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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Puppy Biting

At 12 weeks Kacie is doing great but we're looking for guidance about how to stop her biting us. We'll be sitting in her pen with her, playing with toys or training, when she decides to start biting, usually wrists/arms/feet/hair but sometimes also lunges at faces. She doesn't seem aggressive, just playful. It's almost as if she thinks our bodies are just another toy. When playing outside, she will at times bite boots/pant legs/shoelaces/jacket (jumping up to reach jacket).

We've tried distracting her with a toy, yelling ouch, pulling lower lip gently over teeth so that she's biting her lip, leaving her alone. She will let go if we put a treat by her nose. So far nothing seems to prevent the biting.

A friend suggested spraying her in the face with water while yelling NO. Is that a good idea?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:16 AM
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I'm not a fan at yelling at... well at anyone, much less a 12 wk old puppy. I'm even less of a fan of spraying anything at them.
But going to ask a silly question. At 3 months why are you playing in the puppy pen? You should be teaching the puppy the behaviors you want vs. discouraging the ones you don't. How can your pup learn how to behave in the house if they are never allowed to be free in the house? Avoiding is not training.

kikopup has great youtube videos on puppy biting but she also has great training videos for puppies. By this age your pup should have the basics on sit, down & come when called. Are you enrolled in a puppy training class? If you have never trained a puppy before see if you can find a good training group to learn. Don't waste your time on Petsmart/Petco, it's a waste of money.

As your pup gets older it's also going to get bigger. So much easier to shape behaviors with a young pup vs a 60 lb dog. They are also going to need more exercise and leash walking isn't going to cut it. Start teaching learning games, when pups get bored they do behaviors they know, teach them a behavior you like instead.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:21 AM
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It sounds like you are doing most everything you can. It just takes some time. I feel like all the things you are doing will stop it eventually but nothing seems to stop some puppies until they just hit a certain age. You should start seeing some improvements in the next couple of weeks. I personally would not do the spray bottle in the face. Yelling no does not teach them what you want them to do. You could try putting a little peanut butter on your hand and teach the word kiss. Then tell her to kiss when she is biting and reward if she stops biting and starts licking. Keep training, it will stop.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting replies, thanks! I can totally see the value of letting her have the run of the house versus keeping her in a pen, but at this point it is a safety issue. When free in the house she gets into everything, including biting on wires etc. I work at home and she is perfectly content in her pen (around 25-30 square feet and attached to her crate) next to my desk during the day with frequent potty/play breaks outside. I would not be able to monitor her as carefully as she needs if she were loose in the house.

We do not want to use harsh methods or punishment. We started puppy class this week (and one of her siblings happens to be in the class also!). We'll try to teach her kissies instead of biting!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:23 PM
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You should start letting her out of her play pen (supervised) to be around the house. How can you expect a puppy to grow up knowing how to have manners and good behavior in your home if she does not experience it while she is learning and growing? They key is to carefully supervise and have consistent expectations when she is out in the house. This could literally just mean letting her hang out in the living room with you while you are watching TV. Use gates to keep her in the room with you.

Give her a bully stick (puppies LOVE bully sticks) or something to chew to keep her occupied. Puppies are teething like crazy until they are 6 or so months old...and even then are still working on molars. I found that whenever Denver started to get mouthy it was because he was bored and wanted to play...OR when he was feeling cooped up and needed to be taken outside to run around and get some energy out.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 02:51 PM
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Try expanding her world by using baby gates or 'puppy proofing' some of the areas with cords. Absolutely use the pen when you need to work but in the evenings, let her be out in the kitchen with you (my floor plan is open and we are in the kitchen / family room area 90% of the time so I pretty much live in the kitchen when we have a puppy.) As her potty training improves you can expand her world and get some time in around the house. We don't mean let her have full run of the house but she does need to have time to learn. The trick is to keep her engaged for the most part and don't take your eyes off of her. You can use bitter apple spray on electrical cords to help her understand that they are not for chewing. Be sure she has access to a wide variety of acceptable chew toys.

As for the biting, she is a normal puppy and it's just going to take consistent training to get through this phase. I suspect that when you curl her lip under a tooth you may need to apply slightly stronger pressure if it's not phasing her. I'd give her a stern "eh-eh" in a deep (not loud) but deep voice so she is aware that you are not pleased. She will connect that her biting doesn't have great results. Try heading off the biting by having toys handy to put in her mouth when you see the attack beginning to happen. It is a lot easier to stuff a toy in her mouth BEFORE she latches on and that way you can be positive and play, no correction needed. She needs to be engaged and playing or training with treats to help her learn what makes you happy and gets good results for her.

Keep in mind that she is also beginning to need more activity and exercise as she moves into the older puppy phase. Nature walks, baby wading pool, puppy playdates a couple times a week, blowing bubbles outside, playing on puppy agility equipment - tunnel or wobble board - are all things to help tire her out. Get her out meeting neighbors and kids at the library, bus stop, soccer or baseball fields etc. Take her places in the car every day. It is a full time project - not much free time to watch netflix or put your feet up in the evenings for the first year or two - but it will pay off with the dog of your dreams


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, really appreciate your input! I'm all for expanding her world-and love the comment about the dog of our dreams-but I have a concern. She's content to stay in her pen while I work. If we let her out in the evenings/weekends etc., might she be less happy in her pen because she'll realize that she could be out exploring the house?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTucker View Post
....I have a concern. She's content to stay in her pen while I work. If we let her out in the evenings/weekends etc., might she be less happy in her pen because she'll realize that she could be out exploring the house?
She certainly may be less content but you wouldn't raise a human child confined to one room and expect her to have normal mental growth and the same goes for a puppy. The more places you take her and allow her to explore, the more well adjusted and intelligent she will be as an adult. It's time. She should only be confined during your work hours and when you are doing something where you have an important chore or activity that takes precedent: i.e. showering, switching laundry, mowing the lawn, mopping or vacuuming etc. Give yourself 30 minutes of down time in the evening to unwind and watch netflix and then the rest of your evening needs to be devoted to important chores or playing with and training with your puppy. Every minute of time you do or do not invest in her now will show down the road. She is well worth it.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 10:03 AM
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Another thought - and I am no expert so take it with necessary grains of salt - our 10-week-old puppy exhibits similar behavior; I mostly just try to distract her with a toy when she starts chewing on me. But if you are sitting IN the pen with her is it possible she may view you more as a littermate than as her master? Even in our little pup I feel like I see some behaviors that seem like dominance plays and I gently discourage them.

Agree with what others say about keeping her always in the pen. Have to think you are going to see some boredom-related behavior at some point. You have my sympathy for trying to work with a puppy in the room. I can't even seem to return phone calls or emails since our puppy came home last week.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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The idea that Kacie perceives us as littermates seemed to be true when my son came home from college and got into the pen with her: Constant biting and climbing on him, as if he were a huge puppy. He let her out to play in the living room and the biting didn't really improve, but it did improve as she calmed down.

Thanks to your suggestions, we're letting her have lots of supervised time loose in the house in the evenings. She really enjoys that and doesn't seem to mind being in her pen during my work hours.

Congrats to benelatuit on your new puppy!
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