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Anna, Pet Trainer
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 11273
Experience:  40 yrs. training pet dogs and performance dogs in obedience, agility, herding, tracking, and therapy.
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I have a 4 month old Westie. I brought him home when he was

Customer Question

I have a 4 month old Westie. I brought him home when he was 6 wks old. He is aggressive and bites constantly. I have tried just about everything that people have suggested. My grandchildren who were excited an even helped me pick him out of the puppy liter don't even want to be around him because of his aggressive biting. Help please.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have over forty years of experience training dogs in obedience, herding, therapy work, tracking, and as household pets. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Some additional information will be useful.
I need to know what specific things you have tried. Otherwise it will be a waste of your time and mine to tell you about things you've already done.
How does the puppy behave when biting? For example, is he running and jumping in wild play, attacking to protect his food or toys, growling, etc.?
Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have commanded "no" in loud voice when he bites while walking and when I try to hold him, play, etc. I have used a spray bottle with water to use while I am trying to walk. I use puppy toys, chewy toys inside and outside to get his attention directed away from me or other people he bites. I have put him in time out immediately when he starts biting and getting aggressive. He is not my first dog/puppy. I don't ever recall a dog who is go aggressive. I mean ALL THE TIME.. I have had him for 6 weeks now and sadly, I'm considering giving him away. I don't want to. I waited a long time. I just wonder if there is something wrong with his brain? Can that ever happen. Can dogs be bred to much? I need help. I have all ready had to go to the doctors for tetanus shot and sought medical assistance from all the bites on my hands and arms. Thank you.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Yes, there can be things wrong with a dog's brain. However, that is rare. In addition, he is a terrier, and they tend to be feisty.If you feel the puppy is truly aggressive, what you should do is take him back to the breeder you bought him from. I don't think that breeder was an ethical breeder. No reputable breeder would send a puppy to anew home at 6 weeks of age. That was done in the olden days before we knew the importance of different types of socialization. Between 6 and 8 weeks, a pup learns about bite inhibition from its littermates. That means, they learn to bite in play, but not hard. When taken from the litter too early, they often do bite too hard when playing. You're the only one who can decide if his behavior is intolerable to you, but if so, I would take him back to the breeder.
At age four months, your puppy is at the prime age for puppy play biting. Simply growing up may help some. If you want to try to deal with the problem, I have only found one effective method. The best way to change the behavior is to give the puppy a time out every single time it occurs. This will take lots of patience and consistency. If your puppy has a crate, use it to teach him to play gently. If he doesn't have a crate, I recommend getting one (if you want information on crate training, let me know, and I'll provide it. There's no additional fee.) If you don't want to use a crate, use a small room, such as a bathroom where the puppy will be alone and away from family activity.When he nips, simply take him to the crate. Don't scold him or act angry. Make this very matter-of-fact. After about 10 minutes, let him out. The minute he nips again, take him back to the crate or room. Patience and consistency are key. You'll need to be prepared to spend several evenings doing nothing but taking the puppy in and out of the crate. Remember to stay matter-of-fact, and don't act like you're correcting or punishing the puppy. The crate should not be seen as an unpleasant place for the puppy, but more of a peaceful spot for him to calm down.
Correcting a puppy for this type of play-biting does often lead to even more biting and nipping. Yelping does, too, and the spray bottle Some puppies simply see it as a game when you do these things. You make noise, and that increases the excitement level and makes it even more fun for him. The advice to yelp like another puppy would stems from observing that puppies do yelp when a litter mate bites too hard. What these observers failed to notice is that the puppy that yelped also stopped playing. Period - they often just go lie down and will not interact for some time. That refusal to play is what really teaches puppies not to bite. The yelp has nothing to do with it. When you put your puppy in his crate or room, you are, in effect, refusing to play. He's learning that rough play results in no play at all.
If you and the puppy haven't been through a kindergarten puppy class, it would be a good idea to enroll in one as soon as possible. If you've already done that, consider taking him through a basic obedience class. Such classes will help you control him in a positive way.
If you have more questions, or want information on crate-training, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.
My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!

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