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Puppy Play Should be Playful not Painful

It goes without saying that when you get your cute new puppy, engaging in puppy play should be playful, not painful. But that’s not always the case.

Many new puppy owners and their children are sorely disappointed when their new puppy begins to literally bite the hand that feeds it.

Recently a new puppy owner contacted me with concerns about her 14 week old puppy:

“My 14 week old Jack Russell is really nipping. I have tried the redirecting to a toy, “yelping,” ignoring and again redirecting to a toy…nothing seems to work. He just hangs on and growls.”

Puppy Play Should be Playful not Painful

At 16 weeks, he was still biting her and at other family members when they pick him up. She was frustrated. We talked about the amount of time it would take and the importance of regular daily play exercises.

Additionally we discussed not picking him up as that may tend to put him in the defense mode of “flight/fight” and since he couldn’t take flight, he resorted to biting.

Biting does tend to throw everyone into a panic wondering why “their” puppy is biting so much and so hard when they try to play and pet their new puppy! They automatically jump to the conclusion they have a puppy that is aggressive!

The reality is, a puppy’s world pretty much consists of eating and sleeping and spending a lot of time playing – which includes using their mouths on you. That’s how his life was with his litter mates and it’s an activity carried over to you and your family from his schooling in the litter.

If you have a new puppy that is biting in puppy play, and you are wondering why, let’s take a look at the benefits of play as seen through the eyes of your puppy. This will help you not be so concerned.

You will see why your puppy instinctively carries out his biting in play with you as he did his litter mates.

Here are some puppy benefits of playing

Playing allows your puppy to compare himself with his litter mates – size himself up. Who’s stronger? Who can take control of things?

Playing allows your puppy to work on bite inhibition and bond with his litter mates who can take those razor-sharp teeth much better than our pound of flesh!

Playing is a stress-reliever for your puppy – after which he can relax and sleep – waking up just in time to eat again.

Playing also gives your puppy a chance to hone his skills to stay alive or hunt and kill his next meal. Thank goodness food is in the pantry now and he’s in a safe home, so those skills are no longer needed. But the instincts are still there and instincts drive his play.

Now let’s look at types of play

You can break puppy play down into two types of play: Playing with objects (articles of play like tug toys, chew bones, balls, etc.) and physical play with his littermates or you.

While puppies need to play with you nicely, he probably won’t at first. Take the time to condition your puppy to playing with stuffies or other toys when you first bring him home. These will be great redirects when he gets mouthy with you.

The more “play toy” conditioning your puppy received in the litter starting at about 4 weeks of age, the more he will naturally gravitate to the toys in your home. If he missed that in the litter, keep up the conditioning, it’s not too late – especially if you start right when you bring him home.

Rules for play with your puppy

If your puppy never gets to bite your hand, how will he ever learn how hard is too hard or never bite at all? And of course it would make good sense that the “test hand” be yours and not your children’s. Most puppies learn this lesson quickly.

Teach him biting hurts. Play with your puppy and if he bites, then “yelp” and redirect to a sit, praise and treat. You want to make sure he knows that you are in control of the play session.

When teaching your puppy not to bite, do it gradually. Work on achieving softer bites first, then just mouthing and finally no bites at all.

One more lesson is to teach your puppy is to respond to the word “Off!” which means stop what you’re doing. This way you have a correction word to use so that you can redirect his activity to a toy or chew bone.

Another activity that tends to provoke some puppies to bite is being picked up. I mentioned that earlier. If this is the case with your pup, then refrain from picking him up.

Instead, gradually desensitize him to being picked up. Simply associate food treats with picking him up briefly and then back on the floor he goes. Try and extend the handling time gradually using food treats.

Begin teaching your puppy obedience training. Sits and downs are great “redirects” if you can’t get your hands on a toy.

Don’t expect things to change overnight. It will get better, I promise. You just have to persevere and be consistent with your feedback to your puppy. What you do today will shape the future behavior of your puppy as an adolescent and adult dog. Make it a good experience.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.  

We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from.  

I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this.  I’m here to help.

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. 

Your puppy comes to you as a blank slate.   How you fill in those blanks gives you a great puppy or a puppy with problems.  His Nose to Tail Puppy Training  is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.

Video Review: Puppy training and 3 kids

New puppy trainingHi we’re Chris and Sara Crawford and these are our kids Carter, McKenna and Millie.

This is our new puppy Kiwi.  She was born on mother’s day and we got her on July 4th.  My wife says that was the day she lost her independence.

So we are grateful to have Jim here helping us to regain our independence.  We’ve learned a lot of new things with Kiwi

She’s learned to not jump, to not bite, she learned to sit to stay and she’s learned to walk and we’ve been able to do that in a couple of weeks.

