Those Sharp Little Teeth!

Feel like you are living with a four legged piranha? Can't walk without the little devil latched on to your shoelaces or pant's leg? Torn pants, bleeding ankles, sitting in chairs or on the sofa with your feet in the air....sounds like you've got a puppy in the house! From the sounds of it, puppy is about 7-12 weeks old with razor-sharp baby teeth.And, of course, you're looking for some help!

First thing, think about this.....puppy has come into your home, it's all new to him and before you, he had all his brothers and sisters to play with whenever they felt like it....and now there's only you and your family. He's just playing the only games he knows with the only playmates he's got. So. the job you have to do is teach him the games you like and why he shouldn't play so rough with you. How do you do that? Here's a couple of tips..........

If your puppy has remained with his littermates and mother up until a minimum of 7 weeks of age, he learned some very valuable lessons from them. He learned that if he bit his siblings too hard they wouldn't play with him....they either bit him back very hard or they screamed and turned away.
This taught him just how hard he could bite. You can use this to your advantage.

Take a hint from the other puppies.....when he bites, scream -  OWWWwwww!  ( In your best loud, growl-ly voice! ) Then turn away and ignore him. The clue to see if he got it will be the expression on his face when he realizes that this playmate is a tender creature. If you have puppy toys nearby, take one and re-direct his attention by quietly showing him the toy and tossing it. If he wants to  bring it back, praise him and say "Be Sweet" or "Play Sweet", but don't allow him to drop it and go for you. If he does, don't snatch your hand away. If he grabs it, say "Be Sweet" and give another command performance if he bites hard again. A puppy from a well-adjusted litter will usually get this within 3 tries or less, if you are doing it right......this may be a test of how good an actor you are! ;-)

People often don't realize that by slapping at the puppy or jerking their hands and feet away, they are actually encouraging the puppy. It becomes a new game to him. Slapping the puppy or grabbing his muzzle becomes a way to get attention from you - any attention beats no interaction in a puppy's mind.

If you didn't get a puppy from that well-adjusted home, then you may have to resort to a harsher, different measure. A couple of squirt bottles of water placed around the house, where you can get to them easily, might be a solution. Just tell the puppy "No bite" and give him a squirt in the quick about it and only squirt him if he's trying to bite. Then use the re-direct technique with the toy to show him what is acceptable play for you.

If you have kids or other family members, you must make sure they aren't encouraging the ankle- biting by indulging puppy with unintentional "games". You must teach everyone else what to do so that the puppy is getting the consistent message of not biting.

Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-BACK TO TRAINING YOUR BEAGLE