Posted by: Mary | 2013/01/11

The puppy biting game..

Hi There

I got a 8 week old Golden Retriever male puppy early in December. He is well adjusted at home, has enough toys, I take him for daily walks and spend around an hour and a half each night playing with him during the week. Weekends he is with me most of the time. He is now 11 weeks old and can “ sit” , “ lie down” , we are working on “ stay”  command and he can even say hallo with his paw. With each meal I have him repeat these basic instructions and have successfully started increasing the “ wait”  command before he can eat. I can also comfortably put my hands in his bowl while he eats. So no aggression there. The problem is however this little guy wont stop biting me! Hard!!! And repeatedly!!

I have tried the high pitched abrupt noise to indicate he is hurting me. I have tried the firm “ no”  and walking away. I repeatedly tried to offer him a better alternative in the form of his toys. I have also tried the ending play time technique, but this little guy just patiently waits for me to return, or happily goes and plays by himself with his toys. I have to sometimes physically remove his little jaws from my skin, and while walking away he thinks its great fun to run after me biting my calves or grabbing and hanging on to my clothes. He also has this horribly habit of running in from outside, jumping up and biting any part of me on the couch that he can reach! And when we pet him, most of the time he will try to get your hand in his mouth, at first it does not hurt, but then he starts increasing the pressure and sure enough before you know it you need to physically remove those little teeth and the “ biting game”  begins.

He will be going to puppy socialization classes just after he turns 13 weeks, but I am at my wits end with this young pup. Is there something else you can suggest I try in the mean time? How long will this phase last? Am I sitting with a possible future problem dog or am I just too impatient with him learning not to bite so hard!?

Please help,


Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Mary it sounds like you are doing a great job and I am thrilled you are going to take him to class.
Some pups are more nibbly than others and with a pup like this you need to take it a step further. Will address one by one:-
a. Biting you. pups need to chew and bite on us so that they can learn that human skin is a nonon but this little guy is taking it too far. First as he does it, tell him gently, gently as he is chewing solfty. If it gets to hard, bend down and right in his face (not to close you dont want to get bitten), stare hard at him and a very loud and firm UHUH!'. If he stops, then immediately, good boy and repeat the game. If he does not stop, position yourself that you are near the toilet door, first try the above and if that does not work, immediately pick him up, no talking or interacting and march with him to toilet and put him inside for only TEN SECONDS. Then open the door and come back in to the same game and if he repeats, give the warning and then the Time out again. the very worst thing you can do to a dog is to ignore it. This is very effective. The only time you will leave the pup for longer than 10 seconds is if he barks, whines, scratches - then stand with your hand on the handle and immediately let him out when he stops.
b. What I would do as well is to put this little guy onto a 'work to earn' regime to stop the running in and jumping. If he does run in like this in-between - put both your hands out in front of you and say stop in front of his face. This normally gets then to stop. With the work to earn, you take his whole mean and practice calling him, asking for a sit and then reward with one piece of food. Take a step back and repeat. Practice this all over the house and garden and very soon you will have a pup that finds it is rewarding to sit in front of humans. When that happens, you can start to fade the reward. I have put a link to fading below for you.
c. Make sure this little guy is getting lots and lots of chew toys, preferable inside Kongs and the like. I have also put a link to an article on this for you.
Some pups are just worse than usual. I would also suggest that you bring in the basic House Rules for Pups and have also supplied a link to this. Good luck and do let me know how it goes. Thks S

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Sally | 2013/02/07

Hi Scotty!

Just wanted to thank you for the info above and give you an update. I have tried your suggestions and there is definite improvement! The running in and biting part has all but stopped and he is definitely learning to bite more gently..
The only thing I still have trouble with is the fact that my pup cannot sit with me without having some part of me in his mouth...whether its my hand, toe or a piece of my clothing!

We are patiently working on this...but progress is slow! :)

Thanks for all the info on the Kong - I went and got a few and he really does enjoy these - unless of course I am available to chew on... he seems to prefer me every time!

Kind Regards

Reply to Sally

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.