How to Stop Puppy Biting

Puppy biting is normal canine behavior. New puppies or young dogs will try to put everything into their mouths, because they are curious about their surroundings.

Puppies also play with each other through play-biting. When a puppy bites too hard during play, his siblings may yelp and stop play temporarily. Biting too hard on an adult dog (e.g. their mother) may also result in a correction. In this way, puppies learn social rules and boundaries.

There is nothing wrong with dogs or puppies biting each other during play, but it is crucial to teach them not to bite on humans.

A puppy who is not taught this lesson may become a danger to all the people around him, including his owners. Play-biting with humans, especially with seniors and children, may accidentally cause injuries and ultimately result in forced euthanasia.

If our puppy is biting us or others, it is best for everyone not to engage in rough play with him. Also, do not play games that encourage biting such as Tug-of-War.

Bite Inhibition

Some dogs may have low bite thresholds. This means that they resort to biting or aggression even with fairly low, seemingly harmless stimuli.

One of my dogs, a Shiba Inu, can get mouthy when he is excited or frustrated, when I restrain him, when I stop him from doing something, and much more. Because of this, it is extremely important to train him to have good bite inhibition.

I start bite inhibition exercises as soon as I bring a puppy home. Even though puppy teeth are sharp, a puppy does not have the jaw strength of an adult, and is not capable of doing as much damage. Once my puppy has a soft mouth, I train him to stop biting on people.

Hand-feeding is a good way to teach our puppies to control the force of their bites. I hand-feed my puppy at least some of his kibble every day. If he bites too hard when getting his food, I do a sharp ouch or yelp, and ignore him for a few seconds. This teaches him that if he bites too hard, the food stops.

If my puppy is taking food from me gently, I praise him and keep the food coming. Often, I will combine hand-feeding with puppy obedience training, and dog grooming sessions. Hand-feeding can also help prevent food aggression issues, so I continue this practice throughout my dog’s life.

We can also get Ian Dunbar’s book After You Get Your Puppy, for an overview of bite inhibition training.

Initially, Ian Dunbar may come across as somewhat alarmist. We may feel that if we do not meet his somewhat unrealistic dog socialization and puppy training demands, things are going to go badly. I just try to ignore the alarmist talk, and focus on the bite inhibition and handling exercises, which are quite useful.

I am very thankful that my puppy (now adult dog) has a soft mouth. Because my Shiba Inu has good bite inhibition, we were able to solve many of his subsequent issues, which would have been difficult to deal with if he were biting at full strength.

When Our Puppy Bites …

When our puppy bites, it is important NOT to jerk our hand away. If we jerk away, we will likely get scratched. In addition, sudden and quick movements may make our puppy think that it is fun game. This rewards the biting behavior, and encourages him to bite on us even more.

In the worst case, quick movements can activate a puppy’s prey drive, and encourage aggressive behaviors. Therefore, it is important to control this reflex action, and stay still. In addition, I give a No command, or yelp as a puppy might do to his litter-mates, when they are playing too rough.

I usually yelp when it is an accidental dog bite, for example when my dog gets his teeth on me while taking food out of my hand. Yelping is also appropriate for puppies that are still learning the rules. Otherwise, I use No for adult and adolescent dogs, who should know better.

If puppy continues to bite after the verbal command, I usually follow-up with an appropriate preventative technique, which will be outlined below.

Stop Puppy Biting Techniques

While dealing with puppy biting issues, I always try to stay calm, but firm.

If a dog is causing puncture wounds, or escalating his aggressive biting and dominant behaviors (e.g. leg humping), it is best to get professional help as soon as possible.

It is much better to catch problems early on, and fix them before they escalate in degree and frequency.

Stop Puppy Biting Technique 1

Redirect our puppy onto a toy.

This technique is especially useful for an untrained puppy. It lets him know that it is ok to bite on a toy, but not ok to bite on people.

For example, my dog gets excited and starts biting when I scratch his tummy. Therefore, I used that as a training exercise to get him to bite on a toy, instead of on my hand. Since I can start the exercise anytime I want, I control the environment and make sure that I have multiple soft toys nearby for use.

A toy can also be useful for those cases where the puppy is losing control, and getting a bit too excited, or frustrated. Giving him something to redirect his excitement or frustration at, may help to calm him down.

Stop Puppy Biting Technique 2

Push our fist into the puppy’s mouth.

Some trainers suggest making our hand into a fist (so our fingers are safe), and then pushing our fist in gently, when a puppy bites. This is uncomfortable for the puppy, and he will likely release our hand.

While it did get my puppy to release my hand, it did not reduce his biting behavior. In fact, my dog responds badly to any aversive methods. Doing this made him want to bite on me even more, because he got a reaction, and now has something (my fist) to fight with.

Ultimately, this technique was not very effective.

Stop Puppy Biting Technique 3

Spray water on our puppy’s muzzle.

Spraying water worked initially, but only for a very short period of time. Once my puppy figured things out, he started attacking the spray bottle.

Some trainers suggest hiding the bottle, but I wasn’t able to do that fast enough. Little water guns are easier to hide but they leak, run out of water quickly, and do not have a strong spray.

As with all other aversive methods, it is difficult to trick a puppy into thinking that the bad stimulus is not coming from us. This can compromise a puppy’s trust, and weaken our bond with him.

Stop Puppy Biting Technique 4

Time-out.

Most dogs value their freedom to roam around the house and backyard. Dogs are also pack animals, and like being with both human and canine members of the family. Since a time-out takes away both of these things, it is an extremely effective method of dog discipline.

When giving my dog a time-out –

  • I make sure to put him in a really boring room, with no windows that he can reach. Currently, my dog’s time-out area is the laundry room.
  • I check that the room is safe, and contains nothing that he can chew, play, or interact with in any way.
  • Finally, I ensure that nobody gives puppy any attention during his time-out period.

It is better not to use a crate for time-outs. The crate should be a happy place, where our dog feels comfortable going to for some peace and quiet, for sleep, and to chew on his favorite toy.

When my puppy bites, I first use a non-mark, for example, No or Ack-Ack to let him know that it is an undesirable behavior. Then I give him an alternative command, for example Sit. If he stops biting and follows the command, then I praise him and reward him with attention and a fun game. Then, I let him continue with his regularly scheduled program.

If he continues to bite, I start with a timeout-lite by first withdrawing my attention. I do this by standing up, folding my arms, and turning away from puppy. If he escalates his behavior and starts to jump or bite on my clothing, then I quickly remove him to his full time-out area.

I find that a time-out is the most effective way to stop my dogs from biting. However, I only use it when puppy is deliberately acting out, and not for accidental bites.

Initially, I start with a short 1 minute time-out. If my dog continues to bite right after he comes out, I return him to the laundry room for a much longer period of time (about 15 minutes). Be flexible with the time-out duration, and adjust it according to our dog’s age, temperament, and behavior. Some trainers do not believe in long time-outs, while others may ignore their dogs (timeout-lite) for hours or even days.

Do not use time-outs for training mistakes, or lack of motivation.

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Comments

  1. Luna Theriot says

    Hello!

    I recently adopted a 9week old Husky-German Shep mix and am having some issues. I had to relocate to my parents house and now the training has become a nightmare. My parents are…well they have two dogs who are seriously untrained and down right spoiled and I’m worried they are already influencing my husky.

    My father thinks rough play where she (the husky) growls and bites is hilarious and encourages the bad behavior. And my mother is a very…angry sort of disciplinarian who thinks all roads lead to screaming/instant discipline/and rolled-up newspapers.

    In two weeks, she has gone from super sweet to loud/barking and now biting. Any suggestions to this stressed out owner?

    • shibashake says

      With my dogs, consistency and calm energy are very important. If I shout and get angry, they will pick up on my energy, get even more stressed or over-excited themselves, and behave in an even more erratic fashion.

      To get my dogs to stay calm, I need to stay calm myself. I also make sure that everyone in the family stays calm, teaches my dog consistent rules, and follows consistent training techniques. Otherwise, my dog gets confused as to what is required of him, gets anxious, and develops even more behavioral issues.

      Moving homes can also be very stressful to a dog. When I moved, I set up a fixed routine right away for my dog, and consistent house rules. In this way, I create as much certainty as possible, which helped Sephy to relieve stress. I also exercised him more, in quiet hiking trails, where he can relax and enjoy exploring.

      More on what I do with my puppy for biting. Another article on puppy biting.
      More on dog barking.
      Study from UPenn on using physical corrections.
      Hitting a dog as a form of discipline.

  2. Riva says

    Hello,
    I am trying to stop my sisters husky from biting and last night I cracked. I shouted so loud she jumped out of her place. I try a d look after her because my sister works long hours but I am seriously reconsidering this. I have taught the dog good food behaviour no begging and waiting till the food is down. Even taught her the sit command. Problem is that her dominance behaviour has worsen the past few days. I know for a fact that my brother in law has resulted to beating her up for peeing on beds and she is actually scared of him. When she is at my house, she wants my sit on the couch and she jumps on me. Her only way of play is biting and her bites have become stronger instead. Yelping or replacing my hand with a toy, holding her lower jaw, holding her mouth nothing works. If I timeout she begs for play and cry. Also keep in mind that she is 10 weeks old but hasn’t walked outside yet due to ha ping her shots about two weeks ago.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah puppies, especially Husky puppies are very high energy and are going to need a fair amount of supervision, attention, and training. Some things that helped with my Husky puppy-

      1. Redirect her energy towards positive, structured activities
      I did a lot of Frozen Kongs with my Husky puppy. This helps to keep her engaged, and helps her to calm down before nap time.

