How to Stop Puppy Biting

Why do puppies bite?

Unlike us, puppies do not have opposable thumbs, so they manipulate stuff with their mouths, in the same way that we manipulate stuff with our hands. New puppies or young dogs will try to put everything into their mouths, because they are curious about objects and their surroundings.

Therefore, puppy biting is normal canine behavior.

Puppies also play with each other through play-biting. When a puppy bites too hard during play, his siblings may yelp and stop interacting for a short duration. Biting too hard on an adult dog (e.g. their mother), may also result in an undesirable consequence. 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 to be careful with their mouths when interacting with people.

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 seniors and children, may cause accidental injuries and ultimately result in forced euthanasia.

If our puppy is biting us or others in an uncontrolled way, 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.

How to Deal with Puppy Biting

I deal with puppy biting by training my dog in three important areas –

1. Bite inhibition training
People have thinner and more sensitive skins than dogs do. Therefore, one of the first things that I teach my puppy is to control the force of his bites, especially when interacting with me and others.

2. Redirection and no-bite conditioning
When my dog bites on people, clothing, or unsanctioned objects (e.g. books, wires), I no-mark to let him know that it is an undesirable behavior. Then, I redirect his mouth onto something acceptable, and reward him for doing the right thing. In this way, he learns which objects are off-limits, as well as what he should do instead.

3. Excitement and self-control
An over-excited puppy, who lacks self-control, will tend to bite more often and with greater force. By managing my puppy’s excitement level and teaching him to control his impulses, I set him up for success, and reduce the number of instances where he engages in bad biting behavior.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
~~[Benjamin Franklin]

When dealing with puppy biting issues, I always try to stay calm but firm. I do my best to catch problems early on, and fix them before they escalate in degree and frequency.

If a dog is causing puncture wounds, or escalating his aggressive biting behavior, it is best to get professional help as soon as possible.

In this article, I discuss bite inhibition training and no-bite conditioning. For more on managing a puppy’s excitement level, please refer to Managing Puppy Excitement and Self-Control.

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, 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 a 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 dog’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-mark 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.

After the no-mark, I always follow-up with a positive command, e.g. redirect him onto a toy.

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. I make sure to reward my dog very well with food and affection when he redirects, so that I further reinforce the behavior.

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.

If I do not have a toy handy, I can also redirect by giving my puppy an alternate and simple command that he knows very well, e.g. Sit.

2. Withdraw Attention and Affection

Often, a puppy starts to bite at us because he wants to play or interact. Therefore, if my puppy does not respond to my redirect, then I withdraw my attention and affection. I do this by standing up, folding up my arms, and ignoring him. I make sure not to give any eye contact, not to talk, and not to engage him in any other way.

This is also called a timeout lite.

By doing this, my puppy learns that-

Out of control biting and jumping = No play, no attention, and no affection,
Gentle interaction = Play continues, food rewards, and extra attention.

Sometimes, my puppy may get too excited and escalate his behavior by biting on feet, or jumping and trying to bite on clothing. This is something that I absolutely do not allow because it can be very dangerous, especially with children and the elderly.

If my puppy escalates his behavior, I no-mark, say “Timeout”, and take him to a low stimulus timeout area immediately.

NOTE – In general, I try to set my dog up for success by managing his excitement level. In this way, I keep timeout-necessary episodes to a minimum.

3. Timeout

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 timeout takes away both of these things, it is an extremely effective method of dog discipline.

When giving my dog a timeout –

  • I make sure to put him in a really boring room, with no windows that he can reach. Currently, my dog’s timeout 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 timeout period.

It is better not to use a crate for timeouts. Crates are useful for transportation, management, and more. Therefore, I ensure that the crate is a happy place, where my dog feels comfortable going to for some peace and quiet, for sleep, and to chew on his favorite toy.

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

Initially, I start with a short 1 minute timeout. 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 timeout duration, and adjust it according to our dog’s age, temperament, and behavior. Some trainers do not believe in long timeouts, while others may ignore their dogs (timeout lite) for hours.

Do not use timeouts for training mistakes or lack of motivation.

How to Stop Puppy Biting

Some trainers suggest using aversive techniques to stop dog biting. For example, one suggested making my hand into a fist (so my fingers are safe), and then pushing my fist gently in when my 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.

