Puppy nipping Problem! Pls help

Posted by Pudge
Dec 31, 2007

I have a 11 week cardigan welsh corgi. He's been home for two weeks now, and he has a huge problem nipping at everything and everyone's hands, legs, etc. I followed the instructions to make an "ouch" sound the first time he bites and then the second time he bites make it again and leave the room for a couple of minutes. When i come back, he doesnt bite me for about 5 minutes, then he goes at it again. I repeat and rinse the cycle. The second problem is he is always biting my clothes. I tell him No and he doesnt stop. I tell him no, and put a chew toy in his mouth, and he ignores the chew toy and continues biting my clothes or the hand that is holding his chew toy. I say no in a very loud voice and then it scares him and he barks back at me and then shys away. Now when i get close he seems to be scared of me and no longer is happy to see me. I cant practice the come command because he doesnt want to get close to me. He'll get close half way, then lays down and stares at me.

Please help me resolve his constant biting problems from teething.

Posted by Todd
Dec 31, 2007
Hi there

Thank you for your email.
I don't think the problem you are having is due to teething. Teething is usually around 4-5 months for puppies and so i think it may be a bit early for him.
But i do think this a problem that you need to get on top of now otherwise it may escalate into more damage to more expensive things.

I think it is very important that he is not encouraged to nip or bite at any time. Whether this be with you or people come to visit. Often people think it is cute when a puppy nips and so laugh and play. This makes the puppy think it is a game and makes it very hard to correct the problem. All people coming to the house should be told that things like nipping, jumping etc aren;t acceptable and told how they can tell the puppy off.

I know this can be very frustrating but don't ever push or smack him for misbehaving. This creates a whole other problem. What you have been doing sounds great and the use of the chew toy to teach him what is okay to chew is a great idea. So i think you are definately on the right track but i will try and help you with some other pointers.

There are several techniques that can be used to put a stop to biting, nipping and mouthing. Some of the best ones are outlined in the section "Biting and Nipping" in SitStayFetch. However if you have limited success with these techniques then a more forceful method may be required.

You have to let your puppy know that its biting is unacceptable. The best way to do this is by demonstrating yourself as the alpha dog by growling menacingly, the way an alpha dog would.

Sit down with your puppy and hold out your hand. If the puppy bites growl sharply, say "AAHH" rather then "NO", and do not yell it (this may be the reason he is a little nervous around you at the moment), growl it; make it quite gutteral (even if this gives you a sore throat).
Hold out your hand again, and if your puppy goes to bite it again, growl again but stand up suddenly at the same time. Walk away for a few minutes.
Then come back and sit down to play again, hold out your hand once more. If the puppy goes to bite for a third time be ready for it and give the puppy a little tap on the nose and growl once more (tap hard enough for the puppy to actually feel it) with the hand you are holding out.

Hold out your hand again, and by then your puppy should be wary of your hand (be aware that the hand biting behavior is probably a habit by now).

Continue with the chew toy but try and make it more attractive. You could put some food in it or get him a new toy to help him
He does sound like a nervous dog at this stage through no fault of your own. i would recommend puppy classes and socialising him as much as possible in the next few months to help build up his confidence and prevent any fear problems he may develop.

As with chewing the clothes i would treat this the same as nipping. It is not acceptable and using the above method should help.

Be careful with young children practicing this kind of behavior modification. A child's first reaction to being bitten is to push the puppy away with their hands. Your puppy is likely to interpret that action as being play, which in turn causes the puppy to nip more.

You are doing everything right. Just be patient these problems can take time to fix. Good luck and don't give up. I am sure he is a lovely puppy and with time he will learn that it is much more fun for both you and him if he behaves

Kind Regards
Todd Field
Posted by Pudge
Jan 4, 2008
Hello Todd,

Thank you so much. I've tried the methods and he has stopped nipping. He ocassionally does it again, but i growl and he stops.

This kind of leads to two more questions if you dont mind.

1) is there such a thing as too much growling? Today whenever he does it, i growl and he stops. he plays and then about 15 minutes later he does it again. Do i continue?

2) how should i play with my puppy? I noticed that we shouldnt play tug of war or chase games. What type of exercises/play methods can i have with my puppy. he does not have all his shots yet. I'm teaching him the sit and down command and he gets it, but only by hand signals. He doesnt get the verbal commands yet. what else can i do to keep his mind/body going.

Thanks in advance.
Posted by Todd
Jan 4, 2008
Too much growling? The only problem with growling is when there is no response from the dog and you keep doing it. He seems to be responding every time you growl so i think it is just his short memory span

Your right about the play methods as he is too young to have outside yet. Dogs will often get exercise and enjoyment out of a simple sit, stay and come game. Chew toys and things like that are fine as long as he only chews that. I don't have a huge problem with chase games as long as it is not you that he is chasing. Look at what he enjoys doing and try to think of a game that will let him do that but won't get him in trouble

Good Luck
Todd Field