      I play structured games with her, that have clear rules. This was helpful for teaching her impulse control, and a good outlet for her puppy energy. I do leash training with her in the backyard, as well as obedience training, grooming exercises, and more inside the house.

      I do supervised play sessions with my other dogs. If that is not an option, puppy classes or supervised puppy play-groups with *healthy puppies* are good alternatives for dog-to-dog socialization.

      2. A fixed routine and a consistent set of rules
      My puppy is more calm and able to learn more quickly when there is a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules. A fixed schedule helps to reduce stress, and helps my puppy be certain about what to expect in her daily routine as well as what to expect from me and the people around her.

      If a puppy gets punished for going on furniture one day and gets rewarded on another, then she will get confused and not know what I want from her. Therefore, I make sure to coordinate with all the people in the house to make sure we are on the same page in terms of puppy rules, rewards, and consequences.

      3. Calm energy
      My puppy learns best when I am calm and have a plan. If I get frustrated, stressed, or angry, she will pick up on that energy, become stressed herself, and have a much harder time understanding what I want from her. To teach my puppy to be calm, I try to be very calm myself, and communicate with her in a consistent way.

      Here is more on how I trained my Husky puppy.
      Here is more on how I potty trained my Husky puppy.
      Here is more on how dogs learn.
      Here is more on bite inhibition training.

      I had a lot of difficulties with my Shiba Inu puppy. As a result, we visited with several professional trainers and that was helpful.
      http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/

      It took a fair amount of time, repetition, consistency, and patience, to train my puppy. It takes time to learn to communicate with a puppy, and change instinctual behavior.

  3. Linda Rudolph says

    Hi, I have been reading you website tonight. NILIF was suggested to me for my dog that we adopted 2 months ago. He is a 7 years old Llasa Alpso, he came to Massachusetts with a group of dogs from the Hurricane Sandy area. He has been in 3 foster homes and 2 adoptions and has been returned each time for biting. I did not know how bad his aggression was but we have him and want to get him to stop. His aggression is possession and sometimes just being stubborn and controlling. We know now that we need to be very firm with him and make him work for everything. I will be using your method of training in hopes to getting to stop attacking us. thank you and wish me luck Linda

    • shibashake says

      Four paws up to you for adopting a dog in need! :D

      For more serious aggression cases, it may be best to get help from a good professional trainer. Dog behavior is very dependent on context and temperament. During Sephy’s “difficult period”, we visited with several trainers and it was helpful to have them observe him, his environment, and routine. The trainer also helped us better manage Sephy, so that we could deal with his issues in a safe way.
      http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/

      Some of my experiences on resource guarding.

  4. Devin says

    I just wanted to say thank you for all of the amazing articles! I just got a new puppy a few weeks ago and she’s an absolute terror — Australian Shepherd, Husky, German Shepherd Mix. She’s super smart, but hyper active and not shy to challenge our authority. I must have sat for over an hour and read practically every entry on your site and they were all so insightful, and interesting! Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Haha, yeah an Aussie and Husky mix would certainly make for a very energetic and brilliant dog! She sounds like quite a character. Would love to see some pictures. Which breed do you think she looks most like? I have always thought it would be really interesting to see a Husky/Aussie mix. What is her name?

      Big hugs to your girl!

  5. diana says

    thanks so much for this article. after trying the other things on your list, (and while i had tried this initially when she was younger with varied success) i returned to the yelping when she bites (we have a three-month old shiba) and it was amazing. she looked at me like she really didn’t realize it was hurting before and has been drastically better since then and only occasionally needs reminders. it’s harder to get my husband on board with it (i guess he feels a little silly doing it), but luckily enough the idea seems to have transferred to all biting and not just me. i had trained her not to bite ME with a NO command, but that didnt seem to extend to my husband or anyone else with which she felt comfortable enough to be playful.

    i knew she was sweet, but i never really reckoned on playing to her little sentiments to get such success.

    thanks so much!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba puppy! I am glad that she is responding so well.

      Remember though that Shibas may keep challenging the rules again and again. That is part of their charm. :D

      The Nothing in Life is Free program works well with Sephy, and timeouts worked well in terms of teaching him not to bite on people.

      Big hugs to your Shiba puppy.

  6. Caoilfhionn O'Shanahan says

    This is a great article, really helpful. I was wondering if you could give me some advice; as a first time dog owner who owns a 5 year old cat as well, would it be a stretch to hope that I could adopt a shiba pup (as a family pet) ? Thank you!

  7. Jessica says

    Thanks for the tips. We just adopted a 3 year old pit bull mix. She was extremely calm and docile for the first week as she was sick with a URI, yet we were made aware that she still exhibits lots of “puppy” behavior once the meds kicked in. She walks great on the leash, listening to “with me” and “wait” commands, yet starts to bite when I run with her or if she sees a squirrel, forget it! I may try your “find it” technique or bring her rope toy outside with us to redirect the biting. She also bites when we play, more so just open-mouth play. Getting up and ignoring her seems to help. On top of all this, we have two cats who are living in the bedroom right now because she gets so excited when she sees them and wants to chase. Any ideas on how to curb this? I’m trying to do introductions with treats while she is in her crate. This works and she is very calm during these times. It’s just when she is on the leash during a meeting that she goes crazy! She is due to be spayed once she finishes her medication, so I’m hoping this may calm her somewhat along with training.

  8. says

    Hi I really like your blog, I have a Deaf australian cattle dog (blue) crossed with what we think i german shepherd. I find that the only thing that works is redirecting with a toy, he actually likes the spray bottle so it turned into a reward rather than correction, he is terrified of timeouts (maybe cause of deafness) and the fist soemtimes works but sometimes it just gets him more excited… its gonna take a while before i can fully correct this behaviour he doenst have a soft mouth and i adopted him when he was 1, so by then he had already learned to play bite and hard… not to meniton at the time i was living with 3 other boys .. well grown ups but they had no problem playing roughhousing with him…

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Maria.

      In terms of soft mouth training, I mainly do hand-feeding exercises with my dogs. It helps to teach them to control the force of their bites, especially when interacting with people. Here is a bit more on what I do-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/bite-inhibition

      I keep up with the exercises even today, so that they remember to always be more careful around people.

      Big hugs to your boy!

    • shibashake says

      From the video, it looks like the Beagle puppy is getting somewhat overwhelmed.

      When bringing in a new dog, there is a lot of uncertainty. The new dog does not know what is expected of him and what to expect from my other dogs. Similarly, my existing dogs do not know what to expect from the new dog. Rules and structure are especially important because they help to reduce uncertainty and stress.

      With my dogs, I set up a consistent routine and a consistent set of interaction rules. I also set my dogs up for success and create as many positive experiences as I can. In this way, my existing dogs see the new puppy as an enhancement to their lifestyle – not as someone they need to compete with, or need to keep away.

      I do not allow any kind of bullying, stealing, or humping. I teach each of my dogs what the rules are, and what is good playing behavior and what is not acceptable. I supervise them very closely during play, I have many play breaks, I manage their level of excitement, and I make sure that their interactions are positive. When in doubt, I always err on the safe side and throw in positive play-break. I also do group obedience training, and reward them well for focusing on me, and being calm in each other’s company. If my older dogs want to rest, I make sure they have a safe and peaceful spot that is puppy free.

      Here is more on what I do to introduce a new puppy to my existing dogs.

      This article from the RSPCA talks about how to find a good trainer or behaviorist.

      Here is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers site for the UK-
      http://www.apdt.co.uk/dog-owners/choosing-a-trainer

      Here is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers site for the US-
      http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/

  9. Nour says

    Hi, I got my Siberian husky puppy about a month ago, maybe a little more, (he was 12 weeks old) we’ve been working on the biting habit since we got him, he started getting better,but now he’s reached the teething phase and is doing it more than he was before, I will go to play with him, and he will immediately start to jump up and bite anything, he doesn’t stop, I will stand up and turn around not looking at or talking to him, but he won’t stop, he hasn’t broken flesh unless I’ve jerked back, but its starting to hurt really bad….
    Do you have any advice?

    Ps. I’ve tried the fist, the water, and I did exactly what the breeder said where you hold their mouth closed as a mother would do, with a strict no, but he still persists becoming more excited… Please help

  10. Jonah says

    Hello, my name is Jonah and I am only 11 years old.
    I had a dog who is a crossbreed dog.He is black with white paws I don’t really know what he’s breed is because he was just given by the patient of my mom. I tried EVERYTHING just to stop his puppy biting. Even if i gave him a toy he will just drop it and chew our slippers and now he is biting my younger cousins. When i tie him with a collar with a leash, he will bite the leash and yelp. I don’t know what to do. He is my first puppy and i love him so much.. What will I do? What have I done wrong? Please help me :’(
    I don’t want him to be taken away from me, just because he has an attitude like that :(

    • shibashake says

      With my dogs, I find that it is best when everybody in the household helps with the training and agrees on a consistent set of rules and a consistent set of techniques. Otherwise, the dog will get confused and stressed, because the rules are always changing.