The same thing occurred with spraying water on his muzzle; he just started attacking the water bottle.

Ultimately, aversive techniques were not very effective with my dog, and caused even more behavioral issues. With 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.

Instead, when my puppy bites,

  1. I first use a no-mark, for example, No or Ack-Ack to let him know that it is an undesirable behavior.
  2. Then, I redirect him onto a toy or give him an alternate 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.
  3. 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 him.
  4. If he escalates his behavior and starts to jump or bite on my clothing, then I quickly remove him to his full timeout area.

I always try to set my dog up for success by managing his excitement level. When he starts biting, I try to redirect and turn things into a positive learning experience. I only escalate my response when I absolutely have to, and I try my best to minimize those instances.

Related Articles


  1. Cstars says

    Hello I meant to say He is a 2 yr old Shiba-inu !!
    Sorry for that mistake.. He was born with 3 legs and a 1/2 stump leg, and was unable to starch like other dogs to go out…To break the habit of his jumping up and biting me every time he has to go outside I was trying a technique of just trying to get him to stop jumping on me but that’s not working , because of the biting so as I’m doing that he’s biting me harder . He likes to bark I suppose we have taught him to do so because of his disability however the barking is lessening because I ignore him on certain Barks that I know are just out of fear and attention to just be verbal .. I don’t want to ignore his notion of wanting to go outside to potty but I need to figure out a way to redirect the barking and biting and letting me know .. I thought about using a bell that is tied to the door and trying to retrain him to use his nose to ring the bell and I think that’s what we should’ve done to begin with.
    Thanks for any suggestions

  2. Cstars says

    Hello, I have a two-year-old Sheeba in you he’s a beautiful boy and he’s a good boy he listens and he’s well-trained however he has a disability, he was born with only three legs and a half stump on the fourth leg .. When he was younger my daughter and I made the mistake in teaching him instead of scratching on the door to come in and out and go to the bathroom outside like the other dogs he would just bark at the door and that seem to work but lately he jumps and bites on us really hard in order to go out and I can’t seem to get him to stop .. So now as I walk around my own house he’ll run at me and bite me until I let them out and that could mean biting me until I could get to the door , it’s gotten bad..
    Any advice on how to break this horrible habit ?

  3. Julie says

    I have a 12 week old little boy Husky (Kid Cowboy) and a 12 year old Husky (Elvis). Elvis has been spoiled his entire life. He has weak legs so he is not too pleased when the puppy is super energized and wants to play, how can I get the puppy to play nice with Elvis, or can I? Also, Elvis is very possessive of his food, he does not share, never has. Right now I have to feed them separately, can I teach them to share? Thank you

  4. Paul says

    I have a 11 weeks German Shepard. She love to play and as a part of playing she is doing a lot of play biting. She takes our hand in our mouth and when try to get up she eats our feets and grabs the lowers. We have tried doing the Ouch thing but didnt work. So we started doing redirect, it worked for some time and now she is back to more biting. We give toys in her mouth.
    I play with her with the toys and I usually do tug of war with her. Give the toy and dont let her take it easily, but eventually I give her the toy. Maybe this thing lead to this biting thing?

    When we are sitting on carpet, she is playing with some toy, she suddenly comes toward us and starts biting. She is getting super excited and she runs and comes back bites and runs. She think it is a game.
    Now I have started to place thumb in her mouth with finger on the chin. I just started this method(June 23). I say NO BITING and keep the finger for 15-20 seconds. She whines a bit and tries to bite but slowly gets normal. When we take the hand out she starts biting again. We again do the same process.

    Any suggestions on how to stop her biting?

    Also she is so full of energy. We take her out in lawn and she eats grass and soil. In the home she runs around play and like to bite.. How can we burn her energy and make her tired without making her run and walk for a long time period? Should we take her out on leash in the lawn?

    This is Our first dog and we are doing our best to make her learn.

    • Kim says

      my 10 week old Pit Bull is doing the exact same thing and I am at a loss! I would love some tips! If I redirect with treats he just aggressively bites at me for the treat, he does not redirect with toys.

    • Torey says

      I got a puppy who looks like a chihuahua but is way bigger than any ones chihuahua I have ever seen. I tell people he is a chihuahua something but someone mentioned that he looks like a Shiba so I looked online and I think he is some of the pictures look just like him.

