Puppy Nipping

DSC_0005Puppies explore their world by mouth. If you’ve got a puppy at home, you’ve undoubtedly removed a variety of items from their mouth, including your fingers and toes.

When they are with their litter mates, puppies play by wrestling and nipping each other. It is natural to them to play with their humans in the same way. But what puppies don’t know is how sharp their teeth are and how much those nips can hurt! Other dogs and litter mates teach puppies when they bite to hard by stopping play. If mom is playing with the puppies and they bite to hard, she’ll likely get up and leave. Litter mates will likely yelp and stop playing. If we follow these same techniques, it can be easier to to eliminate puppy nipping. If your pup starts to biting to hard, let them know that is not acceptable by stopping play until they’ve calmed down a bit.

We also encourage you to teach any children that will be around your Brittany pup to “be a tree.” Kids and puppies easily get excited together, which can lead to a puppy to start playing to rough. Children tend to run or retreat when puppies get too rough. The puppy thinks this is more play and starts to chase the child. To learn more about the “Be a Tree” program, visit the DoggoneSafe.com website.


Teaching Gentle

Another good exercise for your puppy is to teach them the gentle command. This is a great all around command and can help reinforce a soft mouth. For this one, we like to use a clicker and some high value treats. Take a small amount of whatever dog treat you choose and and hold it in your fist. If you’re using your clicker, have it ready in the other hand. Let your puppy sniff your hand. They are going to smell a good treat and may try to bite your hand to get to the treat. Don’t give in! As soon as your pup starts to realize that they can’t get the treat that way, they’ll likely start to lick. This is when you click or praise, and give them the treat. Repeat and remember to keep the treat portions small. Add in the “gentle” command, or whatever wording you want to use.





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