      In terms of biting, dogs do not know what they are allowed to chew on and what they are not allowed to. My dog also likes chewing on slippers because slippers absorb scent, and smells a lot like us. This makes it a lot more interesting than a regular toy which does not smell like people or animals. A new dog is also under a lot of stress because everything has just changed – chewing can help a dog to relax and relieve stress.

      When I get a new dog, I set up a consistent set of rules and a consistent routine. In this way, he knows exactly what to expect from me, and also exactly what I expect from him. I observe him to see what he likes and dislikes, and use those things to motivate him. Here is more on how I trained my puppy. However, I don’t do it alone – everyone pitches in and we train our dogs together.

      When in doubt, I get help from a professional trainer-
      http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/

    • A. Smith says

      What a remarkable young man you are, Jonah. I am very impressed with your heartfelt concern and that you took the initiative to write and ask for help. I hope that your family supported you in your efforts to resolve the situation and that everything has worked out for you and your dog.

  11. JohannaB says

     My puppys’ name is Bella she is a sweet, lovable puppy, a malti poo mix with shih tzu. The thing is my dad is rarely home but I can tell that for Bella my dad is the “Pack Leader” and I am having some  trouble with her, my dad has try to instruct me on how to become the “Pack Leader” because Im the one handling Bella the whole time but she bites me as if attacking me sometimes when I want to pet, groom her or when I take her to the backyard to potty she will start running like crazy, smell everything, eat everything and then she goes straight to biting my pants or leg and starts jumping and pulling me. She doesnt recall when I want to get her inside the house she loves to be outside eventhough I take her 5-6 times a day for 10-15min. I have try to make her follow me but everything else looks more interesting to her than walking with me. I try to give her time to sniff around but now it takes most of the time I know I must have done something terribly wrong to have her act like that on me. But the weird thing is eventhough she “attacks” me she will follow me every where and will want to be with me but only inside the house. I am trying to be calm and assertive but my dad says I have too much heart with Bella, to be honest I cried for 2 days because I love her so much and it hurts me to see her being like that to me, makes me feel like I did something bad to her, like she is scared of me and at the same time on constant guard. Bella has been with me for about 3weeks so I know there is still time but I really dont want to reinforce her biting for her to be more agressive I tried not pulling away and she grabs me even more I tried giving her toys but then drops it and goes back to me even when I give her a time out but still she bites and now she is starting to bite others except my dad. PLEASE HELP Me. What can I do? What did I do wrong? She is the first pet I have and I love her so much.

  12. Anonymous says

    I have a 5 month old huskey/lab collie retriever. We’ve had him since he was 7 weeks old, and was really easy to house train ( he stoppped having accidents in the house only 1 week later) and listns to simple commandfs like sit, stay, come, shake a paw and stay. But I am sensing a problem. When my partner is around Sparky listens very well, doesnt’t bite or jump on ewither of us. As soon as my boyfriend leaves though, and i mean within a minute, Sparky comes to me whgile I am sittin on the ouch and crows me. Jumps all over me and bites me. He also humps myu lefg alll the time. He bites my legs and ankles everytime i take him out by myself. But doesnt do any of that to my boyfriend. Please help how do I fix this before he gets agressive??

  13. tom says

    I just got a cross (westy and jack Russel) Most of the time what you said works, but how can i prevent from eating the carpet and the little tassels attached to it?
    Also, he is only 2 weeks old, the No thing works, and when he stops and walks away i reward him, is that good or should i do something else?

    • shibashake says

      Also, he is only 2 weeks old

      2 weeks is really young. Do you mean 2 months?

      What I usually do, is that I no-mark, and then I redirect my puppy onto a toy or give her an alternative simple pre-trained command, e.g. Sit. If my puppy redirects, then I mark the behavior (Yes) and I reward her very well with a game and a lot of attention. This makes the toy a lot more interesting and rewarding than a carpet.

      If she does not redirect and continues to chew on the carpet, then I usually body block her away from the area and get her to do something else.

      If she keeps repeatedly going back, then I briefly restrict her freedom by keeping her with me. For example, if I am in the kitchen, she comes in there with me and I close the kitchen door. I give her toys to play with and chew while she is in the kitchen with me.

      In this way, she learns that
      chewing on toys = fun game and lots of attention,
      chewing on carpet = get body blocked away and possibly lose her freedom to roam.

      But I only do this with an older puppy that is at least over 8 weeks old. It is usually best to leave puppies that are younger than that with their litter mates and mother.

      Here is a bit more on how I trained my puppy.

  14. M.Vachon says

    I recently got a German shepherd puppy (she is currently 9 weeks old), and as cute as she is, she’s biting VERY aggressively. When she bites, it’s hard to stay still because when giving her a strict (or what I hope sounds strict) NO, she continues to bite, and bite, and bite! Ankles, calves, hands, arms, feet; scratches and bruises galore! We try to give her a toy to bite on when she does bite us, but she loses interest in it immediately and returns to biting, sometimes even more aggressively.
    Soon enough, the frustration gets to me and I end up trying to push her away, which results in her growling, barking, and biting some more. It’s probably not good to do that, but it’s excruciating and the impulse is grandiose. We try to put her in her cage (because we are only keeping her in a small part of the house for now) but because we are away most of the day (8:00 – 12:00 pm and 1:00 – 3:00, sometimes later), I feel wrong putting her in there. I know she just wants to be loved but how can we shower her with affection if it’s not in a justifiable situation?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, in the beginning, our puppy will not understand what “no” means. To give the word “no” meaning, we will need to associate it with an appropriate consequence. Here is a bit more on the no-mark.

      When my puppy bites,
      1. I no-mark to indicate that it is an undesirable behavior, then I give her an alternate pre-trained command, e.g. Sit, or redirect her onto a toy.
      2. If she does the Sit and calms down, then I reward her well with food, attention, and a fun structured game.
      3. If she does not listen and continues to bite, then I fully withdraw my attention by standing up, folding my arms, and turning away from her. I make sure *not* to touch her, talk to her, or give her any eye contact.
      4. When my puppy bites at me, she is usually looking for attention and play. Therefore I want to teach her that -
      Unrestrained biting = no attention,
      Sitting and being calm = attention, food, and games.
      5. If my puppy escalates her behavior and jumps on me or bites at my clothing, then I calmly say timeout and remove her to a timeout area. I *do not* use her crate for timeouts and I start with very very short timeouts. A bit more on how I do timeouts with my dogs.

      I also do bite inhibition training to teach them to control the force of their bites. This is a very good skill because it allows them to meet and greet people in a safe way.

      Getting help from a professional trainer can also be helpful.
      http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/

  15. Jennifer says

    I got a new shih tzu puppy and he is 10 weeks old. He keeps biting my fingers and my clothes. Why? Sometimes he ignores the chew toys I give him and keeps biting me. Then when I dont give him much attention he starts whining. What do I do? I also lay down newspapers for him to poop and pee on but he just rippes it up and goes somewhere else and I even spray training spray on the newspapers. How do I get him to stop ripping it and use it as a washroom? Please Help!

  16. chelsea says

    hello there :)
    I have stumbled onto your site in my desperate attempts to train my 9 week old siberian husky. Things are slowly coming along and I am going to try your suggestions. The one thing I have not found is how to deal with him when we eat. I have done the whole he eats after we do and I do not free feed him. But he still begs and tries to jump on the table and I don’t want to have isolate him every time we eat I want to teach him not to do it. Any tips ?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Chelsea,

      Congratulations on your new Sibe puppy! They are adorable, furry balls of energy. :D

      What I do with my dogs during dinner time is that they have a bed/mat/place that I tell them to go to near our eating area. When dinner is served, I get them all to “go to your mat”. Then, during dinner, I reward them from time to time for staying calm and staying in their spot.

      If they come over and jump on people, then I no-mark and get them to go back to their mat. I don’t reward them right away – but only after they have been on their mat for a time. I make sure they never get any food for jumping or other undesirable behaviors (even by accident). The only time they get rewards during people dinner time is when they are calm and resting on their mat.

      With a new puppy, a fair number of repetitions may be necessary. This may make it difficult to actually get any dinner at all. Therefore, when Lara was a puppy, I also set up an enclosure area close to the eating space. I set it up so that she can still see us and be part of the family. She goes into the enclosure at the start of dinner. I ignore any whining, etc. Usually she will calm down and rest. If she is calm for a while, then I let her out, and she gets a frozen Kong to work on for the rest of dinner. I try to finish dinner more quickly so that I can help her with her Kong once I am done.

      In this way, she learns that being calm = get to come out and get a frozen Kong. In addition, the Kong gives her something to do while we are eating dinner. Then, I make sure to finish dinner while she is still engaged with her Kong, so that I set her up for success, and we end on a really positive note.

      Once Lara got better, I skipped putting her in the enclosure and she gets the Kong at the start of dinner on her mat.

