Puppy Nipping & Temper Tantrums: How Should You Correct This Behavior?
Articles by Carly O’Malley
Senior Pet Care Specialist and Social Media Coordinator – The Good Dog Spot
Ph.D. Student – Animal Behavior and Welfare Group – Michigan State University
Dogs explore the world around them with their mouths. It is typical for puppies to bite their owners during playful interactions. However, it is important to stop this behavior as soon as you can, and to never reward this behavior with more play. You may think your 8 week-old puppy is adorable as it chews on your fingers, but as he grows and gets stronger, this will become a problem behavior. It is also important to note if your puppy is biting as an act of aggression, to consult a trainer as soon as possible.
Puppies learn bite inhibition from their littermates, which teaches them to control the strength of their bites. Hard bites during play cause their littermate to yelp and stop playing. When your puppy gets home, continue with this training. If your puppy bites, yelp and immediately stop playing. You can leave the room or just ‘turn off’. Try not to yank your hand back because some puppies will see that as playful and try to catch your hand. The same idea goes for a smack to the nose – this will just encourage your puppy to think your hand is a toy. Many puppies respond well to yelping since it is a communication cue they are familiar with. Cease play for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this every time your puppy bites you and soon he will learn that no one wants to play with a biter!
Make sure to provide your puppy plenty of opportunities to use their mouth appropriately. Provide plenty of toys in a variety of textures. Teach him games such as fetch, or fill a Kong toy with food and encourage them to chew on it to earn their meals. Basic training can also help curb your puppy’s biting. The cue, ‘leave it’, is good for teaching impulse control. ‘Touch’ teaches your puppy that a nose to the hand is encouraged but teeth are not. If your puppy is particularly bad with nipping, use bitter apple spray on your hands.
Puppy Temper Tantrums
We discussed what to do if your puppy is biting you during play, but what do you do if your puppy bites you out of anger? Just like human children, puppies can throw temper tantrums. This happens most often when you are preventing your puppy from doing something fun. Maybe you are holding your puppy on your lap while he wants to play, or you are clipping his nails, or giving a bath. In this situation, do not yelp or let go of your puppy. Your puppy wants you to let him go. You do not want to teach him that biting gets him what he wants. If your puppy bites you in this situation or throws a squirmy tantrum, remain calm and unresponsive. It is best to wait until your puppy settles down for a couple of seconds and then release. Keep in mind what that situation was that caused your puppy to have a tantrum and bite, and then continue practicing and rewarding your puppy for good behaviors during handling.
Job Title: Pet Care Assistant
Pets: 4 dogs and 1 cat
Length of Employment: Since 2014.
If you had to do a job at TGDS other than the one you do now, what would it be, and why?
I would like to work at the front desk so that I could interact with the customers.
You get an unexpected hour of free time in the middle of the day-what do you do with that time?
I would play with dogs, or do some extra cleaning.
If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why?
I would be a pitbull because they are big and strong!
Favorite Dog Breed: Pitbull
Favorite Type of Cat: Maine Coon
Favorite Animal: Fossa
Favorite Book: Night
Favorite Movie: The Interview
Favorite Food: Tacos
Favorite Place in Western Mass to hang out: Agawam Bowman’s Club or Tennessee Pipeline, riding my bike.
This week is Poison Prevention Week!!
Every day this week we will be posting about common household items that you should be aware of so you can help protect your adorable canine companion!!
First up: MOTHBALLS.
Toxicity: Generally moderate to severe, life-threatening.
Mothballs are pesticides that slowly release a gas vapor to kill and repel moths (and their larvae) and other insects. The chemicals in mothballs can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Cats are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mothballs, but dogs are more likely to ingest mothballs. BEWARE.
Poison Prevention: 4 LEAF CLOVERS- Might not be so lucky!
Toxicity: Toxic to dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses
Clinical Signs: All parts of the plant have toxic potential, although the possibility of serious effects is usually limited to ingestion’s of large quantities. Consuming Oxalis species can produce colic in horses, and kidney failure is possible if significant amounts are eaten.
Poison Prevention: HAND SANITIZER (Ethanol)
Toxicity: Generally mild to moderate
Like other types of alcohol poisoning, large ingestions of hand sanitizer can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature, resulting in clinical signs of weakness, lethargy, vomiting, collapsing, hypothermia, weak respiration, coma, and rarely death.
Don’t leave your sanitizer out!
Poison Prevention: IBUPROFIN
Toxicity: Generally moderate to severe, life threatening
When pets ingest small doses of an NSAID, it can result in severe stomach ulcers, causing signs of vomiting, bloody vomitus, diarrhea, black-tarry stool, weakness, pale gums (anemia), abdominal pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite. With larger ingestions, halitosis, kidney failure, liver failure and neurological problems (e.g., tremors, seizures) can develop.
Don’t let your canine’s paws get a hold of these pills!
Poison Prevention: FERTILIZER.
Toxicity: Generally mild to moderate, depending on the amount ingested and concentration of the product
Most fertilizers contain various amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They may also contain iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum, some of which may be toxic in large concentrations. (If we can’t pronounce it, we DEFINITELY don’t want them ingesting it!) Fertilizers may also contain herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides which increases the risk of poisoning. While small ingestions of fertilizer may only result in mild stomach upset, larger ingestions can result in severe poisoning from the iron, nitrogen and other chemicals. Large ingestions of meal-based fertilizers may also form a concretion in the stomach resulting in a bowel obstruction or severe and painful inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
We want to make sure you’re prepared for an emergency situation. The Good Dog Spot is hosting a Pet First Aid & CPR Training later this month that we would like to extend to everyone in our area!
Join Us: Sunday March 29th, 10:00am – 3:30pm!
To Register: Pet First Aid & CPR
Will you be joining us for this year’d St. Patty’s Day PAWTY?!?
We wanted to remind you of the rules so everyone enters correctly:
Submit a limerick about The Good Dog Spot by Friday, March 13th.
Entries may be submitted in writing to the front office or via email to: Info@gooddogspot.net.
The top 3 as chosen by our staff will be awarded prizes right before The St. Patty’s Day Pawty! Thursday March 12th!
Teddy began coming to daycare when he was a big fluff ball of a pup at just four months old. All the staff immediately fell in love with his good looks and goofy personality! True to his breed, there was nothing little about him! He towered over most of his friends and had a hard time fitting comfortably into our regular sized crates for nap time. Often times he didn’t realize how big he actually was and he liked to sit on his friends, or ended up knocking them over while trying to play. Did I also mention that Teddy LOVES water? After a hard morning of playing, he can usually be found around the water buckets trying to make an indoor swimming pool. He enjoys cooling off by dunking his head in, grabbing mouthfuls, and proceeding to dump the water all over the floor so he can lay in it! In his younger days he was even able to get a paw or two in the bucket and dig the water out, but not anymore now that he’s grown! His water bucket antics make for some very funny pictures and one very wet dog!
After a short hiatus from daycare until he could be neutered, Teddy came back, and brought with him a little sister in tow! His new little sister, Ellie, adores and looks up to him and he is so gentle with her! He lays on his back and lets her climb all over him, never getting impatient with her! He has done a great job of showing Ellie the ropes at daycare and has set a good example for her on how to behave nicely with the other dogs. Teddy truly is a gentle giant and never fails to win over even the most hardened of hearts with his charms! He certainly is a favorite among the staff and other dogs at daycare