Why Is My Puppy Biting?
Help! My cocker spaniel puppy is constantly biting and scratching me and I don't know what to do.
He's scratched me several times with his sharp teeth and he's also biting my clothes - he's ruined several knitted tops of mine and my friends.
I really don't know what I can do about this.
It's really becoming a problem.
Can you help, please?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Hello Teona, I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with your puppy but don't worry, puppy biting is a natural phase that all puppies go through.
However, it should be addressed with training, as soon as possible.
Whenever your puppy bites you, yelp loudly. This is the same reaction that she would get from her siblings if she was playing too aggressive in the pack.
Yelping will teach her that biting hurts you. When she realises that biting hurts you, she may become more gentle.
When she bites you, yelp, remove your hand gently and stop playing with her. Don't pull your hand away sharply as this may only encourage her to hang on to it and 'play' more.
Replace your hand with a rubber puppy toy that she can play with and bite on. If your puppy continues to bite you, yelp again but this time leave the room for a couple of minutes.
You need to let your puppy know that biting is not acceptable. Whenever his teeth come into contact with your hands, yelp.
Reinforce her good behaviour - give her plenty of praise when she licks you, or plays gently. It's important that you and anyone who comes into contact with her must be consistent with this training.
You might also like to begin training your puppy to respond to the 'off' command. Once she has learned this, if she goes to bite you, you can shout 'off' and she will obey.
To train your puppy to follow the 'off' command, hold a treat in your hand. Let her see the treat, then close your hand and say 'off'. If she doesn't try to get at the treat, open your hand and say 'take it' and give her the treat.
Repeat this regularly each day. Eventually, you should be able to keep the treat in your open hand without her touching it by using the 'off' command. You are teaching your puppy that 'off' means 'don't touch'.
Do these exercises a few times each day until she has learnt them. You might also like to enrol your puppy in obedience and socialisation classes as this would help enormously.
Hope this helps.
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