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Nipping, it's a problem.

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Brady has taken to being a real terror when it comes to nipping and biting. It's not just people, it's everything. And he's such a headstrong, playful pup it's getting hard to get through to him. He's definitely teething at this point, the vet said his teeth were loose, but it was something I had already expected with him being 13 weeks today. I've tried replacing whatever he's chewing on with an appropriate chew toy, but he doesn't like any of the chews I have for him. He hates nylabones and just loses interest in everything else. He's started nipping on to clothing and then pulling back for all he's worth. I've used firm no's, I've used the replacement thing ( as I stated above ), and I've even lightly ( very, very lightly ) thumped him on the butt. Absolutely nothing has worked or stuck with him. He just keeps testing and testing his boundaries and I don't really know what to do at this point. I even tried to teach him "close your mouth" but he just won't have it. It gets worse with every day and I REALLY don't want to have a bite-y adult border collie on my hands. :/


Please, please help.




I've also noticed the biting/nipping is at its worse when he's tired, excited, or hungry--especially when he's tired. He'll start nipping up a storm and then as soon as I put him in his crate he just zonks out.


It almost makes me wonder if he's just throwing a tantrum to get a point across, but I just don't want it to develop into a habit that will take forever to break.


I don't want to make it sound like I don't love him or that I'm frustrated ( I am to a point, but this is definitely something that's fixable so I'm not too worried ), I just want my baby dog to grow up to be a well-behaved adult. He's already the love of my life ( for all his arguments about my authority ) and he's worth any trouble he may cause. He is my first border collie, but far from my first dog, and I think I'm already hooked. I am absolutely willing to do whatever I can to help fix this problem ( which I'm sure I, at one point or another, contributed to ).

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When we got Dave, he was about the same age, 3 months, and had the same problems.

Biting, nipping, whatever you want call it at this stage, needs to stopped as soon

as possible. You obviously already know this. As far as the teething part goes, we

gave him a Kong bone with the holes in the end of it to stuff with favorite treats.

It kept him busy for long periods of time. He never liked Nylabones either, and I'm

not a big fan of them anyway, because after they work them for awhile, the sharp edges

tend to lead to bleeding gums.

As far as biting goes, tough love has been my approach, and it seems to work. Any teeth

on any part of me got a loud "owww" and all attention to the pup stops immediately.

Shout and turn your back to him, if he comes around to your front, turn around again.

I usually ignore them for at least a couple minutes, it seems like forever. This ignoring

method worked to break Maggie of jumping up to greet people too.

Dave will sometimes get "grouchy", for lack of a better term, at bedtime too. He would

not so much try to bite directly, but rather snap at the air when we would touch him at

that point of the evening. I actually ended up grabbing(LIGHTLY) his muzzle and making

him look directly at me, while saying a firm NO. His ears drop as if he knew he was wrong.

Most times he'll readjust himself, closer to me, and settle in for the night. I suppose

there are times when I get comfy for the evening and I don't want anyone messing with me

either. He hasn't done this nighttime thing for quite awhile now. I think it may have been

something he picked up in his foster home before he came to us. He had a lot of quirks

when it came to being around small children, and we're still working on some of them,

almost a year and a half later.

What you have to remember is, they are puppies, they are cute, you don't "want" to

discipline them. You want them to love you, unconditionally. Believe me, they will.

Treat a dog well, even during a scolding, and they will respect you and still love you.

They need to be in a structured environment and once they figure out that they aren't

the boss, YOU ARE, they will settle into a great life, for both of you.



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My preference is to teach an inhibited bite so the pup learns the strength of his jaws. I do pretty much what Mike describes, though the ignoring is usually under a minute, then I offer my hand or attention again. I don't mind puppies mouthing my hands gently and often this will teach them to be careful. And I have found that when a puppy is especially wild and bitey and resistant to methods that generally work well, that yes, naptime in the crate is in order.


However, when Quinn was your pup's age, he used to do drive-byes where he'd come tearing by me, bite my shin and keep going, leaving me with bruises. I could ignore him all I wanted. I wasn't especially interesting to him that age, anyway, LOL. So I decided to take a no teeth on the skin approach with him. What I did was yell/yelp at the moment of the bite (not hard since he was really hurting me, the little coyote) and grab him by the collar. Not shaking him or pulling him up, just stopping him and giving him a serious scold. Sometimes he had moved on two or three activities by time I got hold of him (he was fast and distractible at that age), but I figured my yell marked the behavior. He quickly decided biting me was no fun at all and thankfully that phase passed pretty quickly.


