How to Stop a Dog From Biting

Question:

I have a 4 month old wire fox terrier who is a "mouther".  Since I am the main subject of his mouthing affection, I continue to have small punctures and scratches on on my arms, hands and ankles.  He has a number of teething toys and we have tried "no" commands. displeasure yelps, constraint until he calms, bitter apple spray(which he loves), and ignoring him.  While he is improving, his biting continues and seems to increase when he gets tired (when he bites he is placed in his playroom and promptly takes a nap).  He is teething.  Is there anything further we can do to alter the mouthing behavior or is his persistence just a part of his teething?

AKC ANSWER:

Puppies mouth or nip for several reasons.  As you noted, two of the primary reasons are teething & becoming overtired.  Puppies also play with littermates & explore the world this way.  The main message you want to get across is when your puppy nips you – all the fun stops immediately.  Make sure you have a toy when you play with your puppy so he has something besides you to “go after” but if does nip you,  we recommend the following.  Stop all interaction for 5 seconds then resume play.  Remember, no interaction means no talking, no eye contact.  If he continues, stop the fun again & stand up or leave the room for 5 seconds.  If he still continues to mouth or nip you, put him in his crate calmly & quietly.  This is not a punishment, just a time out so be sure he has something to chew on while he’s calming down.  For teething puppies we recommend freezing a stuffed Kong or a frozen Chilly Bone.  In addition to bitter apple, other natural deterrents you might try include lemon juice and diluted hot pepper or vinegar.

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