Written and Provided by Snitker Goldens
(Article included in our custom Puppy Packets which go home with each adopting family.)
Puppies will play and mouthe - this comes naturally.
Our Policy on Biting:
With our Snitker Goldens, we have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior and from the very beginning, we correct any attempt puppies make to mouthe or bite our fingers, clothing, shoes, or hair.
We do this by using a small, low growl sound, accompanied by holding the pup gently at the side of the neck and looking into his/her eyes. this is a non-aggressive move and communicates to the puppy that this behavior is unacceptable. As puppies grow, they will continue to want to use their teeth and may be tempted to bite - stay consistent!
There are so many suggestions out there to handle the behavior. Puppy mouthing and biting comes quite naturally and puppies love to chew. Sometimes a high-pitched yelp will work when a puppy bites, as well as turning from the puppy and refusing (and ending) the play on the part of the handler. I have read and been told many different opinions on this topic and feel there are some definite do's and do-not's I would recommend:
I find much like child-raising, where even negative attention can be positive for a puppy; given the right temperament, it is possible for a puppy to even increase the undesired behavior despite the negative attention. Now I know some may claim these suggestions above do work, and they do with some puppies, but in the face of a strong-willed puppy, these things do not work and often times aggravate the situation. With puppy mouthing/biting, I choose:
If the behavior still continues and the biting is becoming more of a problem instead of just normal mouthing and accidental use of teeth - I will use the above correction and pin the puppy down and hold them. This is done just like a mother will do to her pup - if you watch a puppy being corrected by his/her mother - the mother will often use her paw to hold them down and growl at them, sometimes even showing a little teeth. The puppy gets the idea very quickly.
So - if you use this method, do not release the puppy until they are still. If they wiggle and you let them up, you have communicated that they are in charge (they decided when to be released).
This correction may sound harsh, but it is establishing who is in charge and is quite effective and not dramatic if performed correctly. This correction is not meant to use repeatedly. This usually corrects a willful puppy in one or two corrections. If you have not had success with this or the other suggested methods (yelping/turning from puppy), please contact a trainer or a behavior specialist.
If a puppy ever purposely bites a child (or adult, for that matter), this is a huge offense. This behavior of purposely biting is NEVER ACCEPTABLE and I would strongly recommend seeking out a trainer or animal behavior specialist immediately.
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