      I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. Controlling resources is a really good way to motivate my dogs to learn and follow house rules.

      Big hugs to puppy!

  17. says

    Hello I love your site I just have a 3 month shiba inu my kids got for christmas her name is Cookie and we are in love with her we give her tons of hugs my husband, kids and myself but she is starting to bite all the time eventhoug we have said no, etc, hoe can we make her stop I know she is playing but my 8 years old is starting to be afraid of her any advice.
    thanks

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      Yeah, Sephy was also very mouthy when he was young. When my Shiba, Sephy bites, this is what I do -
      1. I stay very calm and no-mark the behavior to let him know that it is undesirable.
      2. Then, I give him an alternate pre-trained command or I redirect him onto a toy. If he redirects, then I mark the behavior and reward him well by playing with him.
      3. If he does not redirect, then I withdraw my attention by standing up, folding my arms, and ignoring him (no talking and no eye-contact). If he stops mouthing, then I reward him by playing with him again.
      4. If he escalates his behavior and starts to jump on me or bite my clothing, then I say “timeout” and calmly take him to his timeout area.

      I do not allow Sephy to interact with children unless everyone is in a calm state. As soon as he gets excited and starts to mouth, I no-mark and bring him away using his lead. Then I get him to calm down. When he is calm, I can try repeating the greeting.

      Some other things that help with Sephy -
      1. Following the Nothing in Life is Free program. I make him work for all of his food, for attention, for playing, or anything else that he wants.
      2. I set-up a fixed schedule and a consistent set of rules.
      3. I socialize him to new objects, new environments, and new experiences, in a positive way.

      Big hugs to puppy!

  18. Leslie says

    I have a major problem… I have a 7 month old neutered male shiba Inu named Jasper. to say he is a handful is an understatement. He is always hyper and very mouthy. When I try to interact with him he bites and sometimes even goes for my face! When he does this I yelp and walk away removing myself from him so he see that kind of behavior is unacceptable, howver it doesn’t seen to help much. He also tries to bite at my parents older dogs, but I think this is more playful than harmful, but he does hurt. He also has taken a liking to now chewing the walls! He has so many interactive toys and we give him attention and love eveyday, i don’t know what to do at this point. The chewing and the biting has to stop… what can we do?

    • shibashake says

      With Sephy, this is what I do -
      1. I no-mark when he bites on me, and I redirect him onto a toy or give him an alternate command. This tells him not only what *not* to do, but also what *to do* instead.
      2. If Sephy redirects, then I mark the behavior (Yes), and reward him well with food and a favorite game.
      3. If he does not redirect, then I calmly stand up, fold my arms, and turn away from him. I ignore him until he calms down and stops biting.
      4. If he stops biting, then I mark the behavior, and reward him by continuing to play with him.
      5. If he escalates his behavior and jumps on me or bites on clothing, then I say “Timeout” and calmly take him to his timeout area.

      Some other things that help with Sephy during his puppy days-
      1. Fixed routine and a consistent set of rules.
      2. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.
      3. A lot of structured exercise.
      4. I make Sephy work for all of his food through obedience exercises, grooming exercises, following play rules, house rules, and more. Whatever is left over, I put in interactive food toys.
      5. I try to stay very very calm. Sephy is very sensitive to my energy, so if I get stressed or frustrated, he picks up on that and gets even more crazy.

      Here is a bit more of what I learned from Sephy.

  19. Angela says

    Hello!! Your site if very helpful! We have a 7 1/2 month old Shiba and he is a HANDFUL. He’s adorable and funny and full of energy, but he’s unfortunately also full of biting.

    Initially he did really well with a firm NO and the time out lite that you discuss. However, he got neutered Oct 2, and since that cone came off, he has been full force!! At first we thought it was puppy payback for a few days, but he is NOT stopping.

    A firm NO makes him nip/attempt to bite again. He is not aggressive in the sense that he’s angry, but he is playing very aggressively. We did some tug-o-war with him at one time, but once we found out that could increase aggression, we stopped. Now we do alot of ball throwing with him. Unfortunately, I have the bad habit of jerking away, which leads to marks and some broken skin, and our little pup thinks Mom is playing so he continues. I try so hard to stay still, but sometimes it’s a shock when he does it and it’s a genuine reaction, or he goes back again harder for a reaction.

    We have started time out. He seems to be doing better with this, but I have to be honest, he’s wonderful at the game Catch Me If You Can. Sometimes it’s so hard to get him that when we do, we have no idea if he even knows why he is going into time out! We will say ‘no bite’ while we are putting him in there to hopefully seal the deal.

    Time out hasn’t officially caught on yet for him. He will lunge and bite (I have bruises everywhere) and evade us. He’s much worse with me – I wondered if it was because I work different hours so sometimes I’m not there as much to build that bond with him? I try to run through his tricks with him (sit, down, stand, stay, etc) to build a bond but I’m not sure it’s working. He will really just come out of no where and be so defiant. Again, we start with NO, then time out lite which he will bite me during, then time out is a strugge and a half to get him too b/c he’s biting and jerking the whole time. I don’t want to make it ‘aversive’ but darn it, I have to get him in there somehow!!!

    Many people have told us to pin him down to assert our dominence. My fiance has started this and although he’s not as bad with him, he continues to get worse with me. I tried it once and could hardly hold him, and afterwards I cried in the other room I was so upset by pinning him down.

    This is also becoming a big problem b/c one of the girls that will watch him occasionally – he is starting this with her as well. We know it won’t change overnight and that we must be consistent, but we just want to know if there are tips and if there is an end in site!! He will use his adorable faces to melt my fiance, and as much as I melt on the inside, he still goes to time out.

    Whew. I got a little long winded :o) Please let me know any feedback you have!!! We welcome it all!!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Angela,

      Yeah Sephy was really into the “Catch Me If You Can” game as well. Sometimes, he would even grab the tv controller and run around just to start the game. After some of this, I learned that the best way to deal with the “Catch Me If You Can” game, is to not play it with him. Chasing him only rewards him for the bad behavior, and encourages him to keep repeating it.

      I put a drag-lead on Sephy, only with a flat collar (*not* an aversive collar) and only under supervision. When Sephy starts one of his ‘games’, I just step on the lead, say “Timeout” and calmly take him to timeout. The key with a lot of dog training is timing. We want the consequence or reward to come as close as possible to the behavior. In addition, we do not want to inadvertently reward the dog, for example by letting him turn things into a game.

      Another thing that was very important with Sephy is my own inner energy. I found that if I was angry, frustrated, stressed, or fearful, he would pick up on my energy, get stressed himself, and act even more Shiba-crazy. What really helped me, is to come up with a plan for each and every one of his Shiba-moves. In this way, I could stay calm and just execute my plan. Things started to improve a lot once once I was able to control my own energy.

      Here are some of my early experiences with Sephy and how I established pack leadership.

      Many people have told us to pin him down to assert our dominence.

      This is also called the alpha roll. I was starting to go down this road with Sephy, and it really did not work out well at all. Sephy is a very tough dog and he is very stubborn. He did not respond well to alpha rolls or other physically based aversive techniques. He would fight back every time and we were starting to lose his trust.

      Here is an article on the difficult times I had with Sephy.

      Here are some additional things that I learned from training Shiba Sephy.

  20. Jenny says

    We are really struggling with our 9 week old border collie. He can be so lovely and gentle but then when he starts biting he gets more and more aggressive and nothing we do seems to stop him. He has got worse and has drawn blood a couple of times. HELP?!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Border Collies are bred to be a very strong work dog so they are extremely energetic and need a lot of exercise and activity. Otherwise, they will go looking for something to do on their own.

      What have you tried in terms of training techniques? I find bite inhibition training to be very useful with all of my dogs. I also follow the NILIF program and institute a very fixed routine + consistent rules at home.

      Nevertheless, given the hardness of the bites, it may be best to consult with a professional trainer. I visited with a few trainers during Sephy’s difficult puppyhood. Finding a good trainer was not easy and none were perfect, but they were helpful in getting us through some difficult times.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/finding-a-dog-trainer

  21. Paul says

    Ok, thanks for clarifying. But even when I am just petting her she begins to nip my hands. How should I react to that?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, my young Sibe Lara also does that when I scratch her or give her tummy rubs. With Lara, she is trying to play/interact back with me. She is usually very gentle, so I just redirect her onto one of her chew toys, and continue playing with her.

      If she bites hard, then I do the yelp thing and withdraw my attention briefly. Then, I ask her for a simple command. If she does it, I reward her by playing again.

      However, keep in mind that I use techniques that work well with my dogs. Different dogs have different temperaments, and surrounding context also matter a lot. In general, I try to keep an open mind, try out a variety of safe techniques, carefully listen to my dog, and tweak techniques according to his preferences and quirks.

      When I started training Sephy, I got a lot of bad information from his breeder and vet tech. This led to some bad decisions, and some really difficult times for Sephy and me. Now, I get information from a variety of sources, sort through what makes sense, and is consistent with behavioral science, and then give it my best shot. :D

      Here are some of my dog training mistakes.

      Big hugs to your puppy! She is a very lucky girl.

    • shibashake says

      Sorry that I was unclear.

