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My wife and I are new puppy owners. We've had a 3 month old male miniature schnauzer for a week. The potty training is going ok, he's improved with walking on a leash, and he's even learned to sit on command already. The problem we have is his biting is out of control.

He bits our feet, ankles, pant lets, arms, pretty much anything he can latch on to. We've tried just about everything. We've tried the yelling to mimic a puppy, acted like he's really hurting us and made our hand go limp, ignored him until he stops (he doesn't), try to get him to bit a toy instead, but none of it is working.

He just ignores us when we do the high pitched yelp or say owe and act hurt.

He doesn't play with toys much at all so it's not like we are playing with him with a toy and then he bites us and we can ignore him until he bites the toy again. A lot of times he just gets too excited and all he wants to do is bite us. If we tell him no he gets even more worked up, and if we ignore him the biting just gets worse and worse. He's even drawn a little blood on a few occasions.

It seems easy to just ignore him or make him use a toy and then praise him when he plays with it, but what are we supposed to do if we won't play with a toy and doesn't care that we ignore him?

Even if we leave the room for a minute and come back he just bites us again as soon as we get back.
 

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My advice would be to enroll him into puppy classes (where he'll learn from his own species what's acceptable and what not) and with an experienced reward-based behaviorist/trainer.

A week isn't all that long and it's still a young pup so with a bit of canine and human help and some luck the problem might take care of itself.
 

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Puppy class is a good idea, but NOT a puppy class where he plays with other puppies! The object of puppy class is for the dog to get used to being with you around other dogs and people (that is what socializing is). The dogs do NOT play together in a well run puppy class. Puppy class is the first step to obedience and is more about training the handler than the puppy.

This will help you to deal with and to redirect the biting.
 

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Biting is a very normal puppy behavior, and you will probably have to deal with it for MONTHS yet before he completely learns to keep his mouth off you.

When puppy bites you, redirect to a toy and praise him for using it. If he still insists on biting you, get up and walk away. Shut a door, step over a baby gate, whatever, just remove yourself. Ignore him for 5 minutes or so. Then try again. Rinse and repeat. Yes, he will still bite you when you return. It seriously takes MONTHS. But the bites will get softer, he'll learn to control himself, and although it is slow you will see improvement.

If he won't play with the toy, still just remove yourself. He has a choice: Choose a toy over your hand, or there won't be any play at all. Also, sometimes young pups aren't that interested in toys because they don't know that they're there to be played with, so it may take time for him to learn about toys and such.
 

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3GSD4IPO

Thanks for clarifying the puppy class thing.

I suggested the puppy classes with the scenario in the back of my mind that another pup might send the culprit a certain look or something signalling disapproval of the misbehavior, but you're right...it's more about training the humans than the puppy.
 

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I just wrote out a fairly detailed response for the op, and then somehow it went poof and disappeared. Oh well. Anyway here is the much abbreviated version.

Try a flirt pole.

Thumbs up for the puppy class suggestion.

Not a fan of other pups setting examples and boundaries.
 

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You might be able to find a puppy play class, where the puppies get lots of play time and interaction, as well as timeouts if they get too excited.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info. We have our first puppy class next weekend so hopefully that helps. It’s at PetSMart and from what I’ve heard there won’t be any play time with the other puppies. We are also going to look into sending to a puppy day care for a couple random days once he’s had all his shots so he gets to play with other puppies and hopefully learn some bite inhibition.

I know it’s a slow process but we haven’t seen any improvement with his biting habits. We have tried EVERYTHING and nothing gets him to stop biting. We even covered our socks and hands in bitter apple spray that doesn’t bother him at all.

He still isn’t all that interested in any of his toys, he bites them but only for a few seconds and then loses interest. We’ve tried a variety of toys.
 

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Puppy class is a good idea, but NOT a puppy class where he plays with other puppies! The object of puppy class is for the dog to get used to being with you around other dogs and people (that is what socializing is). The dogs do NOT play together in a well run puppy class.
I'm just going to chime in and say that it isn't the worst to have puppies play with each other (as they do in my puppy class). I don't think it's for all puppies. But it could be a fun, enriching, and positive experience for all parties and it's a great way for owners to learn about body language. I can personally agree that I the way I raise MY dogs, I don't let my puppy play with other puppies (except my friends') and prefer socializing with mature, social dogs. But in the real world, average owners are going to let their puppies run up to many more things than I did, so better that they learn. Here are some rules in my classes:

-Owners are not allowed to moderate. I moderate interactions. People learn, with their 8-16 week old puppies in my class, that growling is not a bad thing and not to punish it. They learn that not playing is a not a bad thing. I'd rather they learn it now rather these crucial facts as soon as possible, as it will affect how they treat their puppies moving forward.

