5 week old puppy biting. Help!

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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:10 am

5 week old puppy biting. Help!

Post by Bo_love7 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:38 pm

My moms boyfriend got Bo, a husky, from a man who had to give away his puppies early due to his landlords orders, which I know is not good, but I'd rather he be in the care of someone that will love him. Bo was about a month old when we got him and was a sweetheart. I had been waiting for a dog for some years and I was ecstatic to have gotten Bo. I immediately took him to the vet to get a checkup the next day and followed the doc's advice on what to feed him, his vaccinations, etc. However, in the last week Bo has adopted some biting problems, so I searched for what was best on stopping it. When I saw victorias videos on YouTube I tried giving Bo something else to bite on, which only works sometimes, but the majority of the time he would rather chew on ME. Whenever he bites hard I stop play immediately and "attempt" to walk away, and I say attempt because he always grabs ahold of my socks or pants when I even turn to go. I don't want to yank my leg away from him and have him think I'm playing tug-of-war, but when I open his mouth to get my clothes out of his mouth to walk away he'll play growl and try biting my hands! Then chase me when i DO walk away. Help please!

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Re: 5 week old puppy biting. Help!

Post by JudyN » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:24 am

That's a shame the pup had to leave his mum so early, as it could well affect later behavioural development :( However, the puppy biting sounds very par for the course. You could try attaching a house lead (a thin light lead with no loop) so when he tries to bite you can lead him out of the room rather than you leave the room. Or you might simply be able to lift him up and pop him out of the room (or behind a stairgate). Whatever 'stops the fun' with a minimum of fuss.

Some pups respond well if you give a high-pitched yelp/squeal - others just get more worked up, but it's worth a try when you don't manage to prevent the biting.

There's a post on puppy biting here: https://positively.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=6111 and timeouts here: https://positively.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13934 which might also help.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Re: 5 week old puppy biting. Help!

Post by emmabeth » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:17 pm

I have been there - mine was a week older though.

I would HIGHLY recommend you get friendly with people who have other dogs in a range of ages, all steady and not aggressive (and healthy) but some young dogs, some adult dogs, who will be confident and will help to teach your pup that biting is not appropriate (I would not expose him to pups of his own age now though, they wont be able to tell him 'ow, we dont like that go away'!)

This won't stop him biting you, all puppies bite, its why they are CUTE, the cuteness balances out the biteyness (or it is supposed to!).

The other thing is to look at the balance of mental stimulation vs physical stimulation - and as he is growing that balance that he needs is going to change quite frequently!

Provide as much stuff he can bite on as possible and give him as much opportunity to chew, pull, rag and bite as you can - so no food from bowls please, food comes from chewing on food dispensing toys like Kongs, from raw meaty bones if you can, from ripping open twists of paper and card or shredding boxes.

Teach him tugging, and teach the rules - which are that he doesn't tug your clothing or bite skin, if he DOES then the game stops immediately - also remember to tug back in a way thats safe, so don't be twisting too far or encouraging him to bounce up and down with it, tug forward and back and a little side to side as thats safer for his growing body.

The first few times you do this set yourself up for success so, no flappy trousers, tuck pants into socks, no flappy sleeves, secure with an elastic band or wear tight cuffs. If he goes for feet cos hes figured it makes you yelp and jump around, put on shoes and if he goes for hands, put on some gloves. If you do these things then IF he bites you, you can drop the toy and sit or stand motionless until he quits trying to bite (at which point you reward him IMMEDIATELY and effusively, dont wait for a little while to see if he can hold his self control or anything, you need to be lightning fast to reward him the second he quits biting).

Whilst puppies of this age need a lot of sleep, they also need a LOT of input and normally he would be getting that from his litter mates and his environment - now he only has you so you need to carry him to a TON of places, let him experience different textures under his feet, different sounds and smells and sights - and pair all these things with GOOD experiences, food is generally a good experience so use that!

Most of all, tell yourself, 'this too will pass' because it will - my horrid bitey puppy has grown up into a very non-bitey dog now, its actually hard to remember that just 10 months ago he was biting my arm til it bled, hanging on and ragging at my flesh, growling his head off like a devil-puppy!

Much of puppy biting (particularly the hard slightly frenzied kind) is because your pup is over tired in one respect and hasnt done enough in another (physical vs mental) and also because the world around them can be SO frustrating when they don't know how to communicate and interact with it.

Teaching your puppy how to communicate with you really helps - so teach htat a nice fast sit gets goodies, a good quick recall earns goodies, that a yip by the back door results in you opening it - and many more things that might not be specific behaviours youve taught but are experiences where your pup has learned 'hey, the person LISTENED to me and that was good'...
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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