One of my FB friends suggested I post with a bit of an overview on one of my videos about puppy shark teeth and how to deal with being on the receiving end of the needle-sharp teeth. Well, I’m not a behaviourist or a trainer – I just do the best that I can and there are certainly lots of differing views about how best to deal with puppies that mouth and nip and bite (cos my god it bloody hurts!). Some people say to shout “Ow!”, some say ignore the behaviour, some are still in the dark ages and advocate aversive techniques such as spray bottles, biting the dog on the ear (yes, that is a thing!!!) or pinning the puppy down and dominance theory (not in this century I hope!!!).
When you watch an older dog with a young puppy, he doesn’t just “ignore the behaviour” expecting it to stop. I think that trying to do that, and expecting that alone to work, as lordable as it sounds in theory, isn’t really realistic … well, not in my experience anyway. What I do see when watching Uncle Rain deal with Dice is that he 1) interacts, 2) voices his displeasure if he goes too far and 3) refuses to continue interaction if he doesn’t stop the behaviour.
When I knew we were getting Dice, I brushed up on my puppy knowledge and read an excellent book by Steve Mann … Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy. Steve puts it brilliantly but basically the idea is that you voice your displeasure at the behaviour and then remove yourself ie, if you bite the monkey, the monkey will go away and not play any more. Fab! Great explanation and it certainly works. If Dice gets over excited I simply remove myself from the game and leave a suitable toy for his teething gums instead – I literally substitute my interaction and “fun-ness” for an inanimate object. Now, which do you think your puppy will prefer to play with? Im betting you are the best toy he has, so he is going to prize your attention and interaction way above all else. It certainly works for us and I can honestly say it’s something I no longer have a problem with so if you’re struggling …… Worth a try 😉
I’ve attached a wee video of Rain interacting with Dice @ 14 weeks old and very much in “shark puppy” mode. Please excuse the state of the house … tidying and cleaning with a 14 week old weapon of mass destruction is a little like painting the Fourth Bridge!