-I use pens to separate puppies into appropriate play groups or play pairs. I am constantly talking about body language and good matches. Letting puppies quickly tell each other off (a growl, a quick snap) is okay and I use it as a learning moment. Puppies who are hiding and repeatedly telling other puppies to back off aren't having a good time, so I separate those puppies to help them become more confident. If a puppy is too inappropriate, or just doesn't have a good match that class, I have no problem separating that puppy and having the owner reward for calm and focus for the remainder of the class. Socialization and training are still happening! So from the get go, owners are watching how I use management tools and they are learning it's okay if their dog doesn't play with every single dog.

-IF things get too rowdy, I gently interrupt by clapping my hands to get the puppies' attentions, use a squeaky toy, or in the rare instance, a gentle collar grab to move a puppy towards the treat in my other hand. I have NEVER had an injury or hurt feelings in my class, from danes to chihuahuas. Owners learn how to calmly and effectively deescalate situations rather than go in and scold dogs. They learn that escalation isn't about aggression.

-Play time is interrupted frequently and with easy training/handling sessions. This is to give the puppies a break, bring those excitement levels down, and learn about some new topics. I encourage owners to reclaim their puppies by doing a collar grab and luring with a treat. This prevents owners from instinctively picking their puppy up for everything.

-I do not do skill training in puppy class. Owners are allowed to tell their puppies to sit, but I don't care if the puppy doesn't know a single word at this age. And if owners are insisting a sit (repeating, yanking, forcing), I will have those owners stop and reward good offered behaviors instead (99.9% of the time, the puppies end up sitting for them with this method). I prioritize socialization, bite inhibition, setting good habits, positive relationships, body language, handling, basic leash skills.

-NO puppies interact until all puppies in the room are calm and quiet. And again, we do this with 100% capturing and shaping. I don't call it that in class because the terminology isn't important at this stage. But it's amazing to get a room with 16 puppies quiet without hearing a single owner issue a 'command'. And it is totally possible. I have had barky puppies but I have never failed to have a room full of puppies, any number, calm down and be quiet. This teaches the owner the importance of rewarding good behaviors as they happen, and it helps build calmness in the face of distractions. That good behavior is also rewarded by the release, in which the puppies get to interact.

-I do emphasize the importance of socializing with well mannered adult dogs, and that puppies are not the best at teaching each other to be socially appropriate. However, it's not like they totally lack the skill either.

-I have no problems redirecting a puppy to a different class if it is too inappropriate with all the other puppies. It's very, very rare that this happens, but not all puppies are made for this environment. My Dutch certainly would have had a great time body slamming and pinning other puppies, which is why I didn't put him through my own class. But the thing is, these are pet owners who want their puppies to play with things and grow up to be companions. So I say, let them play! With rules! And learn what good interactions look like! And be okay if your puppy doesn't play!

-I can't emphasize enough how important body language is. Seeing and doing is more powerful than hearing. Which means, I'd rather run a good play group and SHOW people how to interrupt, demonstrate body language as it happens, rather than just give them a handout and tell them. They won't truly understand until they see it. Because the fact is, they WILL let their puppies do things I don't recommend (like take them to a dog park). But at the very least, maybe they will know a little more.

-Class sizes are small. 16 was... a crazy class. It went great! But the average is around 6 per class. If the class is large, I get an assistant (who is also trained to read body language and manage play groups).

-I work in a shelter. So not only do we want to make good matches, but we want to be the leading resource for adopters at the most affordable cost. We have four CPDTs on staff (proud to say it!). I do our group classes (and privates). We want to get puppies off to a good start whether they are from us or not!

-Vaccination checks and maintaining health and safety are important too. In the last... 10 year or so? (I have not worked here that long). We have NEVER had a puppy get sick from class.

And if they want skill training, more like obedience training, I encourage them to sign up for the basic obedience course. I do welcome young puppies into that class with the expectation that they won't have the same attention span. Dogs do not get to interact in that class.
 

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Thanks for the info. We have our first puppy class next weekend so hopefully that helps. It’s at PetSMart and from what I’ve heard there won’t be any play time with the other puppies. We are also going to look into sending to a puppy day care for a couple random days once he’s had all his shots so he gets to play with other puppies and hopefully learn some bite inhibition.

I know it’s a slow process but we haven’t seen any improvement with his biting habits. We have tried EVERYTHING and nothing gets him to stop biting. We even covered our socks and hands in bitter apple spray that doesn’t bother him at all.

He still isn’t all that interested in any of his toys, he bites them but only for a few seconds and then loses interest. We’ve tried a variety of toys.
Perfect example.

OP was told not to go to a puppy class that allows play, and is instead looking into daycare... Where owners will certainly NOT learn about body language and rewarding good behaviors. Where staff may or may not be trained in reading dogs and proper handling, and where play groups can be dozens of dogs in size.

