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Five weeks ago my husband and I adopted our first dog ever. Neither of us had a dog growing up, just cats, and we currently also share our home with three cats. We adopted Hamilton at the local SPCA, who rescued his litter from the euthanasia list at a kill shelter in the south. He was 8 weeks old at the time, and is a dachshund mix. He's 13 weeks now, has been to the vet twice for shots with another appointment in another week and a half, we got him microchipped, and he was neutered before we got him. He seems pretty smart for a dog and has already learned sit, down, paw, touch, and turn around, and is ringing a bell when he needs (/wants) to go out in between his regularly scheduled trips to the yard. He finished his distemper series and the vet said he can go on walks now, and he's been great with walking with a loose leash, adores meeting new people (we have friends over all the time) and is happy to meet other dogs. I do have some concerns about his biting, however, and I'm hoping people can advise me more than what I've read.

I know, all puppies bite. The vet just laughed it off and said he isn't a bad biter for a puppy, but we've tried everything I've read to get him to stop and nothing seems to discourage him. We yelp (I swear he's laughing at us when we do this), stand up and turn away from him, say no, use a squirt bottle, jam toys in his mouth constantly, now that the weather is nice and he can go on walks we've been trying to get his energy out outside but still he's some crazed vampire piranha. It gets worse when he gets overtired or overstimulated, and I just don't know what to do to chill him back out again. I don't want to put him in his pen where he sleeps (he has a crate and bed in the pen that he technically sleeps in - he's just confined to the penned area at night) because I don't want him to feel like being in there is punishment but I'm at a loss for what else to do. He gets all riled up and bites really hard. When you're trying to get away he'll bite ankles and feet. What else can we do that we aren't doing? Is any of this stuff he'll grow out of? I don't think he's an aggressive dog, I think he's just a nut job puppy, but damn those teeth are sharp!

Of course as I'm typing this he's sleeping in my lap like a little angel. :doh:

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I had to reply to let you know your not alone, my little angel is a biter too. I really hope they out-grow it. She has put holes in my clothes cause she thinks that she's playing with me. I am also looking for advice hopefully someone can answer us.
 

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I feel your pain..mine is a little shark as well. Lesson for the day for me was to wear extremely padded bras or I will have no nipples left! LOL
 

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Seriously...my puppy (who is now 10 months) was the same way. It was AWFUL. I actually think I've blocked out most of the first 6 months from my memory because it was that bad. I couldn't even hold her, she was insane. Her teeth were like needles. And she never did this in public, only in my home. Everyone would comment on how wonderful she was and how well-mannered and I'd have to say she was actually a little devil. But she gradually got better. Even now, when she is over-tired, she will mouth my arm, but nothing like before. Now she's a pleasure.
I can't say there's something specific I did to turn her around. I had chew toys galore, 3 other dogs for her to play with, obedience training,I'd stop play, make loud noises, none of it really mattered. She just stopped doing it for the most part. Hang in there.
 

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It's ok to put him in a pen or crate for a timeout when you need a break from it. He won't see it as punishment unless you're yelling at him and stomping around while you do it. If you calmly pick him up and cheerfully say "Ok, I need a break now, here you go." or something to that effect, he may not like being separated from you, but it's not a punishment.

It does sound like you are on the right track with exercise and redirecting him with toys, etc... He should calm down eventually. In the meantime, does he have lots of different things to chew on? Maybe his toys just aren't "hitting the spot" for him. He's going to be teething for a while, so make sure he has lots of different textures to chew on and get used to having something else handy to redirect him from chewing on you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm glad I'm not alone in this! I feel like I'm doing something wrong because he won't stop even though I've followed every bit of advice I've read and been given (except for ones that are obviously a bad idea, like hitting him on the nose, or spraying lemon juice in his mouth - whaaaa??) and he's still a piranha!

AConklin3 said:
I feel your pain..mine is a little shark as well. Lesson for the day for me was to wear extremely padded bras or I will have no nipples left! LOL
I literally feel your pain. He bit my nipple once and I swear I nearly threw him across the room.

It's ok to put him in a pen or crate for a timeout when you need a break from it. He won't see it as punishment unless you're yelling at him and stomping around while you do it. If you calmly pick him up and cheerfully say "Ok, I need a break now, here you go." or something to that effect, he may not like being separated from you, but it's not a punishment.

It does sound like you are on the right track with exercise and redirecting him with toys, etc... He should calm down eventually. In the meantime, does he have lots of different things to chew on? Maybe his toys just aren't "hitting the spot" for him. He's going to be teething for a while, so make sure he has lots of different textures to chew on and get used to having something else handy to redirect him from chewing on you.
Good to know I can put him in the pen for a break. At night he's great in it and goes right to sleep but during the day he cries and I feel guilty, and I don't want him to associate it with negative things. I should probably also spend a day putting him in and out for a few minutes so he's more accustomed.