At three months, Quinn was still difficult to redirect to chewing something I approved of for any length of time. For such focused dogs, Border Collies' attention spans as puppies seem about the length of a strobe light sometimes. Fortunately, that phase passes too. I'm personally a big fan of Nylabones and it's the one toy that stands up to Quinn's incredibly hard chewing. All my dogs still enjoy gnawing on them.

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I find that squealing really loud and in a high pitch works well to get them to stop biting. They need to know in very clear language that they are hurting you.


As for appropriate chew toys at this age -- It changes daily. They constantly want different textures. One that works well is to take an old wash cloth, soak it, twist it and put it in the freezer. Once froze, give to the puppy to chew & suck. They like the soft texture as it thaws and the coolness is soothing to their teething gums.


Dingo bones are a good, soft rawhide treat for dogs. I buy the ones with meat wrapped through them and the dogs go crazy for them -- They are a softer rawhide that is easy for puppies to chew. In addition, I don't tend to have the gulping/gagging problem with Dingo bones that I do with traditional rawhides.


The plastic type of Nylabones have never been much of a hit with my dogs, but they make a line called Edibles that tend to go over really well with puppies. They don't last very long, but it can appease some of the need to chew.


You can also never go wrong with raw chicken parts (necks, wings, thighs, etc.). I imagine that would go a long way with a puppy.

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As for appropriate chew toys at this age -- It changes daily. They constantly want different textures. One that works well is to take an old wash cloth, soak it, twist it and put it in the freezer. Once froze, give to the puppy to chew & suck. They like the soft texture as it thaws and the coolness is soothing to their teething gums.


This worked really well for me too. Funny, my mom mentioned that she used to do this for us when we were kids and I thought, maybe, it may work on dogs... sure enough, it did! I had to watch Daisy closely though as she used to destroy everything. I'd take it away from her when she was starting to ruin it.


Here is a good link on mouthing


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Edible treats such as bullies and tracheas would last a pup quite a while and be very high value.


I am inclined to pop any out-of-control dog into a crate for a 5 minute time out. They generally get one chance to knock it off, then emotion-less-ly (which is hard when the little bugger just pierced a hole in your calf) they get confined for a minute. It usually has a calming effect.


Squealing like he just murdered you can sometimes have a good effect on a nipper, but I have known a few who got even more aroused and wound up when I did that.


And it really is partly just his age, and this too shall pass.

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I've also noticed the biting/nipping is at its worse when he's tired, excited, or hungry--especially when he's tired. He'll start nipping up a storm and then as soon as I put him in his crate he just zonks out.




I've always found the little puppies (and little children) start to act like terrors when they are tired. I usually give the puppies a nap time. Some puppies are more difficult than others! My last one was an absolute pain in the arhs... Their teeth are just coming in; I agree with the alternate toys etc..but consider when they get all wound up that they probably need a nap.

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Thank you everyone!


I started giving him ice cubes to help with the pain and to give him something to chew on and froze a couple soaked rags. As for the nipping, I'm trying out the yelping and then ignoring him--so far he doesn't like it when I turn my back on him or walk out of the room. I'm definitely glad to have joined this forum: I imagine you all will be savin' me as we navigate puppyhood! I can't tell you guys enough how awesome it is to have your advice. =D

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I don't think this pertains yet but the playing especially is something to think about


My pup can get very mouthy sometimes when it comes to recieving treats or playing:



-she has learned the command "drop it" then I will pick it up eliminating the holding onto a toy and getting nippy/mouthy. sometimes I will lay my hand out for her to bring the toy to me but I won't take a firm grip she has to decide when to give it up (unless i tell her to drop it) therefore its not causing any type of mistaken nips

-also remember that rolling around on the floor and rough housing can cause that mouthy action, my gf's lab/mix is very mouthy becuase her father thought it was fun to roll around on the ground and play rough, mine just wants to lick you to death if you lay on the ground then she wants a belly rub & snuggle



-no treats if i feel teeth

-if being mouthy treats are given from an open palm so I can close it if she get's too bad

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