9 month old mouthing/biting

Posted by Violetvi
Aug 12, 2009
I got my terrier mix a few weeks ago from the animal shelter. He is about 9 months old. Sometimes he mouths me, primarily my hands, quite hard. I have been saying "Ouch" loudly and trying to not pull my hand away since he seems to react worse if I pull away (as though it were a game). Unfortunately, he doesn't always release my hand. He's not breaking the skin, but I have some bruises from this behavior. I have also tried to give him various chew toys instead of my hands and say "good boy" when he chews on those instead of my hands. The behavior seems to be getting worse as today he refused to release my hand and wanted to play 'tug of war' with my hand. Any suggestions?
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 12, 2009
Hi violetvi, and thanks for your post,
You have been using some good methods to stop this behavior however I wold suggest as well as saying ouch stand up immediately, ignore the dog completely including no eye contact and walk away. In this way you are telling the dog that when you bite my hand the game/play is completely over. After 2-3 minutes go back to paying your dog normal levels of attention.

Teaching your dog the drop command as outlined in your secrets to dog training manual will also be useful as you will be able to get your dog to release toys and anything else it may be using as a toy such as your hand.

You did not mention whether you are practicing basic alpha dog training or not but if not introducing some basic alpha training should help to as it will help your dog see that you are its pack leader not its play thing and you are in charge of interactions between you.

I hope this helps and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.
Posted by Violetvi
Aug 13, 2009
I was walking away from the dog when he would mouth me, but then he would bite at the backs of my legs and ankles as I would leave the room. It seems as though he thought this was part of the game. Any suggestions to combat that? I tried simply stamping my foot and standing still and that seemed to work, but I'm not sure if it will continue to work.

I am trying some alpha dog training. I am making him stay next to me while we are walking, which is the primary alpha training we are working on. He eats after we do and usually I walk through the door first for our walks.
Posted by Wilbursmom
Aug 15, 2009
I'm having exactly the same issues with our puppy. We adopted him two weeks ago from a shelter. He's a mixed breed (they say he's Pyrenees/Shepherd, but he's really not that large, even as a puppy), and he's approximately 15 weeks old. I've tried everything Violetvi has done, but now the puppy is growling and barking at me as well. My 7-year-old is terrified of him. I know he's just playing, but the stress level is so high, that my husband wants to return the dog to the shelter. I love this dog, and it's breaking my heart. Please, any suggestions would be so appreciated. I just can't bear to give him back and not know that he'll be OK. Thank you!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 15, 2009
Hi Violetvi & Wilbursmom,

Up to age of 1 yr old, some dogs play bite but this is something you would want to correct as soon as possible, because our skin is not made for those sharp teeth.

Making a remark like "Ahhhhh" or "Ouch!" in a loud voice to get the puppy's attention and tell him "No, No" right away and give something else to chew, such as lawhide or bone is a standard method.

Another method is to ignore him completely and just walk away or stand still (in other words, tell him you are not playing with him).

However, you both have tried those methods with no success. So, what I would try is a "time-out".

When he bites you, grab his muzzles with one hand as you say "NO!" and take him to another room by holding his collar with the other hand.

In a few minutes, you can let him out the room but you will have to repeat the time-out as he starts biting you again.

It will take a great patience and consistency but the idea is to make him realize that "biting=end of fun".

Let me know if that would work. Good luck
Posted by kjd
Aug 16, 2009
Violetvi and Wilbursmom,

I would add one thing to what MaxHollyNoah said: great patience may mean putting your puppies in time-out ten or more times in succession. You may feel you are just making yourselves dizzy, taking the puppy out of the room, letting it back in; immediately taking it out of the room, etc. However, if you can hang in there long enough, they will get the point.

Posted by Beachwalker
Aug 17, 2009
We seem to have overcome this issue with people by persisting and letting her know it is not ok, however have not had so much success with dogs. It seems to be her way of showing affection. Cassie, our nearly 2 year old GSD, has since she was a pup (9 weeks old) shown great excitement when seeing an other dog. She will run like crazy, bark (very high pitched and loud almost yelp) constantly, usually scaring or aggravating the other dog. She will also try to lick and even bite(mouth?) their faces as she is vigorously wagging her tail and being very very excited. It is this behavior that is a concern and therefore will I very rarely allow her to play with other dogs. I have read that licking the face of an other dog is normal pack behaviour as a welcome towards a pack leader when returning after a hunt?! It did not mention biting of the face as part of it. It would seem to me that she is looking for “acknowledgement?, acceptance?” or the like and she is very persistent (insecurity?). It’s the persistence where the other dogs get irritated by her. It seems a very young puppy like behaviour but she is almost 2 years old and we would have thought that she would have grown out of it by now. We often go for weekends away with friends who also have dogs (which she knows and loves) but we always have to restrain her because of her extreme excitement. My husbands sometimes thinks that we should just let the dogs sort it out themselves and allow the other dogs to tell her off a few times and maybe then will she get the picture. I don’t think that is right. We really really would love some answers on this matter. We just don’t know what is the right thing to do.