      With bite inhibition training, we want to train the dog to control the force of her bites. Therefore, some biting is necessary so that we may teach the dog to be gentle with people.

      This is why I like hand-feeding. I start easy, by using a flat palm and letting puppy just get at a piece of kibble. After she is good with that, then I cover the food a bit more with my fingers. Likely, puppy will accidentally bite on me while trying to get at the food – which is when I do the yelp and stop feeding briefly. As suggested by Dunbar, we can initially skip the softer bites and only stop feeding for the harder bites.

      Then, I start again at an easier stage and slowly increase the challenge. I want the session to be positive and rewarding for my puppy, so I don’t want to make it too difficult (e.g. yelping and stopping all the time). However, it should not be too easy either, so that puppy *will* make some mistakes and learn from them. Therefore, I start by correcting the harder bites, then I slowly increase the challenge to softer bites, then at the end (if it makes sense), I correct all bites.

      Note that with hand feeding, the puppy is not trying to bite at me. She is simply trying to get at the food. Because of the way I hold the food, it may be necessary to come in contact with my fingers and hands to get at the food. In this way, I try to teach them that when they *do* need to come in contact with human hands – to be gentle.

      During play time, it is a similar thing. I start with a lower energy game, where my hands are not in the way. If puppy accidentally bites too hard, then I yelp and stop play briefly. Then I start again at an easier stage and slowly increase the challenge. In this case, puppy is interested in playing and getting at the toy; she is not trying to bite me. I have found structured “play training” to be a good way to teach my puppy to control her bites, even when she is somewhat excited.

      Both activities are structured and planned, so it is a safe situation where I do not expose puppy to more than she can handle. During puppyhood, I did not let Lara meet with children or seniors unless she was on-leash, calm, and I feel that I have good control over her. If she gets over-excited, we leave. In this way, she never practices biting on children and seniors, and she learns that excited playing is not allowed with children and seniors. However, she has an outlet for more rigorous play with my other dogs and with me.

      Finally, not all bites are equal. In the situations outlined above, the bites are accidental, and in fact, orchestrated by me for training purposes. I do not allow herding, biting out of frustration, or guarding – no matter how soft the bite or even if there is no contact.

  22. Chris says

    Unfortunately the create is the only place here in our house where my 9week old sibe can do time-outs. He loves to chew, pull and bite things, sometimes he turns his attention to my feet, slipper, and anything that interests him to chew which I don’t like and I have to stroke his face aside. Sometimes when playing he also bite my hands when he likes to which caused me a couple of bruises. The only thing that could stop him is to either put him inside the create and leave him be til he fall asleep, or give him toys that interests him.

    After a couple of days from bringing him home together with other behavior issues, it is starting to wear me down and I feel bad when I apply force to him just to stop him. I don’t want to get his behaviors any worse, or I’ll have to give him away.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Chris,

      Puppies are a lot of work, and Sibe puppies are likely more work than many other breeds because they are very high energy. It is part of their breed make-up. As a result, they need a lot of exercise, attention, and play throughout the day. If I do not provide enough structured activities for my Sibes, they will find their own activities, which are not so structured and not very furniture or people friendly.

      Not having an enclosed backyard, and being unable to keep the dog inside the house, makes things even more difficult.

      All my dogs, especially my Sibes need a fair amount of off-leash time, just to run around, dig, wrestle, etc. In my old house, I also did not have a backyard, so I took my dog to the local SPCA to play. They had a nice enclosed play space, where they allow outside people to use.

      I fully cleared out one of the rooms in my house, and made it into a puppy play-room. When puppy was too young to be out and about, I would play with him there, and also invite friendly puppies over to play with him. We also did puppy class so he could socialize with other dogs.

      Sometimes, I would take him to a quiet nearby school field (after hours when is nobody else around), where I let him run around on a long-lead (I hold the lead).

      Sibes have high prey drive and are bred to run. Therefore, they are not to be trusted off-leash unless they are in a fully enclosed space.

      Here are some of my experiences with training my Sibe puppies-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-obedience-training
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-i-trained-my-husky-puppy
      http://shibashake.com/dog/build-a-strong-bond-with-your-dog

  23. Paul says

    I have a 7 1/2 week old puppy Shiba and she bites a lot. I know it is play biting, but it is kind of annoying and she play bites children too which is not ok. So I read that “AFTER you get your puppy book” and it reccomends letting you puppy bite you and just teaching it how hard to bite. But any type of biting is not ok with children so what am I supposed to do. Should I not let her bite at all ever? Or should I let it go because she is a puppy?

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      With my dogs, I train them on bite inhibition through hand-feeding and through structured play time with me. All other times, they follow the no-bite rule.

  24. SK0314 says

    Hi there. We recently adopted an adorable labrador retriever/ alaskan husky mix puppy from a local rescue center. He is now 18 weeks old. While we’ve taken a 6-week basic, positive-reinforcement based puppy class and have been successful in some aspects of his training (i.e. potty training, crate training, some commands like sit, easy, stay, etc.) our most concerning areas right now are loose leash walking and biting. Our pup has moments where he lunges and bites us and while I wish I could say they’re just those cute puppy nips, his bites have gotten stronger and definitely do hurt (to the point where I’m wearing 6-7 bandages at the moment to heal the scars). We’ve tried to recognize a pattern around when these bites happen or what may be triggering them, but can’t seem to notice any particular trigger. It often happens while we’re out walking him or when we’re on the stairs walking back up to our apartment but it has also happened when he’s just playing with his toys where we’re sitting in the house (he’s never off the leash even in the home). We’ve both tried to maintain a calm, assertive energy around him to establish ourselves as the leaders but with the biting episodes he’s had recently, our first instinct is our safety and we can’t help be a little scared. Also, in typical puppy fashion, he has a tendency to put anything and everything in his mouth while we’re on walks (twigs, leaves, paper scraps, etc.) and sometimes we try to remove something more concerning he puts in his mouth and wonder if occasionally, he reacts to not liking us taking something out of his mouth. But then again, sometimes we haven’t removed anything at all from his mouth and he still lunges and bites.

    Regarding leash walking, we do not reward him with treats or affection when he pulls the leash but he still tends to drag us. We’ve tried the approach you call red light/ green light on your site and also tried turning in the opposite direction, but neither has worked and he’s getting big pretty fast and I often have a hard time stopping him myself from going forward when he’s trying to pull.

    I understand this site is focused on shiba inu training and behavior but if you happen to have any suggestions for us, they’d be greatly appreciated. I work from home but since we’ve brought our puppy home, have felt like I need to make his training my full-time job in order for it to be effective. We do want to establish a strong bond with him and would prefer to train him ourselves, but are not sure if we need professional help at this point. Thanks for your time!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I went through a similar experience with my Shiba Inu Sephy. With Sephy, it started during a walk at the park. He had just done a No-2, and I was picking it up. He usually gets somewhat hyper during this time, and was frustrated that we were not moving. So he started attacking the leash. I did not really know what to do – so it took some time to get him to calm down, then we continued walking.

      However, in the next few weeks he started to repeat this behavior every time after a No.2. Then, he started to try it in other contexts where he was frustrated or stressed. For example, there is a busy street in my old neighborhood. I would get a bit tense when crossing, and try to get Sephy across quickly. Sephy sensed my tension and got tense himself. He started leash biting after we crossed the busy street. He started leash biting when other dogs barked at him and he got excited. He started leash biting when I tried to get him up and moving. … I got quite scared of him.

      Sephy continued to repeat and escalate the behavior because from his point of view, it worked and was very rewarding. Whenever he went into a leash biting frenzy, I would back off and he got to have a fun time attacking the leash and then return to doing whatever he wanted. There was no bad intent behind his actions, he was simply using behaviors that were rewarding to him, and leash biting was very rewarding.

      Some things that helped with Sephy-
      1. First, I addressed things at home. It is easier to deal with aggression at home, because I can just no-mark the behavior, and give him an alternative command. If he ignores it, and gets more crazy, I put him on a short timeout. In this way, his crazy leash biting is no longer rewarding. When he leash bites at home or shows any kind of aggression towards me, he loses his freedom and his access to people. I use his drag lead to take him to timeout.
      2. I follow the NILIF program. With NILIF, Sephy has to do something simple for me, before he gets what he wants, e.g. food, toys, attention, access to the backyard. This teaches Sephy that following house rules is very rewarding because it gets him the things that he wants most.
      3. I had very consistent house rules and a very fixed routine for Sephy. I would plan everything out, so we knew exactly what to expect from each other. This helped to reduce stress and fear for both Sephy and me.

      As you say, getting a good professional trainer can also be helpful. We had many one-on-one training sessions during Sephy’s first year. I also read a lot of dog training books and visited a lot of Shiba message boards.

      Here is a bit more on my difficult time with Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/pack-leader-to-an-aggressive-dog
      http://shibashake.com/dog/the-dominant-dog-dealing-with-dominance-in-dogs
      http://shibashake.com/dog/afraid-of-your-dog

      Here are some of our experiences on resource guarding and eating trash during walks-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/resource-guarding-shiba-inu

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

    • SK0314 says

      Thanks for taking the time to reply! All helpful info. We’ve been trying out the timeout approach which seems to work somewhat. Just a follow-up question though: when our pup is having one of his biting outbursts (biting the leash, biting our clothes, or worse, biting our legs or thighs) and not listening to any commands or not getting the hint when we disengage with him, what’s the best way to get him to the timeout destination?