And it’s been really great for our family.  We’ve really enjoyed Jim and our kids have really enjoyed Kiwi.

So thank you very much.

 

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Stop My Puppy From Biting

This is Marion and Thomas. We have Maya, a Goldendoodle puppy (5 months).

Even though the cutest dog in the world Maya’s behavior clearly needed some adjustments.

We called Jim Burwell and asked for help. Jim came to our home and gave us simple, specific and extremely logical advice on how to train our puppy.

This included walking on a leash, not jumping on the kitchen table, not running through the house, not biting and so on.

We must say that after only 2 weeks we do not recognize our puppy anymore.  Maya turned into an obedient dog following commands and being well behaved.

We would have never thought that a dog could change to the positive in such a short period of time.

We think Jim’s methods are sensitive and highly adapted to the individual situation of the dog owner. Jim did an excellent job.

Review: Puppy Training for First Time Puppy Owner

Alright,  I’m Melissa and we have a mini Aussie named Dude and we are first time puppy owners.

We’ve never had a puppy before so it was very difficult training him because I knew nothing about it.

So we hired Jim and he came over and taught us leash training, sit and downs, feeding, pretty much ALL of it
since I knew nothing about it.

He did a great job and I would completely recommend Jim to any new puppy owner.

Listen to her testimonial here:   Dude

Labradoodle Puppy Training

Hello, our names are Kyle and Jessica Abarca and we have a new labradoodle who’s name is Occy.

He is approximately 14 weeks old  now and we hired Jim to help us train the dog with potty training, sits and downs and
walking and we have been very pleased with the service we received.

Jim is very professional and our dog Occy is actually, he’s very well trained now.  There you have it.  It’s also about training owners.

Listen to their testimonial here:   Abarca Testimonial

Review: Puppy Biting

My name is Julie and we are the Parsons family.  We have a 9 month old miniature schnauzer named Carli.  We’ve had Carli since she was about 4    months old.  While she is very cute, her typical puppy behavior soon became quite annoying and in some instances painful.  Since we have 2 young daughters we knew we had to get the biting, jumping, and wild puppy behavior under control.  Besides that, we wanted to have a dog we could all enjoy as a family.

We started working with Jim when Carli was 8 months old and we’re happy to say we’re well on our way to a well-behaved and enjoyable Carli.  Working with Jim it soon became apparent that we, as the owners, were the ones who really needed the training, even more so than Carli.  Jim helped us see how critical it is to establish our role as leaders and through his techniques helped me in particular develop confidence in myself to take that leadership role.  In just one lesson Jim was able to help us solve some problems such as running out the front door when someone arrives or going upstairs into the girls’ rooms to get their toys to chew on.

Jim helped us realize that part of being a leader is establishing boundaries, actual physical boundaries defining where Carli is and is not allowed, as well as boundaries for acceptable behavior.  His techniques and what I call his “bag of tricks” are effective, safe, positive, fun and easy to implement.  Even our 3 year old can get Carli to sit and wait before receiving a treat or her food.  It’s so much fun to see Carli want to do things to please us.  Thank you, Jim, for training us so we can train Carli.

Review: New Puppy Training

 My name is Jeri Wolff and I have a Bischon puppy.  I had a Bischon for about 12 years and he passed away recently so we got a a new Bischon puppy.

I called Jim because everyone I spoke to, including my vet,  said he was the best person to call for training.
I was very desperate because I was not used to having a puppy and our new puppy Budge, was quite a handful.
I called, as I said I was very desperate.

They got me in, Jim trained me, and he just worked wonders with Budge.  Jim was so calm with him and Budge responded to him and I didn’t hink Budge would respond to anybody.  He taught him how to sit, how to come,
how to stay down and he helped me with the biting issues and the nipping issues.  Budge is doing much much
better and I highly recommend Petiquette.

Puppy Training: Puppy biting what you need to know

A typical puppy biting scenario: A young child decides to share some of her food with the family’s new puppy and, with the yummy smell of food in the air, the puppy takes the food biting the child in the process.

Now my guess is that this senario plays out all too frequently in homes with new puppies. Some trainers would have you “pop the puppy on the nose!”

Compared to positive training methods used today by many mainstream trainers, this is a crude, ancient technique from days gone by. Fortunately, current behavioral science allows us to leave these antiquated methods behind forever while giving us positive methods to train, correct and redirect our
new puppies.

You should also be aware that if physical pain like popping on the nose happens during a puppy’s critical fear imprint period, such trauma can cause problems that could have long term negative effects on the puppy.

