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Playful Biting

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My rescue dog ( she's about a year old now and has been with us 4 months) sometimes bites really hard when she is playing with me. At first the gentle nips or mouthing were harmless so I didn't mind, but now, when she gets very excited, rolling on the sofa or on my lap, she bites hard! I have been telling her "No bite" and stop playing with her for a moment -- perhaps I should put her on the floor or walk away? She's so cute I can't resist when she wants to play.
post #2 of 11
Put her on the floor and dont play with her for a little while and keep doing it until she figures out that biting is not playing.
post #3 of 11
Exactly how are you playing with her? Are you rough and tumble with her?. If you are then she is treating you like another dog. Stop using your body to play with and only use toys and teach her to drop the toy when asked. Also never end the play time with her with the toy.
post #4 of 11
Most dogs respond to the yelp and ignore method.

Try "yelping" in a loud high-pitched voice when he bites. As soon as he lets go, turn away from him, and refuse to play any longer. This mimics the behaviour that his pack-mates would use when he gets out of line. Before long, your puppy will learn that using his mouth on his people cause his people to turn away from him.

Or you can also try:

"Trade". Trade me that arm for this toy, and you'll recieve plenty of praise when your chewing is redirected to an appropriate outlet.

This can evolve into a more serious behaviour so "nip" it in the bud now.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Bullit
Also never end the play time with her with the toy.
Not sure I understand this? Do you mean I should take the toy away for a while before we stop playing?
post #6 of 11
No,when play time is done you always have the toy. Put it away until it is playtime again. That puts you higher up in the pecking order in the dog's mind. You decide when and for how long the dog gets to play with the toy. That also helps with the nipping. Dogs will not nip the leader. If this behavior has been going on for awhile it may get worst before it gets better. A dog will also nip to get attention,which is also what a leader dog would do. You may have to rethink how you interact with her and what signals you are sending her.
post #7 of 11
Here are some other likewise tips to cut out the pseudo dominant behaviour:

1. Always go through doorways first. Make your dog wait.
2. Do not let her onto the couch or bed. These are places reserved for the pack leader.
3. Greet other dogs and people first, showing your approval. Do not let your dog greet first and determine your reaction based on hers.
4. Do not play tug-of-war. Whenever the dog wins, she is establishing his dominance over you.
5. Do not let your dog stand over you and do not place yourself physically lower than your dog.
6. Do not let your dog stare you in the eye. Don't break your gaze, but distract her from hers with a toy or a command.
7. Teach your dog that nothing is free. From feeding to putting on a leash, you should make your dog perform a command. Even making her sit will do. This shows you control every situation.
post #8 of 11
What would concern me is: if her biting isn't stopped now, she may decide to give someone else a good stiff nip someday, and that someone else may not be as understanding as you, and you could find yourself in some trouble. That happened with my shepherd/wolf mix many years ago, and I almost got sued.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the good advice. She's already a little better because over the last day or two I stop playing when she nips. I will work on the dominance thing. She's such a scaredy pup with everyone else that it's hard to believe she's trying to be dominant, but I know you guys are right!
post #10 of 11
Have you thought about going to basic obedience training with your dog? That can develop a stronger bond between you and also give you more advice/info from the trainer and other dog owners. Our puppy Alexis whom we believe to be a dalmatian mix of some sort is currently in puppy preschool. I really think highly of her trainer, she also teaches agility and both basic/intermediate training along with agility. We learned this week about teaching our puppies to 'watch me' where we will take a treat, let the puppy sniff the treat and then put the treat inbetween our eyes and once they make eye contact with us give them the treat and say good watch. We do not let our puppy onto the furniture without asking permission first where she will stand beside the furniture until we say OK and she can get up. We do not let her eat before us and do not let her go thru a doorway, etc before us. As far as the nipping goes, IMO giving them a toy (trading) works the best along with saying no biting and if they continue then you can softly hold their muzzle, make eye contact and tell them no biting....that is just what we do with our puppy. Our puppy still gets up on the furniture w/out asking, etc so we are still learning!! But thru the training and starting to be consistent..we should be on the right track.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. We had started obedience training but stopped for the holidays and will recommence this weekend. I have been going through her commands with her recently and she is more attentive and calmer -- still nippy but improving all the time.
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