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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm looking for some help and reassurance!

I realise there are lots of posts about biting/ nipping puppies and I have read many of them with much interest and have put some of the suggestions and advice into practice.

I picked up our new border terrier puppy, Archie, almost 2 weeks ago when he was 7 1/2 weeks old. He is very bold, determined, fearless and lots of fun - like most puppies of course. From the very first night he has slept all the way through, no crying, dry crate, eating well and we're getting to grips with a toilet routine.

That’s the good stuff.

The problem we are having is that he doesn’t respond well to being told off or from being stopped from doing something i.e. attached to some ones leg/ hand, chewing electric wires etc. he reacts with quite aggressive growling, barking and lunging towards you. We've tried distraction with toys, a stern "NO", high pitched squealing and ignoring him (folder arms, no speaking, no eye contact).

Last night we had a particularly bad episode. He'd been napping for almost 2hrs, woke up and went out for the loo. Then back in for some play time. I was sat on the floor with him and his toys. We try to do more task based play rather than rough and tumble/ tug of war type stuff as he gets far too hyper and bitey. So we were playing a bit of fetch and he was quite happy for a while. He was obviously starting to get a bit fed up of it as upon returning he was starting to get bitey so I swapped toys around to try and keep his attention but he lunged for my hand and locked his jaw on my thumb to the point where my partner had to come over to help me extract him off my hand. He has punctured the skin and the area is a little bruised. A barking, thrashing around and growling session ensued so I took him outside for some quiet time. The situation completely escalated and he continued to lunge and bark at me and being out in the garden there wasn’t anywhere high for me to escape to so indistinctively I restrained him by the scruff of the neck which sent him flying into an even higher rage!

I'm obviously not reacting the correct way and I really want to nip this perceived aggression in the bud. My partner has young children and had it been one of their fingers blood definitely would have been drawn. As it is the children can't play with him off the lead as he is too unpredictable (obviously play with any dog would always be supervised).

He is such a lovely dog in all other ways but it's really starting to get me down that I'm not doing the right thing with him.

He's booked in for puppy training classes at 11weeks so still got 2 weeks to go.... I've also put a call into the trainer so hopefully she can make some suggestions too.

Help!

Simbathecat x
 

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Hello, I'm looking for some help and reassurance!

I realise there are lots of posts about biting/ nipping puppies and I have read many of them with much interest and have put some of the suggestions and advice into practice.

I picked up our new border terrier puppy, Archie, almost 2 weeks ago when he was 7 1/2 weeks old. He is very bold, determined, fearless and lots of fun - like most puppies of course. From the very first night he has slept all the way through, no crying, dry crate, eating well and we're getting to grips with a toilet routine.

That's the good stuff.

The problem we are having is that he doesn't respond well to being told off or from being stopped from doing something i.e. attached to some ones leg/ hand, chewing electric wires etc. he reacts with quite aggressive growling, barking and lunging towards you. We've tried distraction with toys, a stern "NO", high pitched squealing and ignoring him (folder arms, no speaking, no eye contact).

Last night we had a particularly bad episode. He'd been napping for almost 2hrs, woke up and went out for the loo. Then back in for some play time. I was sat on the floor with him and his toys. We try to do more task based play rather than rough and tumble/ tug of war type stuff as he gets far too hyper and bitey. So we were playing a bit of fetch and he was quite happy for a while. He was obviously starting to get a bit fed up of it as upon returning he was starting to get bitey so I swapped toys around to try and keep his attention but he lunged for my hand and locked his jaw on my thumb to the point where my partner had to come over to help me extract him off my hand. He has punctured the skin and the area is a little bruised. A barking, thrashing around and growling session ensued so I took him outside for some quiet time. The situation completely escalated and he continued to lunge and bark at me and being out in the garden there wasn't anywhere high for me to escape to so indistinctively I restrained him by the scruff of the neck which sent him flying into an even higher rage!

I'm obviously not reacting the correct way and I really want to nip this perceived aggression in the bud. My partner has young children and had it been one of their fingers blood definitely would have been drawn. As it is the children can't play with him off the lead as he is too unpredictable (obviously play with any dog would always be supervised).

He is such a lovely dog in all other ways but it's really starting to get me down that I'm not doing the right thing with him.

He's booked in for puppy training classes at 11weeks so still got 2 weeks to go.... I've also put a call into the trainer so hopefully she can make some suggestions too.

Help!

