View Full Version : How to stop him nipping.

23rd July 2007, 07:40 PM
Hi we have a 13 week old black and tan boy called Harvey. He loves to play with the children but in the last couple of days whilst playing he have been nipping them and even biting their clothes. He also barks and does little growl noises at them. I have told them to make the yelping noise but this doesn't seem to work. He got hold of my 14 year old sons finger the other day and was reluctant to let it go till I shouted at him to come.

Please help as I dont want them to be frightened of him. I have a 12 year old stepdaughter who has a form of autism so does not always show him who is in authority and worry that he might get the better of her. He actually chased her up the stairs last night to nip her ankles. I know we have to deal with this now but not sure how.

Please advice.

23rd July 2007, 07:48 PM
This is pretty normal behaviour for a 13 week old puppy. We went through it too and worried just like you, but it passes. I would just yelp if it hurts (which you probably are doing). A certain amount of mouthing helps to teach a dog how to be gentle, it's explained better here...



These helped me a lot and put my mind at rest.

23rd July 2007, 08:55 PM
Welcome to the hayhem of puppydom! :lol:

Growling and barking is how puppies try out their adult noises. These are just play noises. I'd be cautious about encouraging barking but really the puppy is too young to try to teach 'quiet' to, and he is just being playful. :) I have one adult that still growls and vocalises a lot when playing; quite harmless. Growling shouldn;t be discouraged anyway -- when an adult growls, it is dog language for giving a warning that the dog is feeling uneasy. They growl as a polite warning before they bite. So this is a useful warning system for avoiding a bite. Dogs scolded for growling think they are not allowed to warn, and will go straight to biting. So let them keep this important element of their language.

On puppy nipping -- this is a phase they do go through; the links should be a help. :)

I think with an autistic child, adults really need to manage all interactions (additionally, a puppy this young should not have so much freedom that it can run up stairs and chase people as that is when they are bound to have housetraining accidents. The puppy should always be at arm's reach and cannot be trusted out of sight for months yet). Better for your girl to sit down on the floor to interact with the puppy. When she is done, the puppy should be placed in an xpen or given to an adult (I would recommend getting an xpen -- a puppy playpen -- as this really helps for giving 'time outs' to both pup and people. Puppies can get overstimulated and need a place of retreat and safety away from people walking and running around). :) And they are very useful too for adults!

Regarding biting fingers -- the only way a puppy can reach fingers is if someone put them in front of his face. :lol: The answer is simply not to let the puppy have the opportunity to nip in this way by keeping hands, faces, bare feet etc away from small nipping puppies. :thmbsup: In the same way, always keep anything off the floor that you don't want chewed.

23rd July 2007, 10:51 PM
Personally, I have yet to find a more useful site than this:


24th July 2007, 04:38 PM
That's a Dr Ian Dunbar article. :) Definitely recommend any of his advice and his books. He has some excellent basic books on managing puppies that are well worth purchasing.

25th July 2007, 04:30 AM
Great advice already been given here. It is also helpful to teach children body language and the importance of not squeeling, jumping up & down or running when around dogs, as this behaviour excites the dog and often stimulates it to jump & mouth, as the dog sees it as a game & an invitation.