Dog Nipping, Biting And Gnawing On Your Last Nerve

My boyfriend and I just got a Siberian Husky puppy named Frye. He’s almost 9 months old and we’ve had him for 2 months prior. Up until now, he has been well-behaved, but recently he has started biting when he gets excited. At first, the bites were far a part and soft, but lately they’ve become more frequent and have started to hurt. We have tried various ways to discourage this behavior, such as giving him more toys to focus his attention on or giving him chew toys whenever he starts to bite, to channel the behavior. So far, nothing seems to work. It’s getting to the point where we’re afraid that he might hurt others. Frye is very well socialized when it comes to other dogs, but we live in a residential area where there are a lot of children. Our main concern is that when others try to play with him, he might get over excited and bite them. We love our dog and we want to improve for his sake. What can we do to nip this behavior completely?

Danni and George.

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Hi Danni and George,

Thanks for the great question! Okay, I totally understand. Many people with teenage pup’s often feel the urge to pass out body gear with helmets to all guests wanting to say hello to their now BIG puppy. The behavior you’re describing is obnoxious for sure and yet solvable! Redirecting such behavior means creating a little structure within your daily routine, reassessing chew toys, re-organizing how your dog gets exercise, and where,when and how you play with him.

The solution to this issue lies more with you understanding how to redirect this behavior, where to apply structure and when to initiate play and how to still make things fun.

Here are some my Paws For A Minute® Dog Training Tips

1. Apply structured exercise times and separate them from walks.

Lots of people walk their dogs and play with them without intent. They can often mix up concepts of play while walking for exercise that in turn accelerate hyper behaviors. Where, how and when you play with your dog create reactions and sets triggers.

Example: Try isolating extreme exercise prior to socialization with people and guests. In other words,  play turbo fetch first, then go on a walk.  Teaching your dog to play fetch is an awesome way to keep hyper activity targeted on the movement of a ball. The key to keeping a dogs interest is only use on special ball that comes out ONLY for fetch. Build slowly to the amount of throws daily.

2. Do a re-check of his chew toys.

Example: 90% of the time puppy parents have zillions of toys for their dogs but have a distinction between play toys and actually chew bones. If a toy is lying on the ground or in the yard, overtime it becomes boring. Dogs of a certain age need to chew, not just play. Mouthy behaviors can come from frustration and ill-timed activities. Play is often induced by movement and voice inflection and a chew toy may be tossed, but the activity of your dog actually chewing on it gets lost. Many people end up playing with their dogs with chew toys and boredom of the toy sets in quickly. The act of chewing on something needs to be isolated for your puppy by creating a “chew your chew bone” time! Perhaps in a baby gated area, while you are home. This creates an activity for a young teenage dog. Chewing a bully stick, for example, will also help tire him out and give him something to focus on that’s not a toy.

3. Redirect a positive obedience command to greet new people. 

Example: Redirection can mean introducing your dog to new people while on a leash, only as an exercise for a few weeks. The leash helps you guide your dog into a sit and then a stay while being introduced to new people. If he breaks the stay command to jump up the leash can act as a boundary and allow you to say No then quickly reinforce a sit and the positive in what you want out of his behavior. Or practice with people approaching him to do so with a treat. Have them direct your dog to sit and then give him the cookie!

Change will happen overtime. Try all three tips for a few weeks and keep us posted!

Owning Dogs And Holiday Entertaining. 3 Easy Tips To Teaching Dogs Not to Jump on Guests.

Holiday entertaining and dog ownership can mean many things to different people. Dog hair on sofa’s, the wet nose of goosing a guest. For some toy breed owners it may mean passing out ear plugs to mute the sound of the barking, as guests attempt to enter your house. Other young dog masters feel body gear (to block the massive jumping up on guests) to be in order. Party favors of such a nature are not what most people envision when they finally get the dog of their dreams. Matching reality to expectation can sometimes be a long road. So how do you achieve calmly being able to open the front door, greet guests, and not chant NO at your dog? Wait until he’s 15 years old?

All can be elegantly achieved within a few weeks. It just requires a little organization. Front door dog training and a few dog owner tips. A little effort and isolating the area of your lifestyle that’s the trigger to the behavior.  All of these tips can help slowly ease the tension between your dog and you in that particular area in your house.

Paws for a Minute®: Lifestyle

1. Tip: Keep a leash by the front door.

Doing so helps maintain the mayhem. Too easy? Remember, I’m on your side. The leash help you guide your dog into a sit. Gently lifting up on the leash as you say sit, gains eye contact from your dog to you. It changes the whole scope. Yes, eventually you will not need to use the leash, but for now it adds the structure needed. You can practice with no one at the door, a few minutes a day, 2 minutes here and 2 minutes there. Dogs are very routine animals and they LOVE to please you so you can make it a fun game. Why not treats, instead? Well, for this exercise, I like to use your voice and praise for sitting as the treat.

2. Tip: Place a jar of treats outside the front door.

Here is where the treats can be be added. A jar can be just out side the front door and have a family member or friend  ring the door as a guest would. Practicing the bell can help simulate the sound and train your dog to focus on you at the same time. Dogs don’t bark when the phone rings, right? So by simulating the sound desensitizes your dog. As the guest ( friend ) walks in have them gesture the letter “J” with the hand holding the treat. THis is the hand signal for sit, as they walk in. This conditions your dog to greet your guest, get a command, sit as a greeting and get a treat. If he jumps up, you get to redirect him to sit because he is on a leash.

3. Tip. Every time you come home, greet your dog silently.

Yes, no voice. Zip it.  No, of course it’s not mean. Pup’s respond like crazy to voice inflection and it encourages them to jump! You can show love in MANY different ways. When you come in the door, crouch down and silently give your dog a massage as a hello. This will teach him to see you and expect a slow massage instead of a hyper hello. 

All of these tips together will help condition your dog in a few weeks to be less hyper at the front door, just in time for the holidays.