      Thanks again!

    • shibashake says

      During Sephy’s difficult times, I used his drag-lead to take him to timeout. I try my hardest to be very calm with him, and then just say timeout and get him there on-lead.

      I only use a drag-lead when I am around to supervise. I use a flat collar (*not* an aversive collar) with a light lead, and I cut the loop on the lead so that it does not catch on furniture. While using a drag-lead, we want to make absolutely sure that the dog is safe, and that the lead or collar does not get stuck on furniture.

    • SK0314 says

      Hi there,

      So, 4 months after my last post, we’re still having issues with our pup biting and attacking us when we take him out (for walks and/or to eliminate) and on the way back up the stairs to our place at the end of each walk. We invited a professional trainer to our home and tried everything she suggested but it doesn’t seem to be helping. We’re a bit weary of inviting her again or any others since in all honesty, they charge an arm and a leg and we just can’t afford it at the moment and we’re not so confident on how helpful they really are. I’ve emailed a few trainers in hopes that someone can give suggestions but everyone wants the 100+ bucks to come to the house and doesn’t seem willing to give any helpful advice otherwise. Our friends have suggested something similar to puppy boot camp but that runs at least $1200.

      The professional trainer suggested standing still and marching pup right back up to the apartment when he acts up on walks but the issue with realistically translating this into practice is that when pup starts to go ballistic, if we stand still he grabs clothing/body parts/whatever he can dig his (sharp!) teeth into and pulls us in the direction he wants (and at nearly 60 lbs now, he’s strong enough that we can’t resist) and so marching him back towards home doesn’t work either in that situation. At that moment, we’re in so much pain (and now, embarassment as it happens so much), that all we can think of is getting his teeth off of us and getting him back in the house. Once, I even had to hold his mouth closed for a whole block to get him back in our building.

      It’s getting extremely draining, trying, and disappointing and we really don’t know what else to try. We had some guests for Thanksgiving and even afterwards and to our sheer embarrassment, he even started getting bitey with them… painful bitey. It may be that his way of instigating play is jumping, lunging and biting but there’s gotta be a way to make sure he knows it is NEVER ok to grab human body parts or clothing- especially when it’s so painful. Again, any advice you might have would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I got really embarrassed with Sephy in the beginning as well. The thing that I realized later on though is that being embarrassed only made him act more crazy. Here is an article on our early experiences.

      While training Sephy, I learned that timing, execution, and energy are very important. We want to time our consequences and rewards to be close to the behavior, have a plan and execute it well, and control our own energy. If I am calm, then Sephy is also a lot more calm. I talk about this more here -
      Pack leadership.
      Controlling energy.

      When Sephy bites at home, I do timeouts. I describe this in detail in the article above.

      For leash biting, here are some of my experiences with Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/train-your-dog-to-stop-biting-on-the-leash

      Are you trying NILIF at home? That helps a lot with my dogs in setting up structure and motivating them to listen. I also make them work for all of their food.

    • SK0314 says

      Thanks for your response. Yes, we’ve been using NILF since day 1. It helps but not when he’s in one of his puppy frenzies.

      Thanks for the links on leash biting and timeouts. What to do when he bites not the leash, but us while outside the home and isn’t listening to any commands that may halt the bad behavior?

    • shibashake says

      Some things that helped with Shiba Sephy -
      1. I make sure to stay calm. This is very important. It made a very big difference in Sephy’s behavior.
      2. I have a very detailed plan in mind so that I can take decisive action.
      3. I make sure that whatever plan I have, stops him from performing the bad behavior. This ensures that he does not get rewarded for his undesirable acts. With Sephy, I hold the leash very close to his collar, so that I have good control over him, then I just march him home. Sephy has good bite inhibition so I was able to do this without much danger or pain.
      4. We do not stop, I do not give him any attention, and we just go home. In this way he learns that if he tries biting during walks, the fun outing ends.
      5. In the beginning, I shortened our outings and only walked him close to home. Sometimes we would make a few rounds over the same area around the house. In this way, if he tries anything, I can get him home quickly. Because each walk is shorter, I increased their frequency so that we would have more practice.

      I first walk Sephy in more quiet areas in the neighborhood where there are fewer triggers that get him excited. In this way, I set both of us up for success and we have more successful walks.

      Some people suggest using the head halti for getting more control during walks. Usually it is used to control pulling, but since it controls the head of the dog, it can also be used to redirect the dog. As with any piece of training equipment, the head halti has its pros and cons. It also needs to be used according to instructions, so we do not end up inadvertently hurting our dog. Here is more on the head halti.

      Note – I can only describe what I tried to with Sephy and what works for him. However, different dogs will react differently, and there are differences in size, temperament, surrounding context, and past experience. This is why getting a trainer is usually best for risky behavior such as biting.

      When the trainer came over to visit, did she handle the dog? Did the dog listen to her? Was she able to stop his biting behavior?

      The dog training area is not well regulated so there are some not so good trainers, probably many so-so trainers, and a smaller number of good ones who really know their stuff. Here is how I went about looking for a trainer for Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/finding-a-dog-trainer

      I know this biting thing can be very frustrating. It was difficult for me when I went through a similar phase with Sephy. I tried lots and lots of things, and each of them had different degrees of effectiveness. However, each thing I tried, I learned something new. After a bit, I found a method that worked well for Sephy, and things got a lot better. Although it may seem like we are not making much progress, we are always learning something new about training, about our dog, and also about ourselves.

      Good luck and hang in there!

  25. Abe says

    Hi,
    I have a 11 week old Yorkie/Maltese mix with a biting issue. He nips at hands at times when stroked. But really gets agressive in the evening these past few days, where it seems to be related to a leg mounting frustration. Seems to be like clockwork… every evening he gets very excited and attempts to mount the legs of family members. Then when denied, goes into a hyperactive state where he bites quite agressively at hands and legs within reach.

    I’ve tried several techniques to stop this behaviour: Redirection, extra exercise, Yelping, muzzle shake, scruff shake, timeout-lite, and finger gag-reflex. But none provided any long term relief when the pup is in this hyper state. He just keeps coming back for more until he’s exhausted. Timeouts seem to be the only solution, but I do notice he ignores ME after I do this. So I’m worried about damaging our relationship. But at this point I don’t have any other choice.

  26. Cameron says

    I have a 5 month old shepherd mix, and her biting is getting worse and worse. She recently started to run up to other people and myself and bite, usually leaving marks. I’ve tried the toy replacement method, and that didn’t really do anything to help, as well as the squirt bottle-but like your dog she ended up just attacking the bottle. I’m not sure what to do and I really need some help..

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cameron,

      My Shiba Sephy was also very mouthy when he was young. Timeouts worked well with him.

      1. I start by giving him a no-mark so that he knows biting is unacceptable.
      2. I give him an alternate, simple command so that he knows what *to do* instead when he is excited.
      3. If he does it, I reward him very well with attention, play, and more.
      4. If he does not, then I withdraw my attention.
      5. If he escalates his behavior then I put him on a brief timeout.

      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting#timeout

      Bite inhibition training was also very helpful with Sephy.

  27. Judi says

    About a month ago, we rescued a 2 year old Yorkie mix. He’s very sweet and responds well to training (especially if there’s food involved). Your advice to others’ inquiries about having the whole family participate in training is great. That’s going to be a goal, in addition to teaching him not to gnaw on hands. He’s doing it in a non-aggressive way, but I don’t want it to become a bad habit, especially since we have friends with young children. We’ve tried re-directing him with a toy to chew, with limited success so far. We’ve also given the strong “No” and ignored him if there is no toy readily available. That seems to work most of the time. Your advice is terrific. Thanks so much!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new family member!

      Glad to hear that he is doing well. Another thing that has been helpful with my dogs is bite inhibition training. This teaches a dog to control the force of his bites.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/bite-inhibition

      It really helped me out a lot with my Shiba Inu, who used to be a very mouthy dog.

      Big hugs to your new furball and 4 paws up for helping out a dog in need! :D

  28. Jo says

    I have a black lab pup who is only 12 weeks and I don’t kow what to do with him. He is biting like crazy, its not mouthinga nymore its full on nipping and biting…onlyme though… my boyfriend commands him “easy” and he stops and I do the same but it seems to feul him more. He is doing great in all other training areas except for the biting… I have used time out, spray bottle, noise maker, grabbing his snout and firmly saying no, yelping…. but nothing seems to work…. HELP!!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jo,

      One thing that I learned from my Shiba Inu is that controlling my own energy is very important – whichever technique I used. When I am angry, frustrated, or stressed, Shiba Sephy would get even more crazy no matter what I do.

      One thing that really helped me is to plan everything out. In that way, I would know exactly what to do, and exactly how to respond to each of Sephy’s undesirable behaviors. Once I controlled my own energy and became more calm, Sephy’s behavior improved significantly, and he started to quickly learn what the house rules are.

      Here is more on what helped with Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/pack-leader-to-an-aggressive-dog

      Bite inhibition training and following the NILIF program were also very helpful.

