Annie in her New Home
By Justin Paynter
My little pup has to be a bit confused whether to answer to “Annie” or “No Bite!” She certainly hears both almost equally. A young pup has growing teeth, and is constantly exploring her new world. Just like babies, puppies explore every new object by putting them into their mouths. This includes cabinets, couches, shoes, electrical cords, clothes, and you.
Puppies have razor sharp teeth, and over their first few weeks their jaws become much stronger. What seems like cute mouthing one day will turn into a painful bite the next. The best way to take care of this is to not let it happen in the first place.
When playing with your pup make sure you have a variety of toys within reach. Inevitably, during play, he will become bored with one toy and your moving hands, ankles, feet, and arms look like great things to taste.
I use a variety of techniques with Annie . After she wakes up toys will entertain her for a while, but eventually she goes for me. At first I kept saying “Ouch” loudly and pulling my hands away. I would stand up and end play time for one minute. This is essentially a "time-out" for pups.
She didn’t quite understand this, so I started to actually give a loud puppy yelp whenever she bit me. This would cause her to stop, as it mimicked the cries her litter mates made when she would bite too hard. Remember, your pup is still learning limits, and doesn’t necessarily know what is too hard.
Once Annie learned the yelp, I reverted to a loud and deeper “NO BITE”, looking her in the eyes to ensure she understood. She now quits when she hears the phrase. One key is ensuring that you have alternatives for your pup. Annie loves ice cubes, her frozen wash cloth, a frozen puppy Kong stuffed with peanut butter or small treats blocked in by an ice cube, and her bully stick. All of these items have made the mouthing stage much easier to get through, and her biting is really only bad when she is just about to crash for a nap. Just like a kid fighting sleepiness, she can get a bit cranky and bratty. At these times once she is in her crate she is asleep within minutes.
Justin is a store manager in our Stratham, NH location. Come in and visit him and ask him how he and Annie are doing!