Puppy Biting -  Your Questions Answered
Puppy Biting Problem - Stop This Early Sign Of Aggression Before It's to Late.....

Below are questions from puppy owners like yourself.  These conversations have been collected
from a popular
Dog Training Forum where a team of professional Dog Trainers offer their advice
and answer your personal questions.     
"Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer"
A Biting Shih Tzu
can be a major

You bring home your little
bundle of joy and discover
that his or her only mission
is to rip your finger clean
off your hand....
This kind of behavior can indicate an early sign of aggression.  It's important to follow Proper Puppy
methods to prevent potential problems as they become an adult dog.  

"Anne Has a Biting Shih Tzu Puppy That She Needs Help With!"...

Anne Writes:

I purchased a Shih Tzu Puppy when he was 8 weeks old from a breeder. Now he is 11 weeks old and my vet
tells me that he is trying to dominate me. I am trying to teach him not to bite but when I use the stern "no" or
"yelp", or even when I shut his mouth, he will lean back then lunge at me with another bite. He doesn't seem to
know how to play "with his mouth closed". I can't pet him gently without him trying to bite. What should I do? I don't
feel good crating him ALL the time.

Dog Training Advisor Responds:

You need to act more like his mama would than his litter mates would. :Yelping" and ignoring is how a litter mate
would react. If telling him "no" in a firm, growling voice is not enough you can put a micro-prong collar (available
on the Internet) on him and fasten a tab lead to both rings to soften corrections somewhat. Then the instant he
even thinks about biting, give him a leash correction (the prong collar imitates his mama's correction bite)geared
to his age, size, and temperament. Also, put him on a basic nilif program and have him earn everything by
obeying a simple command first. At this young age, assist him to obey if necessary.

In addition to the corrections, have an appropriate chew toy to offer him after you correct him. Then, if he
chooses to bite and chew on the toy, praise him.

When you try to pet him where, on his body do you attempt to pet him? You, as his Alpha, should be able to pet
him anywhere but, if he's very dominant, he may not like anyone petting him on his head or back. While working
on this problem see if petting him on his side or chest makes a difference. And if he tries to bite, correct him.

Anne Replies:

It doesn't matter where I try to pet him, as soon as he sees or even feels a hand, he starts to bite. It's almost as if
biting is play for him. Yet every time I try to give him a chew toy, he reaches for the hand that gives it to him.
When I praise him for chewing the right toy, he looks at me at comes over to bite me instead. The only time he's
not biting is when he's sleeping or eating his food. If I try to crate him or confine him in any way, he begins to
bark, yelp, whine and cry. I don't want him to be a barker so I try to avoid that.

I'm working on his sit, and it's going well and then he'll lick my hands and I say kisses. But once the taste of treat
is gone, he goes for biting again.

I have 4 girls under 6 years of age that are getting nipped at all the time as well. I want them enjoy our Shih-Tzu
but not if he's nipping.

Another Dog Training Advisor Responds:

I find that scruffing usually does it for puppies. It takes varying degrees of discomfort (from a growl to a light pinch
to lifting the front feet off the ground and shaking gently while growling) for puppies to realize that hey, you aren't
joking around. I can do an actual dog growl, so most of the puppies will listen to that. I find it works better than the
yelp, because the yelp indicates surprise, while the growl says "don't do this again." And that's the message you
want to convey. Sometimes a puppy will yelp, but then go right back to a behavior. I ignore the yelp and increase
the pressure on him the next correction because he was just surprised. The last-case scenario is to place the
puppy on its back and hold it there until it is still. I get away with this because they're small dogs and do almost
no damage, and I do it infrequently, but when it's needed, it works.

Feel kinda stupid saying this, but if I'm alone in the store and I have some puppies out, if they're really getting on
my nerves, I will give them varying degrees of correction...and then I'll snarl at them. Immediately after they back
off, I relax, talk to them and pet them because they did what I wanted and now I'm happy.

(I only act doggish really because I'm dealing with a lot of puppies, usually in groups of 3-5, and I don't have the
time to work with each one individually, nor can I guarantee a particular puppy will behave the exact same for the
buyer that it does for me. It's just easier to for me work with them 'as a dog' to teach them manners, but I also
remember to work with them as a human, getting them used to brushing, holding, nail-clipping, and general
bonding. Oh, and I'm immature to a point too.)

Sorry to ramble. Anyway, the micro is a good option, but for this point, I would try using the scruff shake/growling
in varying degrees until he realizes that he's going to be uncomfortable each time he nips. It's not "training with
pain," it's simply doing what another dog would do and what the positive-only people neglect to mention: in order
to stop a behavior, sometimes there has to be a little bit of discomfort. Humans can get away with emotional
discomfort and guilt with each other, but dogs don't have that capability...they live by the law of teeth and
dominance and THEN affection. AKA "[correction] Stop that, that's inappropriate! [dog stops] Good boy! That's
all I wanted you to do is stop...now here's an appropriate behavior."

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