      Here are some other things that helped me during Sephy’s younger hellion days-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-obedience-training

  29. Catrina says

    wow, thanks a bunch! i just got a new puppy, I’ll try these things out, he’s biting the crap out of me! :’(

  30. says

    Thanks for the tips and suggestions. We got a 6 week old yellow lab. When he gets very excited while playing he starts to bite us. We are trying hard to break the habit by saying NO BITE and yelping when he bites us but up to now he is still biting.

    We will try your tips and hope that he will stop soon…

    Thank you

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy. Let us know how the training goes.

      Also make sure to take lots of pictures. Puppy grows up very quickly. :D

  31. says

    Hey I found this information usefull I recently have adopted a six week old pit bull she’s very sweet butshe’s a hand and face biter though it does not hurt I have tried doing the things your suggest but she seems non responsive to it. I don’t know if she’s still to young but with pit already having a bad Rep I want to give her the chance to be a great dog despite her breed what should I do for a puppy so young

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ashton,

      If we stick to using reward training techniques, then we can start training much earlier.

      Perhaps you can tell me step-by-step what your puppy does, what you do, and then what she does in response to that. With training, consistency, timing, and execution are very important. Also, it will usually take a fair number of repetitions before puppy learns what we are asking her to do.

      Here is more on what I do to train my puppy.

  32. says

    Good Evening,

    I read your article and loved it thank you! We have a Carolina Dog and he is 11+ weeks old. He is a very devoted dog to me anyways! Our issue is that he loves food too much! He isn’t necessarily agressive in a growling, snarly kind of way but snarfs down his food and when you try to give him a treat he bites your fingers off. NOT on purpose but through his excitment. Any tips about how to get him to eat from your hand without it hurting. I am going to try the YELP and ignore him but have tried a similar response and did NOT work. He loves his food. At any mealtime, he literally jumps up to the counter barking with excitement. Before I put his food down I make him sit and hold him back until I say it is ok. However, if I don’t hold him back he will charge the food. I can take it away and pat him without him growling but he follows it with vigor. Any suggestions are helpful??
    Tammy

    • shibashake says

      Hello Tammy,

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      Bite inhibition training helps my dogs a lot in terms of controlling the force of their bites. During puppy-hood I hand feed my dog a lot of her kibble. If she bites too hard, I no-mark her (Ack-ack) and stop feeding temporarily. During this time she has to stay calm and not show any bad behaviors. If she stays calm then I start feeding again after a bit.

      If she takes food from me properly, I praise her, and continue feeding calmly. This teaches puppy the following-
      Take food gently = Get more food
      Bite hard or jumping = Food stops

      I also make my dogs work for all of their food either through obedience training, grooming exercises, play training, leash training, or through interactive food toys. I do not use food bowls. Frozen Kongs are also great for controlling the speed with which puppy eats. Often, I will hold the Kong for my puppy so that she gets used to having people around while she is eating, and views people as a good thing and the source of food.

      Here is more on puppy obedience training.

      Hugs to your puppy!

  33. Sierra says

    Hi! I loved your articles on bite inhibition and shiba secrets. I found them extremely helpful. I just have one question. I live with my boyfriend and 2 roommates and they all LOVE to play rough with my little Shiba. And she definitely gets excited and loves to bite. I can’t control what they do with her, other than to ask them not to. And now I’m afraid she’s gotten into a habit. When I put her in her crate for a bit, she tends to calm down. She’s still a baby, only 3 months. I’m just worried that her bad habit will get her into trouble later on. Where do I start from here?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Sierra,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      I do not play-rough with my Shiba because he gets overly excited and starts to bite on people. This teaches him that biting on people is ok, and as you observed, it may become a habit.

      My Shiba gets to wrestle with my other dogs, but I do not allow people to play rough with him.

      I will play certain dog games with him, but only with very strict play rules.

      While training Shiba Sephy, I found that consistency is very important. It is best when everyone in the house follows the same rules and teaches the same thing. Otherwise, the dog may get confused as to which behaviors are considered good to us, and which are not.

  34. belinda says

    Hi we have a 10mth shiatsu x toy poodle, she is still biting, not too bad but bad enough. I will try the putting toy in mouth technique and see how that goes (thanks for that) but I would also like to try the ‘time out’ technique, my only problem is that although she is an inside dog, she sleeps locked in the laundry – and this would be the ‘time out’ room. Would it be ok to put her there?? If the toy technique doesn’t work?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Belinda,
      I usually like to keep my dog’s timeout area separate from his sleeping area.

      At night, my dogs each sleep in their crates in the bedroom with us. It seems to work out well for everyone, and helps with bonding because everyone is together.

  35. DoctorWho737 says

    Hello!

    Thanks for these great articles, I am finding them helpful and I hope you find the time to answer my query:

    We took in an about a year old Yellow Lab we found wandering around because the Animal Control in my area said she would not last a week.

    For the most part she is a loving dog but she has issue with playful biting like me and my family are a part of her litter. She also had two potty issues and this leads me to believe that she lived primarily outdoors before.

    My issue is this:

    When on a leash she pulls (I will try your advice) and bites the leash after awhile (I read that article too and again will try what you suggest)but she also try to ‘ply’ by jumping full force at me after awhile (Frustration by what you said.) what can I do to curb the jumping?

    I know she will take some time to adjust and she really is not biting hard or trying to hurt anyone, I think she is just bored and trying to have fun and burn energy.

    So what do you suggest?

    I also worry that she is unhappy because she cannot do what she loves to do.

    PS; Th yelp idea does not work too well…

    • shibashake says

      Big Kudos to you for helping out a dog in need!

      In terms of jumping, dogs often do that in greeting because they want to lick our mouth. When I observe my dogs, they usually lick each others’ mouths when we get home from a walk. What I usually do when my dog jumps is that I no-mark her (Ack-ack), and give her a known alternative command (e.g. Sit). If she does this, I praise her and give her affection or play a game with her.

      If she continues jumping, I fold up my arms, and turn away. Then I just ignore her. If she stops jumping, I mark the behavior calmly and give her some calm affection.

      This teaches her that being calm and not jumping = get attention, while jumping = get ignored. Here is more on dog jumping.

      In terms of the biting, one thing that really helps with all my dogs is bite inhibition training. It teaches a dog to control the force of her bites especially when interacting with people.

      In terms of burning energy, here are some things that helped with my hyper Husky puppies. Here are some games I play with my dogs.

  36. Anonymous says

    i don’t know if this counts im only twelve and my parents want me to train the lab that we got i want 2 BE A vet when i grow up and is this trick going to help me (the yelp trick)with my black lab puppy

  37. Anonymous says

    Hi. I have a 1 1/2 yr old Male Shiba, and he loves chasing my cats. This is a big problem because his favorite cat to chase was a feral kitten I found outside, and she’s still just starting to be confident indoors, but I can see her reverting from being chased. I’ve had him for about 4 months now, and I’m still not really seeing any change. He gets put in time-out whenever he chases, but I can tell he doesn’t really understand why he’s in time-out, or even that time out is bad (he’ll just sleep a lot of the time) and then he’ll oftentimes just go right back to chasing as soon as he’s off time-out. I use the command “No, Leave it!” when he chases, and it seems to bring him back out of the chasing mode (most of the time), but how can I get him to not even start to chase in the first place? He has no problem with the cats, it’s not an agressive chase by any means (when he’s tired, he’ll curl up on the couch next to the cats without a problem) and he’s a very sweet boy, just loves chasing. What am I missing?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Anonymous,
      Yeah Sephy also loves to chase and he loves being chased. Chasing games are probably his favorite.

      Shibas were bred to be hunting dogs, so they generally have high prey drive. This contributes significantly to their love of chasing.

      In terms of cats, we don’t have any cats in the house, so I don’t have exact personal experience in this area. My old neighbors did have a bunch of outdoor cats, so I did cat desensitization exercises with Sephy when the cats are sunning themselves outside. I would bring Sephy out on-leash and stand a distance away from the cats (far enough away that he is still calm and able to listen to me). Then I get Sephy to do commands and stay calm. If he is calm and listens, we move one step closer and repeat. I also let him sit and watch the cats if he stays calm and is able to listen to me.

      After a bit, Sephy got used to those cats and was no longer reacting to them. He would still want to chase new cats though, especially if they are active. Anything that runs triggers his prey drive.

      Also, there are a fair number of cat + Shiba owners on the Shiba Inu Forum, so it may be helpful to post your question there.

  38. Andy says

    thanks so much for the time you’ve taken to put together this site, I have a question about time outs. I started doing time outs when my puppy continues to bites and growl at us or at our other dog even after being corrected, but I’m not sure when to take him out of time out. as soon as I put him in time out he whines and whines and yelps. he is only 8 weeks but I wanna make sure he doesn’t develop any bad habits and I’m afraid that if I let him out of time out while he is whining and crying he will learn that if he whines and cries he will get his way. I know you mention that you only did very short time out at the beginning; did your dog whine and cry? and if so did you still only stick to the short time out or did you wait for your puppy to calm down before getting them out of time out..

    please any help on this matter will be appreciated, I don’t want to cause more harm than good.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Andy,

      did your dog whine and cry? and if so did you still only stick to the short time out or did you wait for your puppy to calm down before getting them out of time out..