Simbathecat x
Was he raised in a home environment or was he kennel raised outside? Although he is a terrier and some can be feisty and strong willed, he doesnt seem to be particularly human orientated, so Im wondering how much early human contact and handling he has had prior to you getting him, especially as he responds with growling barking and lunging, pups bark, growl, chase and bite in the litter in play and to instigate play, and it sounds like he is carrying on like what I refer to as a dog dog. The fact that he immediately slept through unbothered from day one, seems like he is a very independant pup too, usually puppies are more dependant and eager to please then he is too. He also doesnt seem that toy orientated particularly either as toys dont seem to distract him or he soon gets bored and seems to find more excitement things more interested in finding his own entertainment and nipping and chasing.

As rough games seem to hype him up more and making him even more bitey and over exciteable you are deffinately doing the right thing avoiding them at the moment. I would also stop playing on the floor with him at his level, that can also encourage dog/dog type behaviour and nipping and biting. I notice too that you said whilst playing with him on the floor he got fed up and started to get bitey so you swopped toys to try to get his attention, carrying on when he got bitey sounds like its possibly just rewarded the starting to bite without him having to offer an alternative behaviour instead.
All puppies will mouth and nip to a degree as mentioned its a way they play in the litter but lunging and holding onto your hand and having to take two of you to prise him off is excessive, it sounds like he hasnt learnt any bite inhibition with mum and littermates. Usually if they have when one bites another in play too hard, one yelps and the other pup should realise and cease a good mum will also reprimand a puppy if he goes over the top too.
With him yelping just seems to make him worse from what you say and do it even more.

You need to stop the behaviour the second you see him start to get hyped and before he gets into the biting behaviour, once into it its even harder to stop it and once they have gone right into the behaviour they can almost lose the plot completely.

He needs to start being made to work for anything he wants and anything you give him and be trained to focus and listen to you. As toys seem to make him worse at times and dont even act as a distraction. Have you tried getting him to work for treats and food instead? If you havent already I would put focus on training sessions starting to teach him basic commands like sit, down, wait, come when called. Using treats but only when he does as asked. If thats successful then you can use the commands for moving him about and getting him to offer alternative behaviours. Usually several short training sessions of 10 minutes or so, so they dont get bored works best.
The second he shows unwanted behaviour put him in another room, using treats if necessary to encourage him to come to you and follow but he doesnt get them until he comes/follows and is calm.

This may help too The puppy plan its all about socialisation and at the end of the breeders and early caregivers and the new owners section there is also a download with a socialisation plan.
The Puppy Plan

Also giving him things like Kongs treat toys and other chews will likely give him something to take out fraustration and biting on as well, I would give him several periods a day with these on his own to wind down and rest alone as well.

Recipes - Kong

Busy Buddy Twist-n-Treat - YouTube

https://www.antlerdogchews.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=140

If he is on wet food you can give him his meals in Kongs too so he has to work for them and occupy himself. If he is on kibble you can give him his meals or some of them in the Busy Buddy. As well as fill them with other things. That will also give him mental and physical stimulation and likely get rid of excess energy and fraustration.

The antler chews are safe and most seem to like them and again chewing is a de-stresser for dogs too.

As you have described him as bold determined fearless, he sounds like he has a strong personality so you need to get on top of things pretty quickly.
Giving him nothing at all for bad behaviour except time out and being ignored and making him focus and listen and follow commands for alternative behaviour you do want should start to help. But you need to act before he winds up too far and gets into the biting too.

I would also speak to your trainer and get working on it asap.
 

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Puppy biting is often to do with the puppy saying to you "I am the one in charge not you!"
One technique for this that I know of is to gently grab the puppy by the muzzle and tap your hand (the one on his muzzle). Also say "NO" in a very stern deep voice. Then immediately offer your hand to the puppy to sniff. This must be done quickly. I am aware that some are unsure about using physical training like this. However, this is usually effective and does not harm the pup.
The ignoring technique is usually quite effective. Though maybe less so with such a dominant pup.
The stern "NO" technique could also be used alone, but ensure that as soon as your puppy stops the behaviour, you reward with lots of praise and some treats.
Good luck!
 

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Puppy biting is often to do with the puppy saying to you "I am the one in charge not you!"
One technique for this that I know of is to gently grab the puppy by the muzzle and tap your hand (the one on his muzzle). Also say "NO" in a very stern deep voice. Then immediately offer your hand to the puppy to sniff. This must be done quickly. I am aware that some are unsure about using physical training like this. However, this is usually effective and does not harm the pup.
The ignoring technique is usually quite effective. Though maybe less so with such a dominant pup.
The stern "NO" technique could also be used alone, but ensure that as soon as your puppy stops the behaviour, you reward with lots of praise and some treats.
Good luck!
That is ridiculous. Escalating the situation with a TERRIER puppy isn't a battle you're going to win easily, and with the puppy's trust at the end of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. I can't believe I forgot about treat based reward! We tried a bit of training with treats this morning and within minutes was sitting and taking the food nicely. He seemed very eager to please knowing the reward, hence we've had a very calm morning with no growling/ barking and minor hand nibbling.

