Resolve Nipping

If your dog is under 12 weeks he's simply testing waters and his nips are more an indication that he's feeling needy than confrontational. Similar to a child who cries when a need is not met, a puppy will nip. His needs include hunger, thirst, play, sleep, and elimination. If you have an older puppy, he has learned that nipping is interactive and may be doing this to get attention and promote his sense of control. Try these techniques to resolve nipping:

• Teach KISSES with butter.

• Ask yourself if your puppy or dog is communicating a need.

• Stop all challenging games.

• Use the spray-away correction described on page 42 to discreetly discourage your dog from chewing on your body.

• Give yourself something to grasp by placing a drag or short lead on your dog's collar.

• Keep your hand still when your puppy or dog nips you.

• Ignore light nipping with puppies under 16 weeks of age.

• Address hard nips immediately. Let your hand go limp in his mouth, say OUCH, tug him away from you sharply, and glare into his eyes for two seconds: short and stern.

I read that I'm suppose to hold my dog's mouth shut when he nips, but it only seems to malke matters worse. What can I do?

Squeezing your dog's mouth shut is not nice. It is confrontational which would explain why he's retailiating. Stop this immediately. Bring your dog's mouth away from your hand and redirect him to another activity. If he will not relent, give him some alone time in a crate or on a station; he may be over-tired.

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