He has TONS of chewies -- a puppy kong, nylabones, rubber rings, a petstages orka bone, a shin bone, squeaker toys, stuffed animals, really hard edible peanut butter bones, rawhide sticks (which we reserve only when we've run out of other options not to exceed one a day). Sometimes only human flesh will do!!

Time for our morning walk! He refuses to go on walks with my husband and has no problem going on walks with me so we need to practice together so hopefully my husband can take him on walks alone too! Keep the suggestions coming!
 

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Puppies are little sharks in fur coats. :)
 

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You can also give him time outs by letting him wear a leash attached to a harness while he's supervised in the house. let him drag it around, then, when he gets to nibbly, just loop the leash around a door handle or heavy piece of furniture and you step out of the room for a minute. Then come back and only play and give attention if he isn't biting. repeat as needed.

Do you know anyone with a well behaved, dog friendly adult dog? Letting your dog play with an adult dog that can gently reprimand him when he bites too hard can help.
My dog Chester did this for a friend's puppy that they got from a shelter and who hadn't had the benefits of staying with her litter. they would play and when the puppy bit too hard on Chester, he'd (carefully) place a foot on her and push her down for a few seconds before letting her play again. she'd nibble on him, then bite too hard and he'd also put his mouth on her neck and hold her still briefly before going back to play. It helps to have someone with much sturdier skin to teach the little sharks manners :)
 

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You can also give him time outs by letting him wear a leash attached to a harness while he's supervised in the house. let him drag it around, then, when he gets to nibbly, just loop the leash around a door handle or heavy piece of furniture and you step out of the room for a minute. Then come back and only play and give attention if he isn't biting. repeat as needed.
THIS!! I tried the yelping thing too, and it didn't help any at ALL. I do have a suggestion to add to the above. Add a cue. We used "No" (We used a very deep sound when we said it, very specific, it wasn't like saying no in conversation), we did this for the first tiny nip, if she continued we said "BAD" (again, specific tone, very deep, not loud yelling) then we put her in "time out" and gave her something appropriate to chew. We didn't use the crate for time-outs though, to keep it as a happy place. Now if she nips (which she still does occasionally) if we say "No" or "Bad" she'll stop 99% of the time. It took about a week or two and she improved dramatically.
We also allowed some mouthing, some teeth to skin contact we allowed, (which you may not want) but if there was any real pressure we did the "no" then the "bad" followed with the time out. She now mouths really gently on our hands. The only time she puts pressure on is if she has something she shouldn't and we're trying to get it back (we're working on that!).
Other dogs are the best way to train bite inhibition though.
Good luck, from one shark owner to another ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You can also give him time outs by letting him wear a leash attached to a harness while he's supervised in the house. let him drag it around, then, when he gets to nibbly, just loop the leash around a door handle or heavy piece of furniture and you step out of the room for a minute. Then come back and only play and give attention if he isn't biting. repeat as needed.

Do you know anyone with a well behaved, dog friendly adult dog? Letting your dog play with an adult dog that can gently reprimand him when he bites too hard can help.
My dog Chester did this for a friend's puppy that they got from a shelter and who hadn't had the benefits of staying with her litter. they would play and when the puppy bit too hard on Chester, he'd (carefully) place a foot on her and push her down for a few seconds before letting her play again. she'd nibble on him, then bite too hard and he'd also put his mouth on her neck and hold her still briefly before going back to play. It helps to have someone with much sturdier skin to teach the little sharks manners :)
I have a LOT of friends with friendly dogs and they all say "they're too big!! they'll hurt him!!" I keep insisting that they will NOT hurt him, he's a really solid little guy, and their dogs aren't jerks, but they're too concerned about hurting the puppy.
 

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Socialized dogs will self-handicap. It' funny to watch a 90 Lb Pit play with a 5 Lb Yorkie. The Pit can still step on the Yorkie, but won't hurt him otherwise. So, you're correct, the other dogs can play with your doxie.

Nipping - I imagine that you've read the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here. Rather than yelping, try saying Ouch! or Oops!. What you need is a word to mark the nipping in addition to ignoring him:

Read this and note the 3 days and the apology....

Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play):
1. When the pup bites, then yelp. It should sound about like what the pup does when you step on its paw... don't step on his paw for a sample :). When you yelp, the pup should startle briefly and stop nipping. Praise and pet. He'll bite.
2. When he bites the second time, Yelp. When he stops, praise and pet. He'll nip again, although it may be a little gentler. ...
3. When he bites a third time, Yelp (see a pattern?). But this time, turn your back for 15 - 30 secs. If he comes around and play bows or barks, then that is an apology. This is important. Accept it, praise and pet... and cringe in expectation of the next nip...
4. When he bites the 4th time, Yelp, then leave the area, placing him in a 2 min. time-out. It is better if you can leave, rather than moving him. Then, return and interact. (He's still hungry...)
5. When he nips the fifth time, yelp, and leave the area, stopping interaction for now.

Pups need to sleep over night in order to learn their lessons. So, keep doing this for 3 days. By the third day, you should notice signficant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. Keep up the training and make sure that everyone yelps.... Very powerful method.

If you learn the technique, then you can apply the "yelp" to other circumstances, also. I believe that "yelp" is "Please don't do that, I don't like it." in dog communication. I currently use the yelp when my dog plays tug, then runs with the toy, when he fetches and keeps it out of reach or when he takes a treat too quickly....
 

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Looks like you got some good advice but just wanted to let you know what worked with my puppy. The day I got him he would bite on hands and things, also when I took him outside to play and tried to pick him up to go back inside and he didn't want to go back in he would growl and bite really hard on my hand.

Anyway, so what I did was every time he bit too hard I would hold him away from me and shake him a little (not wildly or anything just enough to get his attention) and tell him "no" in a very firm voice and made sure we had eye contact, so he knew without a shadow of a doubt I did NOT like what he was doing. If he kept doing it I would get his rope toy and get him to play with that instead since he loves playing with it (if your dog loves toys this should help a lot) and he shows them what they can bite on. Same with biting on pants. What really worked for my puppy was the firm voice and eye contact. But if your puppy is getting really worked up a little time out might be in order.

It only took a few days of these a he know nos not to bite anyone. But I made sure he had plenty of toys so he doesn't feel like he has nothing to chew/bite.

Hope this helps a bit ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Socialized dogs will self-handicap. It' funny to watch a 90 Lb Pit play with a 5 Lb Yorkie. The Pit can still step on the Yorkie, but won't hurt him otherwise. So, you're correct, the other dogs can play with your doxie.

Nipping - I imagine that you've read the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here. Rather than yelping, try saying Ouch! or Oops!. What you need is a word to mark the nipping in addition to ignoring him:

Read this and note the 3 days and the apology....

Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play):
1. When the pup bites, then yelp. It should sound about like what the pup does when you step on its paw... don't step on his paw for a sample :). When you yelp, the pup should startle briefly and stop nipping. Praise and pet. He'll bite.
2. When he bites the second time, Yelp. When he stops, praise and pet. He'll nip again, although it may be a little gentler. ...
3. When he bites a third time, Yelp (see a pattern?). But this time, turn your back for 15 - 30 secs. If he comes around and play bows or barks, then that is an apology. This is important. Accept it, praise and pet... and cringe in expectation of the next nip...
4. When he bites the 4th time, Yelp, then leave the area, placing him in a 2 min. time-out. It is better if you can leave, rather than moving him. Then, return and interact. (He's still hungry...)
5. When he nips the fifth time, yelp, and leave the area, stopping interaction for now.

Pups need to sleep over night in order to learn their lessons. So, keep doing this for 3 days. By the third day, you should notice signficant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. Keep up the training and make sure that everyone yelps.... Very powerful method.

If you learn the technique, then you can apply the "yelp" to other circumstances, also. I believe that "yelp" is "Please don't do that, I don't like it." in dog communication. I currently use the yelp when my dog plays tug, then runs with the toy, when he fetches and keeps it out of reach or when he takes a treat too quickly....
I did read that, and like 10 other articles about biting. I'm very thorough. I'll go over those steps with my husband and we'll give it a shot. Hammie is great at sleeping through the night, so maybe it'll sink in really REALLY good! I know exactly what it sounds like when I step on his paw... he gets underfoot sometimes :\

I feel kind of bad complaining because overall I think I got a good dog. I've never had a dog before so maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but if he wasn't biting I don't think we'd have a single complaint about him. Well.. ok the cat chasing thing... but I think they have to work that out for themselves. They walk right up to him and hit him and wonder why they're being chased (one of them turns around and chases right back).
 

