Solutions to Biting/Mouthing Problems in Puppies and Dogs

Is your dog nipping or biting you or others all the time? Want to stop it? by Jennie Van Heuit(1996)

Warning: Use these methods at your own risk. The author of this page takes no responsibility for injuries or problems of any kind that arise during use of these methods.

Here are four general methods for dealing with biting. Try each method for a week or two until you find something that works for you.

Categories: Ignoring, Talking, Contact, Bad Taste.

Ignoring

One thing your puppy dotes on is attention. When your puppy bites you, immediately stop playing with him and turn away. The theory is that your puppy will make the connection Biting<>No attention. In order to keep your attention, he will discontinue biting.

Talking

This method simply involves making noise when your puppy bits. As a youngster, were he still in his litter, he and his littermates learn what “biting too hard” is by “Yipe!”ing when bitten too hard. In this method, you “Yipe!” as loudly as you can every time your puppy bites you. Consistency (as in all things concerning training) is crucial - one correspondent said it worked after a week. That's a lot of “Yipe!”ing. Another spin-off of this method (often used with Ignoring, above, or Contact, below) is the low, growly “NO!” to discourage biting.

Contact

These methods involve touching the dog in some, often forceful, way. The Monks of New Skete (their books are highly recommended) talk about chucking a biting dog under the chin with 2-3 fingers (never a fist, always an open hand). This simulates an Alpha dog (that's you) nipping a misbehaving dog under the chin, as occurs in a pack. The other contact method is holding the muzzle closed. As the dog with the mouthing problem gets older, holding the muzzle closed gets more dangerous - you're putting your hand right in the biting place. Just be careful.

BadTaste

These methods involve making a connection between Biting<> Bad Taste in the mouth. Often recommended for nuisance barking is a shot of lemon juice in the mouth. If you need to take this one step farther, a shot of Bitter Apple in the mouth. Tastes really bad, but is harmless. Usually it is very effective. Again, consistency is key . This method should be used with everyone the dog meets, because if he has been allowed to mouth someone before, they will assume it's always OK.

Good Luck.

Duplicated with permission from the author Jennie Van Heuit

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