I do not recommend daycare for puppies this age unless they are very, very well run by knowledgeable staff. I certainly would expect a small dog play group so that your dog won't be traumatized by larger dogs/puppies. Petsmart can be hit or miss. I am not saying my classes are perfect or the standard. Not at all. But if I had to choose between Petsmart (very generally speaking), or a puppy class run by a CPDT, KPA, PMCT, where boundaries are set and it's not just puppy-free-for-all... I'd go with the latter.

ahitchcox, to address your main issue... You need to create a management space for your puppy. This can be a penned area, a crate, a gated area, etc. When your puppy gets too bitey, put him in his management space and ignore him for 10-15 minutes. It will not fix the problem overnight, but he will learn. Yes, 10-15 minutes, not 30 seconds. And be as neutral/boring as possible when you put him in, and when you let him out. If and when he bites toys, praise and reward him with some treats. Yes, he may no longer be interested in toys when treats appear. But at least you are rewarding him, however briefly, for going for toys. Lastly, have a SPECIAL toy to use for redirection. It never works to just pick up one of the dozen toys lying on the ground... the novelty has long worn off. In my house, chew toys are on the ground. Fun toys (tugs, squeakers, balls, etc) are not free, and the dog only sees them in training. This makes the toy valuable.
 

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I do not recommend dog day care OR dog parks. Ever. Period.

I do not recommend puppies playing with each other in puppy class either.

The object (IMO) of puppy class is for owners to learn how to start the foundation for focus and how to build a relationship with the puppy. On those two things hang the rest of training and enjoying your dog.
 

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Thirty years ago or more, Dr. Ian Dunbar created Sirius training as a foundation for puppy classes and play sessions. If you can find someone qualified that knows what you're talking about, that should be a good investment.
 

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I do not recommend dog day care OR dog parks. Ever. Period.

I do not recommend puppies playing with each other in puppy class either.

The object (IMO) of puppy class is for owners to learn how to start the foundation for focus and how to build a relationship with the puppy. On those two things hang the rest of training and enjoying your dog.
Your perspective is from a different world of dog training and ownership, but your opinions are valid. As are the opinions of pet owners who might want to have their puppies play. And puppy play does not equate with ending up with a dog that is not focused or lacking in a positive relationship with their people.

Dog ownership is not as black and white as you'd like it to be, perhaps. I am not a fan of daycares personally, but there are some really well-run ones out there. And I know of some instances where a good daycare has saved the lives of dogs with separation anxiety, or significantly helped pet owners during long work days. I am not telling you that you need to approve of daycare or anything. But I am offering another perspective so that the OP (and other pet owners) can see the grey areas.
 

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Your perspective is from a different world of dog training and ownership, but your opinions are valid. As are the opinions of pet owners who might want to have their puppies play. And puppy play does not equate with ending up with a dog that is not focused or lacking in a positive relationship with their people.
I'll do you one better - it isn't even restricted to 'pet' people (and I find it bizarre to realize I am no longer a 'pet person' but a performance - and successful performance - person).

No day care for me. Dog park exactly *once*. But playing with other puppies and dogs? Absolutely. He plays with my dogs, he plays with friends dogs, he has had play-dates. Focus issues? Zero. To the degree of retrieving past a child running toward him (and he loves kids) outside the ring at an agility trial (so dogs and people everywhere), or being able to successfully work when in a PetSmart line to have a photo taken with santa, and a dog soliciting play right behind him, two kids in front of him). Come to that Kylie did the same thing, but she's not 'doggy' the way Kiran is, and is apathetic toward children so it really doesn't matter.

You do not need to isolate your puppy or dog to get focus and relationship. I mean nothing wrong with 'no other dogs ever' either, really, but come on. It's not a black and white scenario and neither is the outcome. Dogs aren't idiots who are incapable of being able to figure out when the time to work is, and when they can cut loose and play. Just don't teach the dog to expect to play with EVERY dog they encounter, and you're probably fine.
 

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Schnauzers are dogs that were bred to tenaciously and persistently hunt vermin. Despite their size, they have centuries of selectively chosen genetics telling them to go-go-go and grab at pretty much anything that moves, and a puppy, which is pure canine id, has little impulse control to inhibit that drive. I don't think it's exaggeration to say that 90% of your problem will almost certainly be solved simply by TIME. Minis reach adulthood pretty quickly compared to bigger dogs, and pups will grow out of these behaviors as long as they aren't encouraged.

In the meantime, make a puppy jail (gate off an area or whatever) so you can get a break from being chewed on as necessary for your sanity.

I second the suggestion of a flirt pole. Also make sure the dog is getting plenty of mental and physical exercise.

Puppy class is a good idea, because you learn about dog handling, and the dog gets appropriate socialization, and it's never too early to start on manners, and it's a good energy drain for the pup if nothing else...but for bitey terrier puppies, the surest cure really is just time to mature, and consist expectations.
 

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My schnoodle puppy is like that but getting better. He has an older brother who he jumps on and bites constantly. He also bites my feet and pants legs. This may sound cruel but I had to resort to a spray water bottle just mainly for the fighting. It works wonderfully. I don’t spray in his face - just anywhere on his body. Now I just have to show him the bottle and he stops. He didn’t like me for a few days but is much better behaved now. I think the biting is just a teething thing. His is getting a lot better
 
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