A recent reader wrote in and asked me to address the cute puppy but very obnoxious puppy syndrome called teething! This JAWS like behavior was driving them all NUTS. As cute as their new ball of fur was and as great as training had been progressing, there seem to be one MAJOR kink. Those needle teeth that latch on to your leg like a viper out of a horror movie. He explained how there perfect first dog would also endure these crazed attacks. They all have battle wounds. Wearing long sleeve shirts all the time as protection is a must. Trying to explain to coworkers that they were NOT closet heroine addicts became a common dialogue during coffee breaks.
The last straw was when the innocent new little angel or “devil dog” began to show his teeth at their first dog. This new three-months old terror was ruling the house. After reading a ton of information on how to deal with this puppy nipping, he wrote in to ask me to please explain what to do about this nipping, biting and horrible behavior!
Many people try to dominate this puppy urge. This is bad. Dominating a puppy that’s teething can actually make the behavior worse. Information on how to deal with this behavior is often incorrect and can vary from muzzle grabs to teaching the owner to scream ouch. None of these techniques are really effective or very realistic to many lifestyles. For example, children are not going to implement the word “ouch” to effectively train a puppy. Oh they may say the word, but it’s not going to help train your puppy not to nip. Besides, teething is a biological development of a puppy, not a bad behavior. Although it should be redirected. Here’s how…
1. What often happens is that people try to cuddle with their wired for sound, squirmy, hyper, needing exercise puppy. Wrong. Play with him, tire him out, first, then cuddle. Puppies have short spurts of energy not dissimilar to human toddlers and meeting those exercise needs will help.Timing is everything. The key here is to realize that teething and biting for a 10 week-old puppy is only a phase during development. Puppy’s loose their teeth from the age of 3 months to 6 months of age.
2. Get the proper teething chew bones. Bully Sticks are the best. Period. They look like long sticks, easy to hold (so you don’t get bitten) while they chew and they will leave everyone else alone. www.bestbullysticks.com
3. Don’t reprimand this developmental stage. Redirect it. If your puppy is pestering your older dog, you need to separate them for a short time and allow your puppy to chew a teething toy behind a baby gate. Give your older more mature dog some relief!
Your puppy needs are to run around, chew in order to loosen those baby teeth, and learn some boundaries while being trained. Often when I teach or go into a private clients home to train, I notice many toys but rarely the right type of teething chew bones. Most people have millions of toys lying around, but rarely the right teething chew bones. That’s the key to soothing that savage beast. I’ll have much more on this exciting topic in the months to come. Remember, no matter what breed of dog, puppy teething is only a developmental phase.
Reprimanding a puppy for teething is wrong! Distracting your puppy with giant stuffed toys and lots of exercise, creating a space for him to chew and loving and bonding with him when he is calm will ultimately create the behavior you want, until his adult teeth grow in.
P.S. Always check with your vet first about which chew toys are best for your dog.