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Hi everyone. I actually posted this in the first time dog owner section of the forums, but think this is probably a more appropriate section for my issue

I just read through "The Bite Stops here" and am kicking myself for not starting this training earlier. My Wife really wanted a puppy and when we got him he would just keep biting. Our vet told us to try different things, such a tapping his nose and yelping ouch, but it never seemed to work. Then he suggested maybe just getting a little water spritzer and that seemed to work. I should also mention that vet told us to try putting him on his back to establish dominance. We tried it one time and hated doing it since we felt it scared him more than anything else.

For a time it actually dissipated but now he started it again. I know it's not aggressive. He nips when he wants to play and wags his tail. He's overall an extremely happy and energetic dog. And we love him.

My Wife is starting to get very frustrated though and in a fit yesterday, after a nip mentioned that maybe we should get rid of him. I'm taking it as just frustration but I'm getting desperate.

Is it too late to start the training outlined in "the bite stops here"? What else can I do. As far as I'm concerned Rocky is another member of our family. We got him and as such he's our responsibility. Getting rid of him is not an option in my mind.

I think it's obvious that the failure was ours, I just hope to rectify this so that the three of us can coexist happily.

Any help or advice would be so greatly appreciated.

Someone already suggested that I also look at "Be the Tree" and "Rev up/ Cool Down" I intend to impliment those ASAP.

Does anyone know of any good Trainer in the NYC area?

· Registered
4,358 Posts
No, it's NOT too late to start "The Bite Stops Here!" The thing is, be aware that your dog has had a lot of time to become accustomed to biting/nipping, and it will take time and patience to overcome this. Plus, you have tried a variety of things since you've had him, some of them (as you know) weren't good. So, switching techniques has confused him, and doing things that seem (to him) mean and irrational, like alpha rolling (putting him on his back) and tapping his nose, etc., has made him unsure of your reactions/intentions, meaning he doesn't always know if he can trust you.

So, start over! You can do it! :)
It takes patience and consistence, meaning EVERYONE in the house does the same thing EVERY time he bites. The main thing, if you follow "The Bite Stops Here" is that you alert him (using a yelp or ouch) that you don't like it, and if he does it again, you leave the room, so he loses interaction/connection with you.
- he bites/nips, and you say ouch or yelp loudly.
- he will probably stop for a split second, and then do it again.
- you make the noise again, and then leave the room for 20-30 seconds.

Now, some dogs get more excited by a high pitched yelp, so for those dogs a loud, low pitched OUCH may work better. And, beware of "extinction burst". This is when a dog shows a "burst" of whatever the unwanted behavior is, in an attempt to keep doing something they're used to or like, at the same time as you are trying to stop the behavior "make it extinct". But, it eventually does become extinct.

But, remember, time and patience. For our 9 week old puppy, our first, it took 4 weeks. For our second puppy, who was 7 weeks when we adopted her from a shelter, it took 1.5-2 weeks (because our older dog helped!), and with our foster puppy it took 2-3 weeks. For your dog, it may take longer as he's gotten away with this, so to speak, for longer.

I'm glad you decided not to keep up with your vet's advice. Vets are great, medically, but many don't have a lot of training in nutrition or behavior, trainers are great for behavior.
By the way, the dominance thing has been disproved. It was based on flawed studies from long ago, and is outdated. Glad you didn't feel comfortable with that!
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