As the above example illustrates, children also need “behavioral counseling” as well. Kids should be taught for example, “no table scraps are to be hand fed to the dog.”

So using the example above, what could have worked in this example instead of setting the puppy up to bite?

The puppy could have been crated during mealtime avoiding the incident altogether. You could also ask yourself, “what would you prefer your puppy to do during mealtime?”

Would you prefer perhaps for the puppy to go to his dog bed and lie down while you eat dinner? While this may be a lofty goal for a young puppy, it is a reasonable goal and one that should be worked on early.

Remember, while puppies can learn fast, reliability only comes with maturity and experience. So you will have to do your homework and practice. Always set your puppy up to succeed.

Another school of thought on puppy biting is that if puppies are never allowed to bite at all, they never have any idea of their bite strength.

It is normal for puppies to bite as they interact with their littermates thus giving them the opportutnity to work on bite inhibition and begin to read body language and communicate with their littermates.

As new puppy owners, you can, during their very very early age (7-12 weeks), work on and fine tune your puppy’s bite inhibition by allowing them to bite us ADULTS in supervised exercises to work specifically on no biting.

This critical information based on how you react during the exercise,  gives them a point of reference from which to work to soften their bite to where they only lick human skin.

There is a process for this that allows you to keep the exercise positive for both two and four legged pack members. Most trainers with positive reinforcement training experience can take you through this process.

But one thing is certain: You will have a more harmonious outcome supervising your puppy in the house around children if you teach “no bite”. And, it’s not a bad idea even if you don’t have kids.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your puppy as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

Jim Burwell

 



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Puppy Biting Too Hard?

Puppies are generally taken from the litter at 7 to 8 weeks of age. This time with its litter mates is critical as it is used to help puppies learn to read body language and signals with it’s littermates through play and interaction. Signals like, let’s play or too rough or back off please!

Good breeders do not take their puppies from the litter too soon because they are aware of the importance of this time needed for socialization and puppy training so that prospective owners don’t wind up having puppy behavioral problems.

Responsible owners wait until the optimum age to get a puppy and then immediately begin their puppy training in the home. Smaller dog breeds like terriers or toy pups should stay in the litter until 8 to 12 weeks. A little research along with the following note worthy facts and you may have a better understanding of why your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behavior.

* Fact: It is common to frequently see aggression develop in dogs that were removed from their mother and litter mates between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks.

* Fact: A lack of experience in the socialization process with littermates and other puppies can lead to fearful behavior and possibly defensive aggression. Puppy training and socialization with other puppies is critical.

* Fact: This same aggressive behavior is also seen in dogs that are brought home at 8 weeks of age but are never taken out for environmentally rich experiences like meeting and playing with other puppies and dogs, walks in parks and the neighborhood and proper training when it comes to meeting people and children.

* Fact: These dogs automatically opt to use defensive aggressive behavior as their only tool when first communicating with other dogs.

If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible after the puppy is brought home, many puppies can learn to develop the critical social skills they need to lead productive and positive social lives interacting very well with other puppies and adult dogs. Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

Puppy Biting/Nipping. Are You At Your Wit’s End???

Puppies are generally taken from the litter at 7 to 8 weeks of age. This time with its litter mates is critical as it is used to help puppies learn to read body language and signals with it’s littermates through play and interaction. Signals like, “lets play,”  “too rough!”, or “back off
please!” 

Good breeders do not take their puppies from the litter too soon because they are aware of the importance of this time needed for socialization and puppy training so that prospective owners don’t wind up having puppy behavioral problems (like puppy biting).

Responsible owners wait until the optimum age to get a puppy and then immediately begin their puppy training in the home. Smaller dog breeds like terriers or toy pups should stay in the litter until 8 to 12 weeks. A little research along with the following note worthy facts and you may have a better understanding of why your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Fact: It is common to frequently see aggression develop in dogs that were removed from their mother and litter mates between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks.

Fact: A lack of experience in the socialization process with littermates and other puppies can lead to fearful behavior and possibly defensive aggression. Puppy training and socialization with other puppies is critical.

Fact: This same aggressive behavior is also seen in dogs that are brought home at 8 weeks of age but are never taken out for environmentally rich experiences like meeting and playing with other puppies and dogs, walks in parks and the neighborhood and proper training when it comes to meeting people and children.

Fact: These dogs automatically opt to use defensive aggressive behavior as their only tool when first communicating with other dogs.

If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible after puppy is brought home, many puppies can learn to develop the critical social skills they need to lead productive and positive social lives interacting very well with other puppies and adult dogs.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children.  And remember Opportunity Barks!    

 

Jim Burwell’s Petiquette