Brandon McMillan's Canine Minded | How To Stop Your Puppy From Nipping
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How To Stop Your Puppy From Nipping

How To Stop Your Puppy From Nipping

If there’s one guarantee I can give you about puppies it’s they’re full of bad habits. You can’t blame them; after all they’re brand new to the world and they don’t know the rules and regulations as of yet. That’s like blaming someone for not knowing the language to a foreign country they just moved to. One of the most common and definitely most annoying habits puppies do is nipping. That little mouth has some very sharp points in it that can break through skin pretty easily. To make things worst they’re also teething so they have the constant need to chew and often you’re the victim. This is a problem that must be dealt with at a very young age because those teeth are only getting bigger and that mouth is only getting stronger. I’ve seen so many adult dogs that have this problem because the issue wasn’t solved when they were a puppy. Well I have a quick and easy technique to solve this problem for good. Let’s break this down and save our skin from any further damage…

For this you’ll only need a chew. Whether it’s a natural chew or a toy just make sure it’s something they really want. Don’t keep the chew on you. Keep it near you but out of reach of the dog.

As a disclaimer this technique works only on medium to larger dogs. Not recommended for smaller dogs. (under 15 lbs)

To begin this we’ll need you to first know the times your puppy likes to nip. Many are very predictable when you’re playing with them so if that’s the case start playing with them because this is all about timing. If you can get them to nip your hand it’s much more ideal. This is easy to get them to do because you’ll simply keep your hands close to their snout as you’re playing with them and they’ll most likely wanna nip at the nearest thing. Now this is all about timing so pay attention. When they nip you I want you to a two step in one process. You’re going to grab their collar and insert your thumb in their mouth (as they’re nipping) and do what I call the “Remote Control Hold.” The reason I call it this is because you’re going to hold their bottom jaw exactly like you’d hold a remote control for a tv. Your thumb will be inside their mouth while your other four fingers are on the bottom of their jaw. You’re not squeezing, just holding so they can’t back away. Now you’ve turned the tables on them and made their annoying habit annoying right back at them. As you’re holding them I want you to give them a “No” while continuing to hold. Many puppies will want to struggle during this process. I need you to simply continue to hold them till they’re done struggling. Once they’ve calmed down give it another 5 seconds and release them. Right after you release them I want you to give them a chew to divert that chewing on your skin onto something a little more appropriate. This teaches them what is acceptable to chew as you’re gonna pet them as they’re chewing. After they’ve chewed for a few minutes I want you to take the chew and hide it where you had it before and begin playing with them again. If they nip at you, simply repeat the process. Most dogs pick this up after 2 or 3 times. Some might take a little more so be consistent.

As always the details are how any technique is trained. There are few key things I wanna point out here. First I wanna reiterate how I don’t want you squeezing them as you’re training this. You’re just holding the mouth with no pressure and holding the collar. You wanna make it annoying for them as that’s what always breaks a dog’s bad habits. To a dog, a bad habit is fun for them and only more fun when they get good at it. Your goal is to make the bad habit annoying for them eventually eliminating the habit all together. Second I wanna point out how important it is they’re calm for about 5 seconds before releasing them. This teaches them that remaining calm will get them what they want. If you let them go when they’re struggling all you’re doing is teaching them to fight out of any situation and that’s a bad habit you definitely don’t want them growing into. It’s also important to point out how the hand holding the collar is there for control. Most dogs try and back away from this as you’re doing it so holding the collar ensures that doesn’t happen and gives you control. As we all know one of my golden rules of training is: Control, Train, Treat. We can’t train until we have control. Lack of control is the number reason most people can’t train their dog. And last and definitely not least be consistent!!! Remember training happens at the speed of life not the speed of light. Be the trainer and teach your animal correctly. Be patient and most importantly never train when your frustrated. If you get flustered just give it a minute and try again. Your dog picks up on your frustration. As I always say: “The face you show is the face that’s shown back to you.” Be the person you want your dog to look up to. Try it out and tell me how it goes. Ruff.

– Brandon

4 Comments
  • Adele
    Posted at 16:01h, 06 September Reply

    Thank you for this information. I’m hoping this will work on my new rescue foxhound. I rescued him from a local shelter 2 weeks ago and have been using your tips to train him. He is a pretty large dog but he is only 18 months old and still nips. We are working on the basic commands but he does get rambunctious when my husband or I come home. I realize he’s playing but being a larger dog this behavior needs to stop. Fingers crossed and thank you.

  • Susan
    Posted at 02:48h, 15 September Reply

    How about if the puppy is about 6 months old and mostly Shepard and she thinks nipping (hard) is fun. I try to do that remote control hold on her and she just chomps down with her top, sharp, big teeth and I have to let go. Please help.

  • Nancy Barnett
    Posted at 13:33h, 16 September Reply

    Brandon,
    I am new to the “avid” animal loving world. I am now retired from owning my business and have time to get involved with rescue organizations and because I am out going I tend to proselytize for a cause. I watch Lucky Dog regularly and am so taken with your messages on training. As I experience the volunteer world I see such so much that needs help. One of the biggest ways I see in helping make the adoption effort successful if giving people skills for their pet. You possess the skill sets they need, I tell everyone to watch you. Do you have any tee shirts(say with the seven commands), promotional items to place at adoption events? Is there anyway you could create a format or something that shelters could give out to assist new owners in guiding their new pets?
    Thank you for all you do for the precious babies without homes and the ones finding new homes.
    Best regards,

    Nancy

  • Sande Callahan
    Posted at 21:33h, 09 November Reply

    Help! I have a Jack Russell puppy (10 months old) that I desperately need help with. It’s not that he is a bad puppy, but he is very much of his own agenda. He likes to play ball, but doesn’t want to relinquish the ball so we can actually play ball. He knows sit, stay, off, down, no, and come, but it’s if he wants to. He cannot go outside unless he is on a leash or a backyard line because he will just run. And finally, he just will not stop jumping, nipping, grabbing and pulling at clothing on my husband. He’s better with me but sometimes he just won’t stop. We have tried numerous things to get him to quit, however it’s usually into the crate or outside on the line. I have had a lot of dogs throughout my life, but this little guy just wears me out. I am retired and guess I don’t have the energy I use to. I took him to puppy training, however we were kind of kicked out of the class because he was so active and didn’t want to listen. I’m just at my wits end with him. Hope you can give me a little help.

    Keep up the good work on you’re show. I enjoy it so much.
    Thank you and best regards
    Sande

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