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My 8 week old goldendoodle won't stop
nipping! We've tried a few things and they don't seem to be
working...any tips would be great!!

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Comment by Linda Rogers on November 7, 2010 at 10:27am
Nipping and Biting - Here's help from our Dallas, TX expert. Please
contact Stacy if you are in the DFW area and need help training your

Stacy Greer
Dog Trainer, Behavior Therapist/Owner
Adventures in Canine Training, Inc.
office: 214-731-3191, ext 3
Canine Development
Puppy Nipping: The Truth Behind the Madness

First evaluate if your puppy is over-stimulated. Biting is often the result of the puppy being out and playing too long and
over-tired. Just like newborn babies, puppies can become over-stimulated very, very quickly. Often puppy owners feel
the need to have them out and romping around for long periods in attempts to “wear them out” or “get out their energy”
in hopes that this will tire the puppy out. This often backfires as the puppy is over-stimulated, not tired out. Puppies that
are over-stimulated will usually act out with unapproved behaviors.

Follow these simple steps to keep puppy stable and not over-stimulated:

Keep puppy out of his crate for short periods at a time—15-20 minutes maximum from the age of 8-14 weeks,
20-35 minutes from the age of 14-18 weeks and then work your way up as puppy ages.
When puppy is out of crate be sure he is mentally engaged during “play time”—give puppy a bone to chew on
or interact with him yourself with an appropriate toy, or stuff a toy with his meal that he has to work to get the
food out of. Do not allow him to romp freely and unsupervised to get into trouble!
After play time is over take puppy to potty and place in crate—Be sure to put puppy in his crate after the
time listed above for his age. Allow puppy to fuss but to not respond, he will quickly go to sleep and you may
leave him in there for at least an hour, if not two hours. Be sure to take him straight outside after he awakens
and repeat the process.
When you have not allowed your puppy to keep from becoming over-tired and/or over-stimulated and he has begun to bite
and nip, what should you do to stop him? Follow these steps exactly as they are laid out in order to stop this behavior.

Below is a list of things you want to do in order to teach your puppy that biting is inappropriate.

1. Yell! & Time Outs. When puppies are with their pack and bite too hard, the other pup will yelp or snap back.
While you cannot actually snap like a dog – you can make a loud sound that will tell the puppy—Ow! That hurt!
When your pup places his teeth on you, whether gently or not-so-gently immediately yell, “OWWWW!”, look him in
the face, say, “That hurt!” in an angry tone and then stomp out of the room. Slam a door behind you. Leave a
real impression that you will leave if the pup acts this way. Stay away for at least 2 minutes. Upon your return
just calmly sit back down. If it happens again, do the same behavior. This must be practiced each time the pup
uses his/her teeth on you. If walking away doesn’t work or is not possible then immediately following your
yelping take the puppy and place him in his crate. Do this silently and calmly. Simply take him to his crate, put
him in, shut the door and walk away. The only thing puppy hears is your yelping the second his teeth meet your
hand, feet, clothes, etc and then you are silent from then on, even upon putting him in his crate and walking
off—do not say, “No! No! Bad dog!”

2. Toy Focus. Teach your pup early on that their teeth should only be on toys not hands, feet, clothing, etc. Play
with your puppy only with his toys. Only play with your dog with a toy in your hand and encourage him to take
the toy. Should he redirect his teeth to your hand, or something else inappropriate, follow step 1 exactly as it

3. Freeze Things. Remember when your pup is 4 and 7 months of age he will most likely be in the middle of the
teething process (losing those sharp puppy teeth). Be sure your pup has lots of things to chew on. Tie a knot in
a strip of old towel, wet it and froze it for a good gum rubbing toy. Or even soak your rope toy in chicken broth
and freeze. Also, freeze the pup’s food and anything that you can think of! If you can freeze most anything the
pup puts in his/her mouth you will find the teething to lessen much quicker and easier.

Adventures in Canine Training, Inc.
Copyright© 2008
DO NOT do any of the following or this behavior is sure to continue and/or escalate . . .

• [DO NOT] Grab puppy’s muzzle & say, “no bite!”—This does not work, contrary to what some books or
trainers may say (sadly many books suggest that you do this but it is not effective.) Puppies want attention.
You sitting there doesn’t remove puppy’s valued object—you! If you take the valued object away (you) then you
have punished the puppy.
• [DO NOT] Wait for puppy to bite a few times before correcting.—The absolute very second the puppy’s teeth
touch human skin (or clothes) step 1 needs to be implemented from above. Do not wait even 2 seconds. The
“OWWW” needs to be loud and immediate followed by the other suggestions in step 1.
• [DO NOT] Pull your hands away quickly out of fear—The puppy will find this as a game and will come at you
seemingly with a vengeance! Start with step 1 above the second puppy begins this behavior.
• [DO NOT] Forget to keep puppy appropriately stimulated—Don’t ignore your puppy’s cues that he is over-
stimulated. Keep your puppy in his crate often in the beginning and keep play time short and mentally engaging
so that your puppy does not become over-stimulated and begin to act out with inappropriate behaviors.

This handout works when followed properly. This behavior is a number one complaint among puppy owners. However,
this behavior can be fixed very quickly when these steps are followed as listed. This behavior can also escalate just as
quickly when the inappropriate measures are taken.
If your puppy continues to bite/nip inappropriately contact your trainer. If your trainer suggests any of the items listed
under the “Do Not do . . . “ then we suggest you find a trainer that has other options for you. This behavior should stop
within days if this handout is followed as laid out.
Don’t hesitate to contact one of the trainers at Adventures in Canine Training, Inc. (AiCT) at any time if you are having
problems. You do not have to be a client of AiCT to contact us for help, we will help any puppy owner that we can!
Comment by Andrea O'Brien on November 1, 2010 at 9:58pm
I think at 8 weeks, pups just want to mouth everything an it happens that their teeth are sharp! For us, we felt the same way! We would just keep repeating 'no bite' and take our hands away and pass her a stuffed toy or chewy thing. She wanted to nip our cat, our fingers etc. Tons of repeat repeat repeat. After she stopped teething it came to an end! Good luck! It does get better. Oh we did give her ice cubes and she loved them...but only when she had her baby teeth. She's not so interested now, at a year old!
Comment by Laurel Aislin on November 1, 2010 at 4:20pm
I think at 8 weeks puppies just nip. Teaching ``off`at this stage may be a good thing. I`m sure your puppy school will be teaching off during the first few weeks if you plan to go that route. It does eventually stop but while the nipping goes on, it hurts!

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