So, over the last few weeks I have talked to several people who are having issues with their young puppy or dog nipping at their hands or feet. First let me say this is totally normal puppy behavior and is to be expected from any puppy under 12-16 weeks old. But it is how you respond when your puppy does this that is important.
Another issue we also see at this age is mouthing, this is were the puppy puts their mouth on you during play or just following you around. They often times mouth your feet, hands or any part of your body they can put their mouth on.
In my opinion no dog should ever put their mouth on you, more specifically their teeth should never touch your skin. Because I believe so strongly about this, I work with all my own dogs on this as soon as I get them as 8-week-old puppies. Since I don’t normally get older dogs, I have only used this method on a few older dogs and so far, these methods have worked well even on old dogs, but I caution you to make sure you TRUST and understand the dog you are going to try this on. Because if a dog is truly aggressive and not just playing you could get hurt.
Here is how I handle this problem, as soon as the puppy or young dog put there mouth on me for either nipping or mouthing I quickly grab their muzzle and hold it shut fairly tight, tight enough that most puppies will whine, I say “NO” in a firm deep voice and then let go. Now, some stubborn puppies will go right back to nipping, and there have been times I have had to do this 3-4 times before they move on and stop putting their mouth on me.
Generally, after a week of doing this every single time they nip or mouth they will stop putting their mouth on you. One thing I want to make sure you don’t do is; continue doing whatever has caused the puppy to want to nip or mouth. If it is happening during play maybe you need to change how you are playing with the puppy. Try a new game or going outside and play, something to change up the pace of things if the problem continues.
Puppies have a very short attention spans, so you may find you are doing this over and over again until the puppy finally understands that it’s not okay to put their mouth on you. If you have any questions about how to work with a nipping mouthy dog please contact me and I would be happy to talk to you more about it.
You will find a video I created a couple of weeks ago that I have posted on my Facebook page showing what I mean.( It’s not the best video, but it gives you a visual). If you can’t see it from my link please check out my Facebook page: Mountain View Springers and Services.
Have a wonderful week and look for next week’s post on leash walking and helping your dog to not pull on the leash.