How do I stop nipping

Posted by iDog
Aug 10, 2007
How do I stop my puppy from nipping at me and my guests? I don't think she actually means to hurt anyone, but she has very sharp little teeth!
Posted by anniepup
Aug 10, 2007
This is a very common problem that we come across here at SitStayFetch. As much as this behavior is puppies just being puppies, it is really important to try and curb this nipping before your puppy gets any older and therefore harder to control.

Firstly, I recommend that you read and begin using the techniques in “The Secrets to Becoming the Alpha Dog” bonus book. It is very important, even at this early stage that your dog knows that you are the boss of your household, and therefore she should listen to your commands and corrections.

Correcting Nipping:

There are two methods that I can recommend

1. The Time Out Method

Every time your dog nips or bites you, I want you to pick her up and either put her outside, or in a spare room for a time out. Leave her for 5-10 minutes, then go and collect her again in a quiet and calm manner. Bring her back into the room and give her a toy to chew on. Praise her for paying attention to the toy, and therefore leaving your hands and feet alone.

If she tries to nip at you again, following the same process. You may need to do this quite a few times before the message gets through to your dog. It is important to be consistent with this method – as soon as she nips you, out she goes! Pretty soon she will figure out that if she wants to remain with you, and receive positive attention, she will need to stop the nipping.

2. The Noise Redirection Method

When your dog tries to nip you, you should make a high pitched squealing noise. In doing this you will hopefully startle your dog into stopping what she is doing. As soon as she does, this is your opportunity to praise and treat her. Therefore you are rewarding her for not nipping you. As with the above method, you may need to do this quite a few times before she starts to understand what you want from her.

You may even like to try a mixture of the two methods. For example, when she nips, you could make a high pitched noise, then give her a time out for a few minutes, giving her a toy upon her release from the time out.

As mentioned previously, the key to correcting this behavior will be consistency with your corrections. If you allow her to nip sometimes, but not others then you are not really getting a clear message across.

Please ensure that your puppy has lots of chew toys at her disposal. You should also make sure that no-one encourages this biting behavior by engaging her in rough play. Tug of war should be discouraged while you are trying to fix this behavior.

I hope this helps. Good luck and please let me know how you progress.