Biting, puppy nips and teething.

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  • #14566
    go ask alice
    Participant

    i have a 15 week old pitbull at the moment and just like all puppies shes going threw her teething stage. So every other time i go to pet her she playfully nibbles on my fingers, but as shes getting older its not as cute as it use to be and now it just hurts, but i want to know what you guys do to re-enforce this behavior. She loves bones so basically its been her pasifier. Everytime she goes to bite my hand i calm her down, then give her the bone to chew on. Some people say im rewarding this behavior but really im not. She needs to chew and im not going to tell her shes not allowed. So far its been working great, she hasnt chewed up anything in our home and hardly trys to bite anymore. So i want to know what are your own techniques?

    #16467
    KaylasMom
    Participant

    I have never had a puppy (not a big fan of that stage in a dog’s life), but I research dog behavior in all stages.

    Puppies chew and nip everything, as it is how they learn about their world. It is completely normal. But it is important to direct the puppy to chewing appropriate items, and that doesn’t include any human body parts! At 15 weeks old, she should have already learned some bite inhibition from her siblings and mother, unless she was pulled away from them too soon. That is a chronic issue with many dogs these days.

    You need to teach the puppy appropriate play behavior. It sounds like you are on the right track with what you are doing. To teach the puppy appropriate play behavior, hard biting should elicit a painful shriek or a loud noise from the human, like a rapt “eh eh”. Just like it does with the pup’s siblings or mom, this sends the message to the pup that this behavior is unacceptable. Stop interacting with the puppy. Get up, cross your arms, and walk away, ignoring the puppy for a few. Puppies and older dogs hate to be ignored. Sometimes the worse thing that you can do to a dog (in his mind) is to ignore him when he is just trying to get your attention or play. By walking away or even just crossing your arms and turning your back to him, you have removed the “rewards” (you and the playing), and you are teaching bite inhibition. Gradually decrease the pressure of the bite you permit and add a cue before yelping to teach a signal to the dog. Ignoring the dog is kind of like a time out for humans.

    Another way is once there is biting, keep your hands very quiet and still and then redirect the puppy to other appropriate objects. Sometimes shrieking, then ignoring, and then handing the dog something appropriate to chew on is the way to go. Always have something available to transfer to her mouth. It may seem like you are rewarding, but if you do it correctly and with good timing, you are not rewarding.

    Other biting, such as on pants leg or a shoelace, can be handled by distractions such as throwing a toy or a simple clap. Remember to NOT engage the dog verbally. Just talking to the dog by saying “no” reinforces the negative behavior. You just paid attention to the dog by opening your mouth to yell at it, so you are reinforcing the behavior. Reinforce only the positive behavior.

    I know, it all seems to complicated, but it will work. I have seen it happen and I have trained it. Just take your time and be patient. Dogs are experts at reading our emotions and body language. Reinforcing unwanted behaviors is one of many mistakes we as humans make when raising dogs.

    #16477
    go ask alice
    Participant

    Thanks so much for all the info!
    I make sure i dont reward her when she bites, and i do let out a little ‘yelp’ when she bites to hard, she automatically lets go and starts licking me and trying to cuddle up, but i make sure she knows that this isnt a behavior i want or that will continue into her adult years.

    I find that if she starts trying to play and bite, i just corrected it, make her sit and calm down a bit, then i give her this bone thats shes been going crazy about for about a week or so now and she wont even try to bite for a really long time, its like i got all the bite out of her haha.

    I didnt mean ‘reinforcing’, i actually ment correcting.
    But so far shes been doing great so i must be doing something right (:,
    thanks again!

    #16479
    KaylasMom
    Participant

    I think you are definitely on the right track. Good job! Keep it up!

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