What are some tips on how to get my puppy to stop biting?
Original Question: My 5 month old Beagle/Blue Heeler bites my arms and legs causing them to bleed, how can I get her to stop? - Anonymous
I just want to start off by saying that it’s always good to go to a training facility and get advice from a trainer or behaviorist. What I always tell clients is that these days training is all about positive reinforcement and not about dominance and not as much about discipline. So with positive reinforcement what you want to try to achieve is that when the puppy kind of calms down, you want to positively reinforce them by giving a treat. The only thing is that it’s really hard to implement and to execute properly so that’s why I’d have you work with a behaviorist.
I do have a way that I’ve always told clients when dealing with biting but let’s talk about a couple of things before we get to it. When they get into this zone and they’re biting, they’re at a high energy level so you don’t want to engage them at that time. You particularly don’t want to grab their face because usually when they pull away, they’re going to want to nip your fingers as you become the plaything. What you want to do is give that puppy things to do when they’re in a manic zone such as such as a toy but you have to do it in a way that you’re not positively reinforcing the behavior. When this happens, turn your back and go about your business so that you don’t become the plaything and wait until your puppy calms down a bit.
When a puppy bites another puppy what they do is yelp and that’s how they actually know they’re hurting that other puppy. You’ll get many differing opinions about this but what I demonstrate during the appointment is that I place their puppy on the exam table and I put my fingers in front of their face and naturally they’ll start to bite. We have to remember that puppies explore the world with their mouths and when they nip at our fingers like this they’re teething. Once they start to bite on my fingers I let out a really loud yelp and the dog instantly reacts to that and see that I hurt they hurt this person. It might freak them out just a little bit and that’s why some people may not go with this advice as it might be just a little scary. This is why I recommend you talk to a trainer or behaviorist and do what’s right for you. The second I do that yelp I then put my fingers in front of this puppy’s face again and they start to move away from them as they don’t want to hurt that person but sometimes I’m not sure whether they’re a little bit scared of my fingers so you have to talk to your veterinarian about this. People have come back to me and said this works extremely well and they don’t see any other negative effects in their puppy. When a puppy bites another puppy that’s exactly what they’ll do which is yelp, so you are doing something that’s naturally occurring which is why I don’t see much wrong with this strategy.
All in all, I recommend you collect your opinions and then figure out what you think is appropriate and discuss these strategies with your vet, trainer or behaviorist before you start to employ them.
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.