How can I stop my puppy from biting me? I don't want to give her up but she is hurting me with her teeth.
Dr. Marie replied:
Hi there and thanks for your question.
This is a common problem in puppies and can be frustrating!
Here is what I usually tell my clients about puppies who bite.
Puppies usually bite in order to get attention. And, unfortunately we usually give in to them! Most owners, when nipped at will either stroke the dog and say soothing things like, "that's ok...don't bite..." or grab the muzzle in an attempt for punishment. However, to the pup the grabbing of the muzzle makes it sort of like a game. They often don't get the idea that they are being punished.
So I tell my clients to try the "OUCH" game. Dogs learn by repetition so you have to do this several times for the dog to get it. When she bites you, say "OUCH" in a really loud voice and then stand up and walk away from the dog. Even if she is hanging off your pantleg you don't give her any attention at all. After a couple of minutes (or when she has been calm for a little while) go back and start petting her again. The moment she bites you, repeat the process again.
You may need to do this multiple times each day, but eventually she should learn that she loses your attention when she bites.
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Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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