      Puppy Lara did whine a bit in the beginning. In general, I don’t let my dogs out when they are whining because that rewards the whining behavior and next time, they will whine more. However, I am also careful with puppies who are still in potty training. Sometimes, they may just need to potty. In general, I don’t put puppy in timeout unless I am fairly sure she does not have to potty anytime soon.

      Also, I try my hardest to set puppy up for success so the number of timeouts is minimized. For example, during play I have many play-breaks so that puppy refocuses on me and has the chance to calm down. As for biting, bite inhibition training is very helpful for all my dogs. Once puppy is a bit older and has learned some bite inhibition, I teach her not to bite on people.

      When puppy Lara bites, I first redirect her onto a toy. If she redirects onto the toy, then she gets rewarded with a game. If she keeps biting on me, I non-mark her (Ack-ack) so that she knows it is an undesirable behavior. If she keeps biting, I withdraw my attention by standing up, folding my arms, and turning away from her. If she continues to bite, then I put her in a short timeout. Lara is now about 11 months old and I only used timeouts on her a handful of times.

      Here are some of my experiences with puppy biting and puppy training-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-i-trained-my-husky-puppy
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting

  39. Alyssa says

    HELP! i have a 12 week old shiba named keiko. I got him at 8 weeks and he is terrible! i dont know what to do. He just bites and bites! He bites everything; hands, feet, face! Hes a smart boy and he knows 4 tricks already. He’s also terrible on the leash, he pulls a lot! Im loosing all hope and starting to feel extremely overwhelmed and upset. Please help!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Alyssa,
      I know what you mean. Sephy was also very mouthy when he was young and he was a terror on 4 paws. I think you may enjoy Sephy’s story.

      With the biting, timeouts were the most effective with Sephy. This is what I do with him -
      1. When Sephy bites on me, I non-mark him (No or Ack-ack), and redirect him onto a toy.
      2. If he ignores the toy and keeps biting me, I non-mark and I withdraw my attention. I do this by standing up, folding up my arms, and turning away from him.
      3. If he jumps on me and tries to keep biting me, I calmly say timeout and put him in a boring but safe timeout area.

      Then I just repeat the process consistently every time he bites.

      Other things that helped with Sephy -
      - Bite inhibition training.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/bite-inhibition
      - Using a drag lead.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-obedience-training#draglead

      Here are some of our experiences on leash-training -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/leash-training-your-dog

  40. Michelle says

    Hi! We got a shiba two weeks ago, he is 10 weeks old now. So far so good, but he really is biting a LOT. We tried redirecting him onto a toy, but he always likes to get in a few last bites before he moves on to a toy. Saying “No” or making a high pitch yelp only makes him more excited, and he bites harder. Turning away from him when he bites doesn’t really work, since he will just bite the back of me instead of the front. Moving completely away and ignoring him doesn’t quite work, because he will follow me and then make a lot of puppy gremlin noises and bite objects near me. Also, his puppy teeth appear to be serrated, is this normal? Any suggestions for the crazy biting?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Michelle,
      Three things really helped me with Sephy’s biting -
      1. Bite inhibition training. I did a lot of hand-feeding and reward based training. Bite inhibition training teaches him to control the force of this bites so that he doesn’t do much damage even when he does bite. It really saved me later on when I was having trouble with leash biting.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/bite-inhibition

      2. Calm. Shiba Sephy did a lot of excited biting. It was very important to keep him calm and keep him on a schedule. The high pitched yelp also sometimes made him more excited, so I switched to a lower, calm, Oww. If he ignores that, I stand up and ignore him. If he keeps biting, I calmly say timeout and take him to the laundry room. Exercise, working for all of his food, and the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program also helps a lot.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-obedience-training

      3. Timeouts. I start with really short timeouts, 30 seconds. Then I ask for a Sit before I let Sephy out. If he does not want to do it, he stays in timeout for a bit longer. Then I try again. If he starts to bite right away, I put him back in timeout for a longer period of time (couple of minutes), and so on.

      his puppy teeth appear to be serrated, is this normal?

      Hmmm, I did not notice this with Sephy’s puppy teeth, but I was very occupied with his many crazy behaviors at that time. :D I would check with your vet about this.

    • Michelle says

      Thank you so much! I will try some new techniques with Shiba Oliver, and try to keep him calmer to prevent biting. He likes to go crazy from time to time =)…….also, he had a vet appointment yesterday and I asked about his teeth, they said it’s normal for puppy teeth to be like this. I never noticed on other puppies, however I was never on the receiving end of so many puppy bites before to investigate =)

  41. Matt says

    My shiba pup is only 8 weeks old so she obviously is going to be biting everything. But my concern is the way she plays with my mom’s sheltie who is very shy of other dogs because she got attacked years ago, and has been fearful of any dog since(regardless of age or size). My Shiba, Jada, will go over to my sheltie, Lady, just to check her out, but then Lady runs away like always, so Jada thinks that she is playing and starts to chase her. After a couple minutes Lady stops running and starts barking at Jada and kinda chases her back a little. But then Jada will get too playful and starts biting at her legs and face. I just dont want Lady to snap and start biting Jada back out of fear, which is unlikely(Lady’s tail is wagging most of the time, but its the agressive barking she does during that time that alarms me cause she never barks like that, but maybe thats just how she plays I guess) Lady has started to warm up to Jada a little bit but she still runs from her all the time. I did finally manage to get them eating at the same time, which has been impossible because Jada always tries to eat Lady’s food or just walks towards her a little and Lady will run away, so things are progressing, slowly. I just wanted to see if there is a good way to get Lady to warm up to Jada and not run every time Jada comes near her.

    • shibashake says

      Some things that helped my other dogs warm up to puppy -
      1. Supervision – I supervised them a lot especially in the beginning. In particular, I do not allow them to steal from each other, and there is also no bullying. If any of the dogs have had enough puppy-time, I make sure that puppy leaves them alone. Similarly, I make sure that the other dogs do not overwhelm puppy.

      2. Group training and rewards – I also do some group training sessions with them. In this way, the dogs learn to work together and focus on me instead of on each other. I reward them very well for these group sessions. In the beginning, my adult Shiba did not really care for new puppy. But every time he came over to puppy, I would reward him and get them both to do simple commands. Very soon, he would always come over to puppy in the hopes of being rewarded.

      3. Be very consistent and fair with both dogs – I make sure that all dogs follow the same rules.

      Here are some of my experiences with integrating a new dog into the family -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/second-dog-introducing-a-second-dog

  42. Andrea says

    We broke out the first interactive feeding toy day before yesterday. He’s already mastered it – and the work to get his food (he’s SO food motivated it’s just hilarious) keeps him out of trouble for about an hour which is nice.

    What age did Sephy start humping at? We haven’t seen that yet, so I’m wondering when to expect it to happen. He’s being such a good puppy with only minor crises that I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    • shibashake says

      he’s SO food motivated it’s just hilarious

      You are very lucky. Sephy was never very food motivated. He may be interested in a new food for a few days but he tires of it very easily. He is definitely a picky eater.

      What age did Sephy start humping at?

      Hmmm, it was around 4 months or so. The behavior was more a reaction to my bad, fearful energy. I was very afraid of him during that time because of his out of control leash biting, so I think the humping was a symptom of that. Once I got over my fear, the humping also stopped.

      Also – When do we get Lara pictures?!? When you post some, I’ll put some up of Kiba

      http://shibashake.com/dog/shiba-pictures/new-siberian-husky-puppy

      I have another batch which I will probably post next week. Now gimme some Kiba pictures! :D

  43. Andrea says

    Thanks. :-) Another Sibe, wow! Three doggies must make for a crazy house some days. We’re trying to decide if puppy number two (in about a year) will be a girl Shiba or a Sibe.

    Kiba’s doing better with the nipping. We did start using his puppy play pen for time outs. Sometimes he ends up in time out three or four times in a row, but it’s starting to make him shape up.

    Really, he’s not too bad for a Shiba I think. Time will tell, but he’s now 12 weeks old and only makes us a little insane. :-)

    We started playing the kibble chase game to help him get some energy out. At meal times, since he’s not quite ready for interactive toys (hasn’t figured them out), we take a piece of kibble, ask him to sit, then fling it across our house (our living room/dining room/kitchen are all one long room) and let him chase after it. About half a cup of kibble and we have a tired and calm puppy!

    He’s got sit and wait down pretty well and starts puppy obedience school in two weeks.

    • shibashake says

      Glad to hear that Kiba is doing so well.

      My Sibe puppy, Lara, thinks that doing a Down means pouncing on my hand. She still ends up doing a Down but one that comes with a hand scratch. I am trying various things to teach her that it is not the pounce that I want but the Down – lol. Puppies are always interesting.

      Puppy is also super high energy. Today, she tired out my other two dogs and she was still going and going. I am definitely going to write an article on all this so that I don’t forget. The next time I think about getting a puppy, I can just hit myself on the head with the article! :D

      Let us know how obedience school goes. I had a lot of fun in those with both Sephy and Shania.

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