Puppy biting me like he's playing with another dog

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Puppy biting me like he's playing with another dog

This is a discussion on Puppy biting me like he's playing with another dog within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I have a male brittany, almost 10 weeks old. He chews and chews and chews on me like any puppy would. That sucks but I ...

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Old 05-02-2014, 06:20 PM
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Puppy biting me like he's playing with another dog

I have a male brittany, almost 10 weeks old.

He chews and chews and chews on me like any puppy would. That sucks but I know it's normal. I see it as puppy kisses.

But when we get in the height of play time, his eyes roll back in his head and he starts attacking me. It's just like you see when two dogs are full-on playing with each other. Bearing his teeth, jumping around, and all he wants to do is bite me. I don't think he's being aggressive (when I make "yip" noises he will hesitate, like if he were playing with a dog and he did that), I just think he's playing.

If I try to give him a toy, he doesn't care. He'd rather "play" with me. Of course if I push him away, he also thinks I'm playing and tries harder. For a while, I'd grab him up, cradle him like a baby and hold his mouth shut, and say "NO BITE" while holding him tight so he couldn't wiggle away. But that just seems to motivate him to bite me more-- he's even snarled at me a couple times after doing that. I've stopped doing it because I think it's making it worse.

I really feel like I just need to make him understand that he can't play with me like I'm a dog. But I'm lost on how. Does anybody have any tips?

Last edited by Dougan; 05-02-2014 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:35 PM
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I felt really silly doing it at first, but I've been following Ian Dunbar's suggestion to not only yip, but also to leave the room in a little bit of a huff, meaning I step over a gate so he can't follow me. I return a little later, but repeat every time he's too rough. By doing this over the course of a few weeks I've trained our puppy not to bite at my feet or ankles at all and that he has to be very gentle with my hand.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougan View Post
I have a male brittany, almost 10 weeks old.

He chews and chews and chews on me like any puppy would. That sucks but I know it's normal. I see it as puppy kisses.

But when we get in the height of play time, his eyes roll back in his head and he starts attacking me. It's just like you see when two dogs are full-on playing with each other. Bearing his teeth, jumping around, and all he wants to do is bite me. I don't think he's being aggressive (when I make "yip" noises he will hesitate, like if he were playing with a dog and he did that), I just think he's playing.

If I try to give him a toy, he doesn't care. He'd rather "play" with me. Of course if I push him away, he also thinks I'm playing and tries harder. For a while, I'd grab him up, cradle him like a baby and hold his mouth shut, and say "NO BITE" while holding him tight so he couldn't wiggle away. But that just seems to motivate him to bite me more-- he's even snarled at me a couple times after doing that. I've stopped doing it because I think it's making it worse.

I really feel like I just need to make him understand that he can't play with me like I'm a dog. But I'm lost on how. Does anybody have any tips?

Don't let him chew on you at all.

Any biting the human should have an effect:

1. He bites you you, depending on why he's biting wants to play or wants to teethe, either give him a toy or a chew. If you give him a toy play with him with the toy for at least a few minutes.

2. He drops the toy or chew to bite you again, give it back to him, and if it's the toy try playing with him again.

3. He still drops it, then the fun human needs to get out of reach of the puppy. Get up on a piece of furniture he can't jump on, go over the baby gate, or put him in his ex-pen or crate with a nice chew. Leave him there for a minute or two before letting him out to try again.

The object of 1 and 2 is to teach him that if he wants to play with you he needs to bite on a toy. The object of 3 is to teach him that biting on the human makes the human go away.

You need to be completely consistent so that he can anticipate what his actions will cause. If you sometimes allow him to chew on you you just confuse him, A + B must always = C. It will take time, maybe a couple of weeks, but all puppies will learn, if the owner is consistent.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if the puppy is over tired, or over excited, then it won't be able to control it's actions, just like an over tired 2 year old toddler can't. If he's acting up because of that then putting him in his crate, or puppy safe area and giving him a chance to either calm down, or take a nap, should help.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:57 AM
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This is interesting. My eventual goal is to have a puppy that doesn't nip at all, but both Ian Dunbar and Patricia McConnell suggest teaching bite inhibition prior to teaching the puppy not to bite at all.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:25 AM
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FWIW I have good results doing it the other way around. When the puppy is young (0-8 months) and low in the self-control dept., biting is totally off the table. The puppy bites and he gets one strike where a toy is given, strike two where I stand up, hold hands out of reach and 'stonewall' until they settle down and three where I just leave for a bit. Any excessive 'hyping' or hands around the mouth, face around the mouth, feet around the mouth are avoided altogether.

When the dog gets older (8ish months onward) they may occasionally bring mouthing in a very subtle 'mind if I mouth you' way and I just let it slide, only interrupting where it is an intentional chomp.

Both Toby and now Lexy had really bad mouthing behaviour (i.e. bite inhibition was totally beyond their faculties, especially when already excited and at play) so it worked better, in personal experience, to avoid it altogether until they were older and more self-controlled and nuanced in their social interactions.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:48 AM
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My puppy is now almost 8 months old. I got a bit slack after he got over his major teething phase, only really stopping play when he bit too hard. He got away with slight mouthing, that kind of thing. I regret that now.
I'm taking a much more consistent "no biting AT ALL" line now, exactly like the ones listed above (the same advice I got when I posted here about him biting).
While he lost his needle sharp puppy teeth, he now has big, blunt teeth that bruise me when he gets too rough with play, or gets frustrated and nips. I think it was because I wasn't consistent enough with him when he was younger and relied on the "he'll grow out of it" too much.

I don't really have any alternate suggestions, just the experience of the past few months with my enthusiastic little chewer
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:35 AM
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Usually pups learn a lot about bite inhibition from their mother and siblings so it's more about reinforcing this when they play with humans. I redirect their biting to a toy but will allow the occasional "accidental nip" and respond with a "yip" and stop the play for a moment, I think it's important for them to learn to distinguish between the toy and your hand, then continue to play. When the pup gets to the point that the accidental nips have a lot less force, he's learned to inhibit the bite and recognizes the difference between your hand and the toy. If the pup is going directly after your hand and not the toy, try a different type of toy, if he continues to go after your hand, stop playing and try again in a few minutes.

With my dogs I also added an "all done" verbal cue and put the toy out of site when we were done playing followed by a physical calming action... what ever works best on your pup. They all have their "sweet spot" and the stroking or scratching of the spot should be done gently to start bringing the energy level down. That way the pup learns that the play hasn't stopped because they did something wrong and you don't leave them in a heightened play state. Once they calm a bit leave them with a chew.

Last edited by jbibiza; 05-04-2014 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:21 PM
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This may help
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:52 PM
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^ You saved me having to go find and post this video.

I'd stop the rough house type play that gets him so worked up. Do some training instead.
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