He came from a home environment with a young family so I do believe he was handled/ played with a lot during his time there. He was the only male from a litter of three so perhaps that's reinforced his top dog status. Dad was also a family pet but he was kept outside the whole time as Mum wouldn’t let him in. He does like affection and rolls over for tummy rubs etc. and likes to curl up for a cuddle when he gets tired so not like he shuns human contact - just these moments when the red mist comes down!

I can see how I've inadvertently been rewarding bad behaviour. I will definitely keep up the time out and ignoring techniques. I did manage to speak to the trainer and she echoed everything you have said. His behaviour is very terrier like and I guess I've just got an extra live one!

Thanks for the links too, I'll take some time today to read through them.

Thank you!
 

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Hi for advice from qualified reputable trainers and behaviourists look here for socialisation

http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/puppy socialization.pdf
http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/dogsocialization.pdf
http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/thepuppysruleoftwelve.pdf
http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/puppy_weekly_social_chart.pdf
Socialising a Litter | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary? | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 2) How to go about it | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors
http://www.apdt.co.uk/documents/Socialisation_001.pdf

Look here for biting especially the DVD by Sarah which deals with biting and children.

Here are some articles on this subject by qualified, reputable trainers and behaviourists

The Bite Stops Here by Dr Ian Dunbar

http://cleverdogcompany.com/tl_files/factsheets/Puppy biting.pdf

http://www.apbc.org.uk/system/files...t_1_Puppies_-_Mouthing_and_biting_low_res.pdf

Puppy Play Biting Leads to Marks on Hands and Arms | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

http://www.deesdogs.com/documents/teachingbiteinhibition.pdf

http://www.apdt.co.uk/documents/Playbiting_000.pdf

DVD
Your Clever Dog: Puppy biting, chewing and over-excitability with children
Sarah Whitehead

All puppies bite! They come with a set of needlesharp teeth that a shark would be proud of. This behaviour is perfectly normal, but needs to be prevented in order for the dog to become a calm and social member of the family.

This DVD is specially designed to show you exactly what you need to do to reduce and then stop your puppy from biting and mouthing using only kind and fair methods, and the secrets that top dog trainers know.

This DVD also covers the essentials for making sure that your 'puppy chewing machine flexes his teeth on all the right things, and leaves your shoes, the kids' toys and your furniture alone.

Sarah Whitehead also gives advice on puppies and children, and how to ensure they grow up happily together.
Including:
• Why biting is an integral part of your puppy's development
• How to control your puppy's biting
• How to keep kids safe with your puppy
• How to play with your puppy to help control biting
The pack contains: A clicker, tab handle, training manual, instructional DVD, 55 mins approx running time including Bonus trick, Bonus Training Session, Intro to Clicker Training, Q & A with Sarah

Border Terriers like most terriers were bred to hunt vermin etc so have a slightly different outlook on life than say a Labrador.

do you belong to a Breed Club? They can often be of help

The Border Terrier Club
 
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You've had some great advice here, I have nothing to add I just wanted to wish you well and be consistant and above all else have fun with the wee mite.
 

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Great advice offered there. I was reading through your posts thinking, when do you ever do any food reward based training, and then my question was answered.
You could play search games with him too using food. If he does get really bitey and you can't control him, shut him out of the room for two mins or so, let him calm down, then invite him back in with a new game invented in that space of time you let him calm down.
 

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. I can't believe I forgot about treat based reward! We tried a bit of training with treats this morning and within minutes was sitting and taking the food nicely. He seemed very eager to please knowing the reward, hence we've had a very calm morning with no growling/ barking and minor hand nibbling.

He came from a home environment with a young family so I do believe he was handled/ played with a lot during his time there. He was the only male from a litter of three so perhaps that's reinforced his top dog status. Dad was also a family pet but he was kept outside the whole time as Mum wouldn’t let him in. He does like affection and rolls over for tummy rubs etc. and likes to curl up for a cuddle when he gets tired so not like he shuns human contact - just these moments when the red mist comes down!

I can see how I've inadvertently been rewarding bad behaviour. I will definitely keep up the time out and ignoring techniques. I did manage to speak to the trainer and she echoed everything you have said. His behaviour is very terrier like and I guess I've just got an extra live one!

Thanks for the links too, I'll take some time today to read through them.

Thank you!
Glad that you have seen an improvement already sounds like its deffinately the way to go. Giving some of the suggestions too to keep his mind and energy stimulated elsewhere should help too, and keep his mouth busy on chewing and biting at something more productive.
 
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