Puppy Biting-- how to stop him and other people allowing him.

I picked Tobias up a week ago, and since then he has met many people, including children and adults of different ages and sizes. I really want him to be well socialized, but there's one problem: everyone he meets thinks its cute to let him bite! My dad just roughs with him, my mom smothers him, and strangers just say "oh well you're so cute, and just a baby". One woman even let him bite her face, to be fair I told her NOT to pick him up, but she insisted that she loved puppies and didnt mind after I already asked her to please put him down. He gets nervous when picked up and prefers to be pet rather than smothered. He has been great with children, though he almost nipped a toddler that was trying to attack him (I grabbed the child before and took the bite in the arm). The boy had never seen a puppy and was excited and kept trying to grab him, so the two were separated. I feel mean telling strangers and friends and family that they can't play with him unless they tell him NO or to walk away when he starts biting. When he is home he thinks it's okay to bite me, my boyfriend and the cat. The vet suggested the "nothing in life is free" method, but so far IM having a hard time walking away, as I am frustrated with him and would prefer to just tell him NO and hope it stops. I think I just need a little encouragement, I really want Toby to be a good dog. He's only 9 weeks, so I have plenty of time, but to save my face (he has a thing for faces!) I'd like to get him to stop ASAP!

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You need to insist. You also need to stop caring what other people may think of you, for that moment, because otherwise you won't have the consistency needed to ensure that Tobias learns proper bite inhibition with humans. What is more important to you, right now: what a child, or a stranger thinks of you (Oh my god! I just wanted to pet her puppy, she's such an X!) or that your puppy grows up to be a wonderful companion around human and animal alike? It is a tough call and as someone who had loads of social anxiety and depression, getting the gall to tell people a flat and blunt NO was very difficult. But I had to, for my dog's well-being.

Tell your parents in a straight forward, matter-of-factly way that they need to engage with Tobias in a certain way until he's learned what he needs to, in his puppyhood. Ask if they would enjoy having a full-grown, 15kg+ dog with developed adult teeth doing the same nipping and gnawing. Probably not.

When strangers try to pick him up or smother him, you need to step in. Ace is a rather unusual colour for the dogs out here and as a result, when he was a puppy, he had loads of people wanting to hug him and hold him in their arms. He was terrified, of course, at some random person swooping down and lifting him away from his mum. If they do it incorrectly, it can also be physically uncomfortable for the dog. Just insist. "Tobias needs to keep his four feet on the ground, but you're free to pet him like this" and then show them how to approach your puppy to set everyone up for success.

Very young children and toddlers are usually bad news for puppies (particularly in their fear periods) if they have not been briefed by an adult on how to say hello to dogs. What I found usually works is asking the child to sit down on the ground, and letting the puppy come up to them to say Hi. This ensures the child cannot move freely, and won't be able to kick at or stagger towards the dog in a way that could be perceived as scary.

The children were mostly great, they would all ask to pet him and I sat on the floor with him and the kids, but one boy would not listen and scared him, so the boy was removed from our small circle.

My parents problem is that they have an 8 year old lab with no training, he only knows 'sit' and 'drop it', as a result of lack of training, and they're fine with it. He jumps on people and barks and nips still. It bothers me, I don't like going to my parents house as a result of the dog being so unruly and I do not want Tobias to be like their dog. Their dog was very sweet to Tobias at our last visit, he kept checking in on him and even let him take one of his toys, which he never even let's us people touch his toys!

I was very upset with the woman who let him bite her face, I told her he did not like being held and that he would likely bite her if she did not put him down, and when he did she turned him away and gave him back to me. It shouldn't have to come to that, when an owner allows you to pet their dog you should listen to requests, but this woman insisted she understood that puppies bite. This was the first time I really had to put my foot down, and it felt mean but he could have really hurt her (his teeth are like razors!) and I know it hurts when he bites, I get bit the most, I'd know!

At 9 weeks old he probably doesn't even know what "no" means yet. I would not allow other people to rough house with him, and I would monitor interactions with other people very carefully. If people ask to pet him, get down on his level and hold the leash near his collar - any biting and he should get a sharp verbal correction and move him away from the person immediately. I wouldn't rely on other people to do the correcting for you as most people won't.

He's a bit young for NILF as that really requires him to at least have a solid sit or down IMO. What worked the best to curb biting with our pups was a sharp NO! and then immediately turn your back and ignore them. Walk away if needed. If they persist with being naughty, a stern TIME OUT! and 5-10 minutes alone in a puppy safe room to cool down usually works wonders. Heck mine are 3 and 4 and still act like perfect angels when threatened with the dreaded time out, lol.

