Puppy Concerns Over Rough Play/Biting

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RuthiesPaw

Boxer Pal
Hey everybody. I'm starting to get a little concerned about my 7 week old puppy's rough play and biting. I'm curious to see what suggestions more seasoned of owners will have. My first concerns is with her biting. I have read about the "ouch!" Technique and allowing a puppy to bite to develop a soft mouth. However, I have tried this over the past week and now have hands and forearms covered with tiny scabs. Also, the allowed biting is fine for me, but what about when my 3 and 1 year old nieces are around? Should I expect my puppy to know not to chew on the toddlers? Also, my puppy seems to really enjoy the rough play a good bit of the time, but this makes my wife very nervous and frustrated when our puppy will aggressively snap at her face. We need to know how much of this type of behavior to allow-when to draw the line & what type of corrective actions are appropriate.
 

Kisaq

Super Boxer
You have gotten yourself a puppy who was too young to leave her litter, so you are going to need to do some research on teaching bite inhibition (not bite prohibition). Their mother and litter mates teach them how and when too much is too much. Now it's up to you.

If you haven't already, I'd pick up Ian Dunbar's, "Before You Get Your Puppy" and "After You Get Your Puppy" asap. Lots of good information in there.

Also, I wouldn't just say "ouch" - the instant her teeth touched skin, I'd YELP really loud and high pitched and immediately stop playing, get up and walk away.

You should also have some good chew toys, nyla bones, and the like, so she can teeth on something other than YOU, something she can really chew on. Something you can re-direct her too when she starts chewing on something you do not want her to chew on (kids toys, or chair legs, or the couch).

That's just a start. :)
Your wife is right to be worried. Puppy needs to learn the rules especially when there are small children in the house. But she is just a baby herself. You can't expect her to know ANYTHING at all!

Not that you've said anything about corrections, but I want to add that punishing her for being a puppy isn't going to do any good and will only teach her that force and pain will get you what you want. You want her to figure out that she WANTS to do what you want because she'll get the good things in life that way. So you remove the valuable thing (that would be YOU and your attention) whenever she is treating you poorly. You may be surprised at how quickly she learns.

Definitely pick up those two books as soon as you can. I promise they will help a lot if you follow the instructions to the letter.
 

RuthiesPaw

Boxer Pal
Thanks!

I will definitely pick up those books and study up on bite inhibition. My wife and I kind of thought it weird that we were able to buy a six week old puppy. To make matters worse, the breeder said that nine of the twelve puppy litter had gone in the two days before we showed up. The litter separation theory makes a lot sense. We're trying to exercise as much positive reinforcement as possible and we've gotten her several chew toys. We try to swap them for us as you suggested. I guess we just need to be patient and consistent. Thank you for your advice!
 
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