Jump to content
BC Boards

Puppy Biting/General Help

Recommended Posts


Three or so months ago I got a seven week old border collie/american eskimo dog mix puppy. I got him off of Craigslist, and did not know much about the breed prior to getting him, so I was not aware that they were working dogs. With this being said, I have been doing everything in my capacity to provide him with the mental and physical stimulation that he needs. I also am a college student, although I will be graduating in May, which has caused for me to not be able to devote as much time as I believe is necessary to train him. With this being said he does know most basic commands when treats are involved (paw, sit, down, stay, high five etc). Unfortunately he has a very bad habit of biting, and sometimes he will seemingly "viscously" bite others. He is now five months old, and has gotten his adult teeth in, so his bites are not always as painful, but sometimes they still are. The main issue is not that he bites me, but he will bite other people if the do something that "irritates" him. For example if my mother tries to put the leash on him she may get bitten, or if she tries to pet him while someone is preparing his food. He always will try to bite when people put on his leash, regardless of the person- but this is a habit that cannot persist.

I have gone to trainers, and am currently working with a trainer whom has been very helpful, but I am getting worried because I do not want him to continue to bite as an adult, for his own safety. I know this was lengthy, but I can answer any other questions you guys may have!
I usually spend my entire day with him except when I am in class, so I am normally with him about 18 hours out of a 24 hour day. I also am running out of ways to entertain him while I am doing homework, and he will always get into trouble if not supervised, or try to do bad things to get my attention. He is crate trained and house trained at this point.


So to summarize what the issues are:

1. He bites other people, sometimes aggressively if triggered

2. He doesn't seem to have any desire to "please" me in the sense that my other dogs (labs) had.

3. I don't know how to keep him entertained when I am doing work

4. He bites when I try to put the leash on him, and I do not know how to eliminate this behavior (I have tried giving him treats and showing him the leash repetitively, and it has not significantly helped)

I attached a picture of him, so maybe you guys can identify if he is not truly a border collie, but he has tried to "Herd" children when given the opportunity and most people when they see him assume he is a border collie puppy

Another aside is that I also am not willing to give him up, I believe that it is my responsibility since I got this puppy to take care of him and to ensure that he has the best life possible, I do not want to give him away- he is extremely attached.


I appreciate any help or tips you guys can give me! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for trying to help me! I just want him to have the best life possible and for this to work out so we can both be happy!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also! I somehow forgot something is that the whole "Yelping" or acting like you're hurt to prevent him from biting does not work--he usually starts wagging his tail and thinks its a game

he also does still bite me, it just usually is not as aggressively as he bites others, its more of a "play bite"

As I was typing this he got bored and came over and tried to start biting my leg, which I told him "no" and he stopped--but regardless I dont think he should be biting at all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a cutie! He definitely looks like he has some (or a lot) of border collie in him, but I don't see any husky in the mix.


It is hard to diagnose 'over the internet' (and kudos to you for working with a trainer), but here are a couple of thoughts:


5 months old: he may be teething, which may be part of why he is being such a brat now. Does he have kongs or another type of indestructible chew toy to entertain him (for short periods of time)? Have you tried a stuffed and frozen kong to keep him busy and displace some of his need to chew/bite?


Do you follow the NILIF method? NILIF = Nothing In Life Is Free. In other words, he has to work for everything he wants. For example, when he gets fed, he has to sit. When you go out the door for a walk, he has to sit before the door opens. I think a search of NILIF on the web should bring up a lot more info.


I don't have specific advice for putting a leash on him without having him bite you as I would have to see specifically what he is doing. Probably others here will have some good ideas.


Good Luck and kudos for being committed to him. He will teach you a lot, and it is the difficult dog that teaches us the most if we are open to learning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I know its hard to do this type of thing over the internet but I appreciate you trying!!

I do keep a few frozen kongs, but he gets through them pretty quickly and sometimes will even become disinterested in them- which blows my mind because I usually put peanut butter or another food of high value to him. I also use bullysticks sometimes which will occupy him for at least 45 mins! I just feel like he needs more mental stimulation which i'm not sure how to passively give him that!


I will certainly look into the NILF method, I usually make him sit to eat or go outside, but I do give him a lot of freedom, because I feel guilty crating him!!


Thank you so much for your support, I already have learned soo much I am just worried that I am being a bad dog owner because he has these behavioral issues!! :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do not feel guilty about crating. IMHO, all dogs need to learn to be calm in a crate. Appropriate use of a crate is invaluable. Your dog should accept staying in a crate for many reasons: if he had to stay in a crate at the vet, he would be calmer if he was crate-trained. A dog staying at the vet is usually highly stressed, and if they are not familiar with a crate, it just stresses them even more. Crates are good for keeping them out of mischief - and out of harm's way. If you ever do dog sports, you will note that all dogs are crated - and often snoozing. Many people use crates in their cars to keep their dogs safe.


Obviously, keeping a dog in a crate for long periods of time is not fair to a dog, particularly a pup. But all my dogs, as growing pups, were kept in crates overnight and then during the day for periods ranging from 30 min to 4 hours. As they matured, they earned more freedom, but it wasn't until the 2 older ones were 18-20 months old that I started letting them stay loose in the house for short periods of time when I was not home.


To assuage your guilt feelings about the crate, buy a oversized crate and put a plushy bed or crate pad in there for comfort. (And hopefully he won't chew it up.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that advice! I do crate him while I am gone,while sleeping and sometimes put him in if he is acting up. I just often feel bad because I have to crate him when I leave or am in class, so I feel bad if I put him in the crate while I am present. But it is true that his freedom should be a privilege, and he shouldn't act up!!

I have a fairly large crate, and pads and blankets in there he just looks sooooo sad when he can see me out of the crate, but I know its something i just have to deal with!! He also is fairly good though about not whining or barking when I put him in the crate, so I am hoping that he would be comfortable if put in a position where he would have to be in a crate, like the groomer or vet.

Thank you for your help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One idea for leashing him up...

Ask him to sit or lay down. With the leash in one hand, pretend to clip the leash on him while at the same time, take your other hand a offer him a treat. Keep your hand cupped so he has to kind of push his nose in your hand to get the treat out (giving you a second to pretend to clip the leash).


Give him the treat and remove your other hand. Repeat.

You're basically distracting him with a treat while you trach him that your approach with the leash means that he needs to be still (sitting or laying with his head still). Keep repeating it (over days) until you don't need the treat and he can hold a sit or down while you clip his leash on.


He is also so adorable. Definitely can see the border collie and American Eskimo in him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...