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Ending Puppy Biting!

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My little 10 1/2 week old Koda was absolutely driving me insane with his puppy biting. Koda has litterally cut my arms and hands to pieces as well as a bite on the nose that sent blood streaming down my face from biting. It was so bad that people at work asked "oh my god what happened to your hands and arms!?!" Of course the little fella was doing it out of play but it HAD to stop.


I tried 3 techniques that I have learned in the past that have always worked on every other dog I have ever had as well as friends or people asking for help. However, neither worked on Koda in the least bit and one I believe was having a negative affect on him. I will outline the three for those who are new to their dogs and then the simple technique that worked in 2 minutes or less for me.


1) When your puppy bites you yelp with a loud "OUCH" or a sharp impersonation of a dogs yelp. This helps create bite inhibition which is teaching a puppy to "ease" his bite force. Many dogs are keen to this as it is how other dogs teach each other what is an acceptable level of play. (Koda stopped for about 2 seconds and came hard or harder than before with this one).


2) This can be used in conjunction with the first technique. When your puppy bites you (or your pants) say "no bite" in a firm loud tone and put him/her in a crate or better yet, a place for "time out." Many pups will soon get the message that if I bite it means play time is over. You may combine the first technique and "yelp"...then place the puppy in the cage or time out area. I recommend a time out "area" as you do not want to associate in the pups mind that his kennel is a place of punishement. You want your dog to find his kennel a soothing rest area and a comfort zone. After all, they are in there when we leave them all alone for the work day or grocery store.


3) The shake-down. I only recommend this one as an absolute last resort. This technique can cause serious issues not only for aggression but as well as "touch sensitivity". When your pup bites you grab the scruff of his neck and shake him saying "no bite!!!". If he does not stop you can shake harder. The most drastic measure is to shake him hard flipping him on his back and pinning him to the floor with a firm but gentle pressure to his chest. A low growl or growling "no bite" can accompany this. You then wait for the pup to go "limp" giving up and showing that he understands you are the dominant one. The problem with this technique is that it can either make the biting worse (as its just harder play) OR it can set up a challenge in the dogs mind. The later is VERY bad. It may make the dog challenge you physically and we dont need to go into all of the horrible things that can do to either an adult dog or reinforce in a puppy. (This technique didnt work with Koda. In fact he came back harder than before and I got the feeling it was creating "touch sensitivity" as well as setting up a challenge in his mind.


4) And here is the easiest technique in the world but it will cost you about 10-15 cents. I dont know why I didnt think of it as I should know better!... but almost all Borders are noise sensitive...some to the extreme. Koda is one of those dogs that is noise sensitive and his reaction to a noise gave me the idea. I cleaned out an old pop can, added some change / pennies to it (10-15 pennies or so) and then flipped the tab back over to block the hole. As soon as Koda bit my pant leg I shook the can violently and only once. The reaction was priceless as he stopped dead in his tracks, then did a circle and sat. I walked again and repeated the same thing and the reaction was identical. I then sat on the floor and started to pet him and he began to bite. I again shook the can and he took a quick 5 steps back and came back slowly.


I did this only 5 times in all and he wouldnt bite the rest of the night! I even TRIED to get him to bite me and he wouldnt. Koda used to literally bite my pants every time I tried to walk unless he was on a leash. This curred him in just a few minutes.


Salvation has come and I hope that this helps any new or old dog owners. Once you cure your puppy of biting this may also be used to stop other chewing habbits. Dont use if for everything at once as you want your pup to understand that this means "No Bite". Cure him of biting you before moving on with the last technique. I also recommend escalating the techniques in this order:



Yelp and time out

Change in a can

Shake down


If none of these work seek professional help.

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Thank you so much for posting this. I have to find an can today for coins. Cheza is awful with the biting. She is 9 weeks and whenever we walk she attaches to a pants leg and growls and pulls, and she is constantly biting fingers. I tried the yelp thing (which worked immediately with my other dog when he was a pup) and it just riles her up more. If we yelp and put her down and ignore her it has the same effect. She just thinks its a great game. I haven't tried the alpha roll thing and I don't think I will, but I will find myself a can. I used this technique with my cats to stop them from counter surfing, I just never thought about using it with the dog.

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.. but almost all Borders are noise sensitive...some to the extreme.


One lady at the dog park carries what she calls her "Power Can" -- I think she said she used small stones, not coins, but the idea is the same. When she used it (her dog and a rottie were getting a bit over the top) Senneca flipped out completely. She was totally gone. It took me ages to calm her down and days before she would go to that corner of the park. Effective -- but use with care.

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You are quite welcome SalemsMom. It helped me so much that I had to post it for those in my situation hoping it might also help someone else. Give it a shot and see what happens. If it strikes holy fear into your dog like John's it might not be the best technique but it certainly adds one more trick into your bag.


An update on Koda would be that he is doing fantastic. He tried to bite my pant leg once today but it was a quick nip and not the latch and tug as before. He also tried to bite my hand but it had no pressure whatsoever. I used the can both times and the results were perfection. I would venture to say that another day and my puppy will be totally cured.


I want to reinforce the idea that one use it for ONLY biting until the problem is cured. After that the technique can be used for another bad behavior such as chewing carpet. If your dog becomes used to the sound or relates it to many other behaviors he will likely be confused. This would cause the sound to become ineffective.


Good luck and I hope this helps anyone in need.

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Try the power of "The Orange!" While dusting one day with some orange based cleaner, Belle wanted to see what I was doing, sniffed the dust cloth and backed away so fast she backed into the wall. While it seemed she was starting to develop a taste for that "Bitter Apple" spray I was using on everything and it didn't seem to be working worth squat, she absolutely hates the smell of oranges.


I had some Airwash brand air freshener in the Vanilla Orange Twist flavor (bought at my local KMart) and the next time she started going after my pants legs or went to grabbing stationary objects she shouldn't (like shoes) I just sprayed them with this stuff, and then she wouldn't touch 'em. It wears off after awhile so you have to reapply. And of course you'll smell delightfully orange-like and get strange looks from people after you've sprayed your pant legs and go out in public. I'm very careful not to spray it on her or at her.


As for her chewing on my hands, I bought a spray can of "Pure Orange" (at my local WalMart) which is chemical free and is made from the "essence of orange oil". Really strong stuff and don't get it on your wood furniture finishes as it supposedly will damage them. I spray just a little bit on the back of my hands (it's very drying to the skin) rub it on my shirt sleeves and Belle instantly changes her mind about biting them. I can still hold or pet her, she just doesn't want to gnaw on my orangey hands or arms.


She's teething big time now, her top front teeth are coming in and she's getting better at obeying the "No bites, give kisses" request.

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Thats a great success story and you just never know what you can come up with next. I also tried the Bitter Apple scenerio and it didnt work. Im surprised that I forgot to add that into the list of things to do but it apparently slipped my mind - so thanks for bringing it up!


The only time Koda wont chew on something with the bitter spray on it is if its almost completely wet. I have a dresser that he loves the nobs on and I have to regularly soak them. I wonder what his reaction to orange would be. Given this little heathen's history thus far he would probably eat it :rolleyes: Gotta love him though especially now that I can give him all this affection without biting :D Besides, he is WAY to cute to even consider being mad at for more than a second.


Glad you found something that worked for you so well. It just goes to show that thinking outside of the box is a good thing and gives others the chance to try something new.

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