Jumping, Nipping & Biting

Posted by MixBlessing
May 5, 2008
I am new to this site and new to owning a puppy, he is an 8 month old Chow mix. We got him at around 4 mouths. He is entirely too playful. He jumps on me and my son as well as anybody else around who will get close enough to him. Is it possible his food has something to do with his behavior? At what age can I switch him from puppy food to dog food? He is around 30 pds now. What else can I do to get him to stop jumping and biting and being so aggressive? I just need a little help here.:eek:
Posted by Kate
May 6, 2008

Welcome to the world of owning a puppy! I'm not gonna lie to you, it can be really tough at times and they can drive you crazy!!!! Puppies have an enormous amount of energy and what you are describing is normal. You need however to start directing that energy.

Now is the time for you to lay down the ground rules, letting him know what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Obviously all the things you are describing is not OK, and how you respond will determine whether he continues to do them. The problem is, that often we inadvertently encourage the behaviour we are trying to stop, usually by giving attention when really we should be ignoring it.

When your pup starts nipping and biting, you should make a loud guttural AAHHHH sound and walk away from him. Ignore him entirely for a few minutes and then go back and start playing and interacting with him again. Ask him to sit. If he does so make sure you reward him with a pat immediately after he does it. If he starts to jump up or bite, repeat the process as above. He will start to understand that when he is good he gets attention, and the opposite happens for bad behaviour.

I would recommend if you haven't already, training your puppy that you and your son are the alphas. It's really important that dogs learn from a really young age that humans are at the top of the hierarchy. It helps prevent not only aggression but also anxiety issues that dogs may develop. Dogs need to know where they stand in the hierarchy in order for them to be happy, healthy, and secure in themselves. Basically if they know that you are the boss then they don't need to worry about things as much because you will take care of it and keep them safe. This involves simple actions like feeding your dog after you have eaten, walking through doorways, and not allowing him on couches or beds.

I would try and get your pup out exercising as much as possible to burn off some of that excess energy. Walks everyday are a great idea as they reinforce the positioning of the hierarchy (as long as you are the one taking him for the walk and not the other way around!) and get your dog used to different situations.

Dogs are still growing at 8 months old (larger breed dogs often continue until close to 18 months of age) and so it would be a good idea to continue on with the puppy food until he is 12 months old. Commercial pet foods that are AFFCO tested and are 'complete and balanced' make good diets and provide all the essential nutrients required for healthy dogs.

Good luck and let me know if I can help more in any way,