It's been annoying to see how many people just stick their hands in his mouth because its "cute", my dad especially. He doesn't have to go home with Tobias and get chewed on because he won't reinforce. All my friends think his little bites are funny and cute. "NO" hasn't quite been set into his mind, so when he is being particularly bitey I pick him up and give him a firm NO so I know he is listening and then I make him sit and give him a toy to chew on.
His 'sit' command is decent when he's inside my home, elsewhere he is distracted, so I can reinforce NILF at home only right now. My boyfriend has a hard time ignoring him at anytime whether its to train or at night when he is in his kennel. I'm the "bad cop" in the house, which I don't mind in the home, but I feel mean in public but it's not as if I am hitting him, it's just a firm NO. I want a well behaved puppy that grows up to be an obedient dog.

He bites, you give a sharp "no!" and ignore/walk away from him. As fr other people, I had the same problem when Lemmy was a puppy. You need to be very firm, and don't be afraid to physically remove him from other people, just be like " He's getting to worked up" and if you get the " Hes a puppy it's fine" just explain " no, he needs to learn proper people skills" and leave it at that.
I hated "being mean" to people, especially strangers, but It's better to be "mean" then have to fight for your dogs life, ebcause some....dummy, claims the dog "viciously bit" them.

It seems in this past week that I've met many strangers who don't think he will grow up to be a dog, so it's okay and cute. It won't be cute to have a full grown dog bite your hands/face/toes. Saying its okay with you and letting him doesn't mean it's okay with me! I don't think people think about it in the long run, especially when it isn't their dog or they don't have on themselves. I'm more or less gettin mad at the strangers than Tobias, it's not his fault that people are overwhelming him.

Exactly! I drove me nuts, even now, that both my dogs are full grown, random strangers think it's ok to reach out and pet my dogs without even saying a dang word to me! It's an unfortunate side effect of having a corgi, they're inviting looking lol.

Crouch down next to him, hold his collar, talk to him soothingly, and say "ah-ah" when he bites. Personally, I would not want a strong "no" associated with interacting with other people; he might over-generalize and think you are scolding him for approaching. I would simply physically control him more. That also makes people interact with him on YOUR terms, since they can't pick him up if you are crouched down next to him.

The good news is, if people think it's cute, he must have decent bite inhibition! If he was biting hard, people would not think it was cute!
By the way, if he were 16 weeks old and already socialized, I would not hesitate to correct him more strongly for biting. My answer is based on his tender age and the fact that he's in the middle of the critical socialization window. You can work on biting over time, but socializing needs to happen in the next few weeks and he should have lots of good experiences.

A lot of great advice here. 9 weeks is really young and he is a work in progress so continue to be patient. I had great luck with a very consistent high pitched dramatic sqreech if teeth touched my skin. As for the other people I am afraid that now is when you must start protecting your dog. If he does not learn not to bite, as he grows older it will become a problem and the same person that rough houses or allows nipping now will hold you and your dog accountable when he is older. I don't think it is fair that every dog bite is legally considered the dog's fault but it is and as owners we have to train our dogs with that in mind. These days pass quickly so enjoy as much as you can!

What you are quickly finding out is that it's harder to train people than dogs! :-D

 If someone walks up to pet him, tell them firmly: "Wait a minute".  Then slip the leash under the arch of your shoe, leaving him room to stand, but not jump. Then tell the person. "He's in training.  He gets very excited and has to learn not to bite, could you gently pet him only on the body, not the head?"  If they start saying "Oh, I don't mind" reply "But I do!, can you help him learn the calm way to greet people, so he does not bite anyone else? I don't want to have to scold him. " ( Don't rush through this part, it will slow down the person as well as allow the puppy a little bit of time to settle ).  Most people will comply if you ask for their help, but you need to really get them to stop and get their attention first.  Keep things low key, the more the pup gets excited, the more he will not be able to cooperate.  If you think the person cannot or will not do what you are asking, scoop up your pup and say, "Sorry, my pup can't handle this yet, we'll keep working on it." and leave.

Don't let ANYONE pick up your puppy. Pups can wiggle out of people's arms and hurt legs or necks or backs in the fall.

If children come up, again use a quick "wait a minute" Then ask them to come up one at a time. Even young children ( 4yrs. old and over) will follow directions nicely one at a time.  Younger than 4, with a pup so young, tell the parents it's not safe yet to let  them pet the puppy. Place your hand on the side of his head that is towards the child petting him, so the child only has access to the body.

Be clear about what you want from each interaction.  Each interaction is a great training opportunity and is free!!!    As for your parents, try having a relaxed conversation with them without the puppy being around, so they can take in what you say without that distraction.  Don't criticize their ways or their dog. Just stick to your guns and be clear about what you want with your own.  Rough housing will always work against you whether it's with your Dad or your boyfriend.....

I like all of this advice. I feel like it's a little early to be frustrated but I hate the face biting and how strangers treat him. I will try harder to walk away when he bites me and to stop strangers from allowing the bite. I like the idea of limiting his range and getting down on his level and not allowing people to touch his head. He really can be sweet but is not quite affectionate yet, and he may not ever be really affectionate, but I atleast want him to be nice. Thanks so much already, I feel more encouraged now to at least get my boyfriend on the same page and then in a few weeks when I go back to see my parents I will discuss it with them.


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