at 2 and don't continue to hit other kids or they have no friends. Puppies, like kids, do learn that certain types of behaviour bring no rewards. :)

Finally, a child under 12 should never be in a situation where a puppy can bite at ankles, and especially children under about 9 as both kids and puppy are WAY too young and small and unpredictable to be actively walking around near each other. Puppies and kids need to be in very controlled interactions -- eg child needs to be sitting on floor so puppy never has the chance to learn to nip at ankles. Puppy can be held only when child is sitting as a drop -- very easy with a squirming puppy -- from even child waist height could kill or seriously maim a puppy. A puppy darts and runs as do small kids and a devastating accident is just way, way too easy. I know of puppies who have had legs and jaws broken by adults or kids accidentally sitting or stepping on same. Likewise puppy bites hurt small kids and children moving around easily overexcite a puppy into exactly this biting behaviour. Everyone involved is just too small, too immature at this age, too likely to be hurt. growling is NOT a big deal -- it is just a way little puppies learn to vocalise and play. It is NOT aggression just baby play.

Guide on kids and dogs:


14th November 2006, 07:03 PM

Thank you so much for all your advice. I am finding your site really invaluable as a first time puppy owner, and I have read all your links and shown the relevant bits to my children, who have lapped it up. My youngest is 8, and I am finding myself putting her through much more rigorous training than the puppy at this stage! I hadn't quite anticipated how vigilant one would have to be over all the different interactions within our now expanded family.

It is extremely helpful to be told that this is all normal behaviour and not necessarily an indication of future problems.

It is also interesting that 'ignoring bad behaviour' is such a part of training dogs, as it is with bringing up children these days - as I have learnt the hard way. It's so counterintuitive, and yet it works surprisingly well, - but definitely not all of the time...

Barbara Nixon
14th November 2006, 07:12 PM
To use your puppy's energies in a positive way, how about teaching, sit, down and come ?

princess's mom
15th November 2006, 09:49 AM
Thank you everyone for your help!
Im going to continue with the ignoring time out punishment for biting and hopefully she will be fine!!
I will be bringing her on her 1st walk on sunday so hopefully that will burn up some of her energy too!! I cant wait!!

Barbara Nixon
15th November 2006, 10:39 AM
Your puppy is far too young for walks. Too much exercise too early can at best lead to out of proportion ganggly legs.

At what age does your vet vacccinate ? By ten weeks, I imagine she's only just had her second injection. Being extra careful, I've always left two weeks after the second before letting my puppies down in public; ie an extra week on top of the vet's advice.

15th November 2006, 10:57 AM
The vaccination issue is serious. But I am sure, puppy at the age of 10 weeks enjoys running and climbing and playing in open air. My Minnili did. Yes, she did not understand the value of long walks (some 500 m there and back was maximum), but she loved to run big circles with her toys and climb on the rocks in our garden. And it was wonderful to see how her skills were improving every day. So i think it is important not to force puppy to exercise, but letting her enjoy her physical skills is just what she needs.

Barbara Nixon
17th November 2006, 05:28 PM
That's the point. A puppy doesn't need to be taken for a walk, because he/she gets enough exercise by exploring his/her world.