Regardless of whether a puppy does it softly or firmly, or if it breaks the skin, when he nips at you, it’s very annoying. It’s a habit you can’t ignore or he’ll just persist. This is a bad habit that must be broken. Puppies often start nipping as very young pups while playing with others in the litter. If the nip is too hard, there will usually be a little yelp by the one that got nipped. If it was a strong nip, the victim will ignore the bad puppy for a while and the dam may also do the same.
Puppies know (from the time they’re born) that they live together in a pack. Their first pack is their mother and their siblings. So, if the pack ignores his nipping, he’ll quickly learn that it’s a bad habit. He doesn’t want to be excluded from his pack. This ban will only last a few minutes and then he can play again. However, if he repeats the bad behaviour, he’ll get banished by his pack, again and again, until he gets the message that he shouldn’t nip. When a puppy leaves his mother and siblings for a new home, he’ll still live in a pack but it will be very different. This can take a while before he understands that. There may be other animals in the new home as well as one or more humans and they comprise his new pack. If he tries to nip you or somebody else in the pack, you need to ignore him temporarily. Eventually he’ll get the message that this new pack won’t accept nipping as a good habit.
Here are a few pointers to help you teach him that nipping isn’t acceptable behaviour:
• Say “NO!” loudly and firmly. • Move into an authoritative position. For example, if you’re both sitting on a sofa, put him on the floor. If you’re both seated on the floor, stand up or sit on a chair. You’re the one in charge and you’re demonstrating this physically.
• Ignore your puppy 100%! Make sure everybody in the house does the same. If they don’t do it, then he’ll simply go to somebody else if you don’t let him play with you. Nobody can speak to him, look at him, or even flinch if he barks or whines. Don’t even talk to each other for the brief ban so he doesn’t think you’re talking to him.
• This period can last 1-10 minutes as it can take that long before he even realises he has been banned from receiving your attention. Once he does understand, he may whine, walk around or bark, indicating that your treatment is working.
• After five minutes, turn and speak to him but don’t touch him or pick him up. • Once another minute has passed, and he doesn’t try to nip you, move to the same position you were in when he nipped you.
• Don’t act happy but be yourself. If he doesn’t nip you, then get a little excited, pet him and praise him. • If he nips again at any time, reposition yourself and the household needs to again banish him. • You would usually need to go through this process four or five times before he really associates banning with nipping. • If he persists and constantly nips at your ankles, place him in the gated area for some “time out.”
It’s very common for a puppy to grab your clothes, generally socks, pants legs or a sleeve, grip tightly and tug. You may tell him “NO!” and that will make him let go and then try it again a minute later. It’s a bad habit and he just craves your attention. However, it needs to stop quickly before it becomes a permanent habit. It’s necessary to understand that many puppies have no idea how to communicate their needs; things such as being thirsty or hungry, needing to go to the bathroom or to bed. Before scolding him for tugging at you, ensure that you understand when he wants any of these things. Once his needs are met, if he keeps tugging, then you’ll know he’s just craving your attention.
These tips will help you break that habit:
• Ignore him 100%. If he tugs and gets no reaction from you, he won’t continue. He’ll eventually find something more enjoyable to do. So when you ignore him, anybody else in the home must also do it if he tries to get their attention. Don’t talk, don’t look and don’t react to him in any way.
• Time frame. Most puppies won’t realise you’re ignoring them straightaway. However, if you haven’t reacted for 5-10 minutes, they’ll start to get the message, especially if you do it every time he tries to tug on you. It may take a week or two before he finally grasps the idea that tugging doesn’t get him anywhere. Even then, he may relapse occasionally so be consistent in the way you behave when he does tug your clothes.
• Provide a distraction. However, be careful or he’ll think he’s getting a reward for tugging on you. Try to get somebody else to call him away. If you’re home alone, slowly move to a toy, show him the toy and then toss it a few feet away and he’ll usually go and play with it.
Copyright Pomeranian.org. All Rights Reserved.