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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18815
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My retriever is 13 weeks old, and nips a lot when it is playing

Customer Question

My retriever is 13 weeks old, and nips a lot when it is playing with us. It's sharp teeth draw blood. Will she grow out of this, or should something be done now?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 6 months ago.
Hi Jacustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. Usually a pup that is nipping also has problems with chewing things. Let me address both. Teaching a puppy not to bite and chew on things is very hard. This is because your puppy is teething. You should provide your puppy with lots of appropriate things for him to chew on. They have wonderful chew toys that you can put treats inside or peanut butter inside that helps the puppy keep focused on that chew toy rather than your table legs or other inappropriate objects. This can be hard if there are children’s toys on the floor so it will take a lot of effort on your part to keep the floor free of these objects as much as possible. Also only put half of the dogs toys down at a time. Otherwise, the dog gets bored with the toys. Teach your dog what “NO’ means. It can be a powerful tool so you can stop the chewing at least long enough for you to remove it. You can also use a product called bitter apple on surfaces that you do not want your dog to chew on. It has a bad flavor that most dogs do not like. Hot pepper sauce can work as well for this purpose. When a dog is chewing and nipping on people the best method is to say “NO’ make a cry of pain and most puppies will respond and stop. For those that don’t respond, you will need to redirect his nipping or biting to an appropriate object. If you are playing and she nips, you want to do the same and then stop playing with her . She should learn soon that if she nips, playtime is over. Some puppies learn earlier than others and most do not totally learn not to nip and chew on you until they are 4-5 months old. Another thing that you will want to do is try and teach children that may be around your puppy not to make high-pitched squeals and run. To a puppy or dog, high pitched noises mean play time and it is a natural instinct called prey drive to chase after a running object. You may want to keep a leash on your puppy at all times so you can easily give a quick tug for a correction when she is doing something that is not allowed such as nipping or chewing. You also need to remember that corrections are worthless if not done when the behavior is occurring. You can not correct a dog if you find something chewed. You can only correct her when she is actually doing it. Here are some great sites on bite inhibition. She will grow out of it but you have to help her. In addition, having her around adult vaccinated dogs will help her learn not to bite hard as well. Redirect nipping as much as possible though. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.
a quick note to find out how things are going and to remind you to rate the answer if you found it helpful.

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