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YES, the best title :D
Hanksimon has a great point: "socialized dogs will self-handicap"
SO true. Our neighbour's dog, easily a 120+lbs (after losing some weight!) used to play with another previous neighbour's pug (tops 15lbs). Caeda, even as a barely-socialized moronic idiot (she's a little better now lol), she played ok with that dog, though for the most part she ignored it in favour of another dog that played better with her. I will say though the biggest hazard I've seen to small dogs when playing is going on is that they might get bowled over by larger dogs that just don't see them when they go whizzing past. Your little guy looks pretty sturdy, so a little bit of jostling isn't going to be a big deal, though I'd suggest still supervising very closely, he still has growing bones and joints. I say its worth a closely supervised risk of letting some play happen....the best thing we ever did for Caeda was a doggy social class!
 

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I have 3 dogs and every one of them stopped biting within a week of me getting them. My youngest is a 6 month old high energy german shepherd. What you have to do is when the pup is biting, say in a High pitched baby voice Whose biting? No biting!! Kisses...all at the same time same voice...repeat as needed. The high pitch baby voice gets their attention rather quickly and it gives perfect opportunity to redirect them. If that fails and it shouldn't you can spray bitter apple on your hands and when the pup goes to bite he'll get the yucky stuff...I've heard butter works too..they tend to kiss and not bite with butter. Good Luck.
 

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Thanks luvmyfurballs -- we've actually tried those things and he just doesn't react to the high pitched voice. He acknowledges that you're making a noise, but then goes right back about his business... which is biting. Since he's a shelter dog, we don't know much about his life before the SPCA we got him from rescued him from a kill shelter. He couldn't've been older than seven weeks when they got his litter, however, so he didn't have a lot of time with his siblings and mom to start learning bite-inhibition. I'm sure he'd be more responsive if he had more time with his family! He doesn't actually mind the bitter spray. We've tried hosing ourselves down in it and he just doesn't care.

My friend and I took Hamilton on a nice long trail walk this afternoon, then took him to the pet store to get some treats, and he got to meet a bunch of kids and other dogs. I am pleased that for all my complaining about him biting at home, he is REALLY good with strangers. There were three kids on the trail who descended on him (after asking), just petting and grabbing at him from all angles (one was pretty young) and he just takes it. He doesn't bite or threaten to bite at all. He met a giant mastiff at the pet store and was nervous (he was about the size of the other dog's head) but wagging his tail and checking him out. Now we're home and he's exhausted. Should be a good afternoon :)
 

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Thanks luvmyfurballs -- we've actually tried those things and he just doesn't react to the high pitched voice. He acknowledges that you're making a noise, but then goes right back about his business... which is biting. Since he's a shelter dog, we don't know much about his life before the SPCA we got him from rescued him from a kill shelter. He couldn't've been older than seven weeks when they got his litter, however, so he didn't have a lot of time with his siblings and mom to start learning bite-inhibition. I'm sure he'd be more responsive if he had more time with his family! He doesn't actually mind the bitter spray. We've tried hosing ourselves down in it and he just doesn't care.

My friend and I took Hamilton on a nice long trail walk this afternoon, then took him to the pet store to get some treats, and he got to meet a bunch of kids and other dogs. I am pleased that for all my complaining about him biting at home, he is REALLY good with strangers. There were three kids on the trail who descended on him (after asking), just petting and grabbing at him from all angles (one was pretty young) and he just takes it. He doesn't bite or threaten to bite at all. He met a giant mastiff at the pet store and was nervous (he was about the size of the other dog's head) but wagging his tail and checking him out. Now we're home and he's exhausted. Should be a good afternoon :)
Believe me I know what its like to have a puppy, but soon it will pass and you'll look back and laugh..hopefully. A tired puppy is a good puppy:)
 

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Puppies play by biting and you are a trusted playmate. That's one reason why he doesn't bite other people. You want to communicate that biting hurts and stops any playing.

When he stops - after you yelp and talk in high pitch, you're getting the desired reaction - what I call a startle. He hears that something is happening, but doesn't yet understand what it is or why, so next you need the consequence - withdraw attention by Yelping then turning your back... and escalate if needed by Yelping, turning, and leaving him alone. With a consistent and predictable approach, you can teach a Dox x GSD (?) in a few days...
 

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Puppies play by biting and you are a trusted playmate. That's one reason why he doesn't bite other people. You want to communicate that biting hurts and stops any playing.

When he stops - after you yelp and talk in high pitch, you're getting the desired reaction - what I call a startle. He hears that something is happening, but doesn't yet understand what it is or why, so next you need the consequence - withdraw attention by Yelping then turning your back... and escalate if needed by Yelping, turning, and leaving him alone. With a consistent and predictable approach, you can teach a Dox x GSD (?) in a few days...
He really isn't easy to startle. Sometimes he'll pause for a second for a yelp, other times he just keeps going.

Someone at the pet store asked me today if he was part German Shepherd. I told her I had no idea, but I wasn't sure of the logistics of the combination. She told me love conquers all!
 
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