McNeil Labradors

Biting and Nipping

Puppies use their mouths to play, explore, and test anything and everything (including you).  There are several methods that are effective for eliminating this behavior.

Hold the mouth shut:

Quickly take hold of their mouth and hold it shut as you say “No" with a very firm, low tone.  This is usually most effective if you have your thumb over the top of their nose and your fingers below the bottom of the jaw.  Hold the mouth closed for a few seconds.  Don’t squeeze the jaws together, we don’t want to cause pain, we simply want to teach them that our fingers are not their smorgasbord.  So, only hold the mouth closed.   The puppy may whine as this is uncomfortable and they don't like it, but continue to hold the mouth closed for 4 to 5 seconds and then let go.  Don't make any further fuss but go on with whatever you were doing.  After a few sessions the puppy will make the connection between biting and having his mouth held closed.   This discipline is for adults only.  It may look like fun to a child causing them to instigate a bite so they can hold the jaw, and they’ll either get hurt or hurt the puppy.

Startle response and redirection:

As soon as the puppy bites down, make a sudden, abrupt, high-pitched and loud sound (Aww...)  The sound should be so sudden and sharp that the puppy is immediately startled and stops the behavior.  If done correctly, you will be surprised how instantly the puppy removes his mouth and looks bewildered. Quickly substitute a toy that you want the puppy to chew on.  This will redirect the puppy's biting behavior to the toy.  

Stop the action:

Leave the room when the puppy bites.  The puppy will soon learn that every time he bites, he loses his playmate!

Do not entice the puppy to bite you simply in an attempt to practice your training techniques.   Games like tug-of-war and waving your hands in front of the puppy may encourage the puppy to bite.  This sets the puppy up for failure and unnecessary discipline!

McNeil Labradors
Statesville, NC 28677

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Last Updated:  January 29, 2008

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Page Created By:  Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors

  Thought For The Day:

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can
spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's
the best deal man has ever made." - M. Facklam