Today we’re talking to Ayoka Bubar, who offers training services online and in-person in southwestern Manitoba. She also writes the Rotten Dog Blog, which is full of practical advice and musings. Ayoka and I are talking about nipping and biting. This is SUCH a common problem for many puppy owners, and we’re here to help!
Ayoka is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed and an approved Canadian Association of Rally Obedience Judge for all levels. She has never passed up an opportunity to try a new sport with her Rottweilers, Epic and Saga. Together, they have have trained and/or trialed in Flyball, Agility, Tracking, Trick Titling, Herding, Rally Obedience, Mondioring, and Scentwork.
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Why is nipping such a common issue for puppy owners?
- Puppies just bite, it is a developmentally appropriate behavior for dogs
- There is a genetic component and can be situational as well
- Every puppy is different and they will go through waves throughout the day
- Puppies will teethe
What are some strategies to help manage nipping for owners?
- Scheduling your puppy will help make the nipping more manageable
- Usually working in 45 minute sessions work best, letting them sleep after 45 minutes of play/training
- Toy play
What is the difference between a tired, cranky puppy and a puppy that needs more exercise?
- Compare the behavior to when they are excited and first out of their crate compared to other “excitement” you see
- It is okay to use your feelings, frustration, irritation, annoyance, or tiredness as a way to measure when your puppy needs a break
This podcast is also supported by the Puppy Raising Blueprint course, which you can find at journeydogtraining.com/blueprint. In this course, I guide you through everything from common problem behaviors like biting and potty training to the humane hierarchy of dog training. It’s always available on a self-study basis at journeydogtraining.com/blueprint.
How can toy play help redirect a puppy’s teeth?
- Use toy play in the right kind of situation can redirect your puppies attention to the toy instead of nipping you
- It is a great way to teach your puppy a more appropriate way to interact with you
- You have to make the toy very exciting for them, so it has to be more fun than your hands
Thoughts and tips for teaching bite inhibition?
- The biggest influence is how long they spend with their mothers and siblings
- Puppys being exposed to appropriate adult dogs
- Help puppies manage arousal with toy play, naps, etc.
How to have kids or strangers work with their training instead of against it:
- Be careful who interacts with your puppy
- Its okay to limit interaction, not everyone needs to pet your puppy
Commonly-suggested strategies to steer clear from when dealing with a nipping puppy:
- High-pitched “ow”
- Scruffing and shaking puppies
- Rolling them onto their back
- Ear pinching
- Punishing or physically stopping your puppy will only teach the puppy to stop the behavior, it doesn’t teach them what we want them to do instead and doesn’t teach them how to manage their arousal. It could also terrify your puppy.
- It’s okay if these happen because of an emotional reaction
Where to find Ayoka:
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, as a private dog trainer, and with working detection K9s. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.