You have a puppy, or maybe you have a friend who has one and you just got home from their house covered in puppy teeth marks and are about to try and find an article to slip into their inbox. Be careful with that, people can be sensitive about taking advice, especially when they need it most...
So the puppy is nipping, bitting, and doing it's best impression of a baby alligator on meth.
What to do?
I feel like I could write an entire book on just THIS subject alone, but alas, here you are looking for the most amount of help in the smallest, cheapest, easiest to consume manner, a blog (more about your desire for quick fixes later). I will try and provide you with the most VALUABLE information that you need at this point as opposed to the information you want.
What's the difference?
Well, you want me to type out some quick and easy magical fixes that will turn your puppy into...well..something other than a puppy.
That's mistake #1 you have made.
YOU DON"T UNDERSTAND YOUR DOG
Unfortunately, many people are surprised by how much their puppy nips...
And chews on things...
And poops wherever...
People seem to have forgotten that puppies are young dogs and that dogs are animals. Animals aren't born knowing how to be the stuffed animal like perfect and convenient being you WANT them to be. Instead, they are born knowing how to do things their DNA has programmed them to do. For puppies, biting is an INSTINCTUAL behavior which means its what they do naturally. Dogs don't come with instruction books. This is why I wrote one and you can get it FREE by clicking HERE.
Some puppies are more prone to this than others simply because of their breed. If you have a Belgian Malinois puppy side by side with a bloodhound puppy, there WILL be differences in their behavior that has nothing to do with human intervention. So NO, it's NOT all in how you raise them, at least not to begin with.
Your puppy uses its mouth to explore the world, it has no hands. This means figuring out what might be fun to chew on, or in the case of your hands, arms, and feet, trying to get you to play and interact. It's NATURAL behavior.
In addition to being a behavior that the puppy will often do very deliberately to get or achieve a desired outcome, its a puppy, which means as it gets tired it will get cranky and bratty. An overtired puppy is one who will escalate the most obnoxious behaviors simply out of the decline of its mood and focus with the onset of fatigue and overstimulation.
YOU HAVE MADE IT WORSE
So you have taken this puppy who has a natural instinct to bite, and probably made it worse.
Take a stroll through the FB groups filled with dog "owners" who seem to think owning a dog or two makes them an expert, and you will get non stop advice that will create problems where there were none, and where there are already was a problem, it will likely get worse.
Common things people tell you to do are:
"Say -No bite- and turn around" - Ok, how the hell does the puppy even know what no bite means? When you turn around what's to stop the puppy from grabbing your pant leg? This is not a solution that will work...at all...
"Squeal like you're hurt" - This one is almost funny if it wasn't for the fact that it actually can result in a puppy biting HARDER. Many such noises will actually AROUSE the puppy and excite them further. If excitement and play is what they wanted, good job, you just gave it to them.
"Smack em!" - Anyone who knows me knows I do embrace the reality of the natural world, and punishment is the single most prevalent consequence in nature regardless of how hard some people try and pretend otherwise. With that being said, winding up and striking your dog in the snout with your hand has a much higher chance of messing up your relationship with the puppy than it does anything else. There are much more reasonable, practical, and appropriate ways to provide the right type of consequence. However, if you're reading this with hopes of solving this issue then you simply do not have the knowledge or experience to responsibly provide even the most reasonable form of punishment. You just aren't there yet, and should be focusing on other much more important aspects of this topic.
"Give'em lots of love" - Probably the most ridiculous and unfortunately problematic things people say to almost any problem behavior. What they are specifically referring to is the giving of affection, which has never solved a single behavior problem in the history of ever when it comes to dogs.
THE FIRST THING TO DO
Most of people's puppy problems come from the fact they simply don't know how to live with let alone raise with a puppy.
When people tell me the puppy is nipping their face and ears my first question is always "Why the hell is your face on the floor with the puppy?"
When they reply with "He was on my lap"...
My next question is "Why the hell is the puppy on your lap?"
At that point, they are as bewildered as you are now, especially if you spend a lot of time rolling around on the floor or snuggling on the couch with your puppy.
The reality is you are in such a rush to enjoy what you WANT from the relationship with the dog you have totally neglected what the DOG actually NEEDS from you to learn how to be an animal IN a human home.
Those caps were absolutely necessary.
When I bring, or any other seasoned trainer/handler, a puppy home things are very sterile.
The puppy needs to learn the routine I have established and be walked through that routine multiple times a day. Confinement is key, the puppy shouldn't be running all over the house raising hell and hanging from people's pant legs.
I handle the puppy in VERY specific ways and always on a leash and always with a purpose. If you roll around on the floor with a puppy guess what they are gonna do...
If you don't you already decrease dramatically the potential of the behavior to develop into a problem.
When the puppy comes out of their crate (they should be confined when you aren't training with them) they immediately go outside and are taken to the bathroom. From that point, you are immediately working on some leash or recall exercises with them or playing a fun game of "follow me". There's no time for biting, they are busy doing other fun things with you.
Then when they are looking like its time for a nap, they are put in their crate or in their playpen.
At the end of the day when they are being bratty and overtired because you probably had them out too long (puppies need a LOT of sleep) they will be nippier and no matter what you do to them as a consequence they will probably keep doing it, just put them away for the night. It's bedtime after all.
JUST SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
This broad overall look at a specific issue is the key to not just resolving it, but preventing others. The reality is you see nipping as a problem.
I see it as a symptom of a bigger problem.
The bigger problem is you simply don't understand how to raise and educate a puppy. If that problem goes unaddressed that puppy will grow into an adult dog who doesn't understand how to appropriately behave in a human world. This is when people end up in bad spots, and dogs end up in worse.
Sending your dog off to a rehabilitation trainer is expensive, more than you want to know (prices usually START at 4k and go upwards of 6k). The thing that really upsets people is when they find out that the problems and dangerous behavior of their adult were not only preventable but were a direct result of them not seeking the proper guidance during puppyhood.
Yes, people create the problems the dog they love has.
Searching youtube won't help much as most either give flat-out bad and incorrect advice or they give a method without ever explaining why it works. Puppy owners typically don't want to spend money on being good puppy owners. I don't really understand why, but they don't. Unfortunately, this approach will inevitably cost them AND the dog in the end, much MUCH more.
For some dogs, they pay with their life.
There is so much more to raising a puppy, and most of it starts with learning the principles. You will be far more successful at raising a happy, loving, and well-behaved dog when you understand the big picture and put the details aside until you are ready.
DO YOU WANT TO RAISE AN AWESOME PUPPY?
Everybody posts pictures on social media about how much they love their puppy then goes to search for shortcuts and cheap fixes when it comes to raising them. For those who truly want to be the best they can be, I have created a unique coaching program to not only educate you on the process but guide you along the way with unequaled support. The Canine Blueprint has not only changed the lives of dog owners all over the world but has resulted in dogs actually connecting with and working as a team with their owners.
Puppy owners benefit exponentially as they get to start off on the right foot and avoid all the mistakes that will have costs that not only break the bank but possibly the heart, down the road.
If you think you're truly a dog lover and want to raise the best puppy possible while learning how to be the best puppy owner possible, maybe we should talk. I only work with dedicated individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes. If you're looking for a "train your puppy in 30 days" type of shortcut program, don't waste your or my time by clicking on the link below. I teach people how to love and build relationships with their dogs that pay dividends for a lifetime.
If that's you click HERE.