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aggressive puppy biting

Sabrina M. writes, “I have run into a problem with my puppy that I have not had before. My 11-week-old female is going into attack mode: growling, grabbing clothes, and biting legs. I have tried multiple techniques to stop it. We are currently using timeouts. Do you have any other techniques that might work? We want to show her and participate in obedience competitions.”

It is normal for puppies to behave this way; your very young girl is just trying to get you to play. She’s obnoxious at the moment, but she will grow up. For now, make sure that you initiate play with her several times a day. Don’t always wait for her to start things. Fetch and tug are good outlets for her energy. When playing with her, always have a big toy that you can get into her mouth, so that she doesn’t nip you. Ask for sits, downs, and tricks, which will redirect her and give her a chance to earn a reward, either food or play with a favorite toy. These toys should be special ones that she doesn’t have access to unless she is playing with you.

When playtime is over, give her a potty break and then put her up for a rest. When she is loose and attacking your clothes and legs, stop moving and ask her for another behavior that you will reward. If this doesn’t work, calmly put her in her crate with a small treat for a puppy timeout. The crate time is not punishment, it’s nap time. And the treat rewards her for getting into the crate, not for chewing on you (that’s ancient history in your puppy’s mind). When she is getting adequate exercise and attention, it’ll be good for her to chill out in her crate for nap time. As for sports, rally would be the perfect activity for this high-energy pup!


Our dogs are cherished members of the family, sharing our lives and providing unconditional love. But dog owners know that our canine partners have different perspectives on life than we do.

If you have ever asked, “Why does my dog do that?” then this feature is for you. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline training team will answer your questions about dog behavior and offer training advice to help you and your pup have the best relationship possible. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by professional dog trainers. For more information on the service, go to www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.

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