      That being said, I have kept a lot of the behaviors on here under control. Pig skin bones, or soft hide, we call them his chews. I always have them around. When I’m watching TV or something and don’t want to play I tell him to get his chew and he picks one and chews it. I have many toys in a few baskets that I bring out and mix up so he doesn’t get bored. I have scavenger hunts with some of his food hidden all over and tell him to find it. When he finds things in the yard, eg pine cones, he brings them to me and I thank him and make him think he did something good and give him something in return for bringing it back. My mother in law says that I’m his playmate and not the alpha, but he obeys and does what I want because he gets something in return. He knows most commands, and he’s 9 months, does them for me without problem, but anyone else and he decides if he wants to obey.

      So, my suggestion is not to make things about dominance necessarily, because a lot of the more intelligent dogs seem to respond best, when young if they get rewarded with fun and play. I put the toy in timeout, like it’s the toys fault, at first, then he gets timeout. I keep his leash on him most of time, and catch it when he isn’t obeying.

      The thing that I have the most problem with is barking. When he doesn’t know what a noise is, he thinks he needs to tell everyone that there is a problem, and barks. But when we go investigate the sound, and I say it’s ok, he stops and ignore it. For example, the neighbor was shoveling the snow in front, we r in an apartment, and when he barked, we went outside to see what it was, he didn’t like the shovel at first, but we ended up helping the guy and when I shoveled for a lil (and he thought he helped with the pile) it wasnt Scarry anymore and he didn’t bark or care any time after that. So sometimes it helps them to know what that noise is.

      My neighbors are ok with his occasional outburst tho because they have a chihuahua that barks at everything and they started showing her things went a big deal she got a bit better.

      Hope maybe this helps someone and good luck.

  5. Jason says

    Thank you for all the great advice and wonderful article. I am going to try and use some of the practices you recommended. If you could also give me some other advise on what I should do about my roommate’s Shiba. So, I just moved in to a new apartment with my roommate and ever since we moved in her Shiba, Goshi, will follow me around and then leap bite me. Other times Goshi will just stare me down; and other times he will just be normal to me. I have spent time with Goshi before me moved in and he does everything i mentioned above weather she is there or not. Please help.

  6. Carmel says

    I have a 10week old golden retriever puppy. We don’t play tug of war or anything that would encourage aggressive behaviour but she won’t stop nippin me which is getting harder and harder. It’s quiet upsetting. I am trying time outs of 2 minutes. After the first time out she comes back rearing for more. After the second timeout sometimes she just ignores me and walks past even though I try to praise her. Other times she’s still rearing to go. She sees it as a punishment instead of a lesson. I have tried ignoring her but she just keeps coming back at me. I have tried the ‘no’ it worked once. I have tried distracting her with a toy and praise her that had also been unsuccessful…… Please help.

  7. Jennie says

    I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, he bites a lot. How to stop it?
    My husband and I were thinking about taking him to ‘doggy school’, but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest ‘doggy school’ is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

  8. An says


    We just got an adorable 4 month Great Pyrenees/Blue Heeler puppy, but she bites everything! She bites our feet more than our hands. I often feed her food from my hand and she doesn’t try biting, but she’ll always bite our feet. Even when we’re on the sofa, she’ll run for our feet instead. We want to take her for walks, but she bites the leash as well, and it’s hard to do that. So far, we’ve been trying to teach her fetch to burn off some energy. She’ll run, but then she’ll stay down and just keep biting the toy/ball.

    She wasn’t like this at 3 months- she would actually run and lick us, but now at 4 months, she goes crazy with biting. She gets into a period where she’ll bite us regardless of who it is or whether there’s a toy. What should I do?

    She’s bitten everyone so far, and we’ve put her in a crate to stop before, and now she struggles to go to sleep through the whole night, whereas she used to go to sleep the whole night without any whining. Sleep music has been helping her lately, but she’s been so problematic with the biting. We haven’t gotten all of her shots yet, which is why we haven’t socialized as much for her due to the holidays and vet closings.

    Thank you!

    • Erin says

      Hi I have a 75% Great Pyrenees 25%golden retriever mix and he used to bite/try to eat everything under the sun. What we ended up doing is buyin apple bitter from the pet store and pretty much sprayed everything in the house including our hands at times. Also and some people frown on this but when you are going to have such a large dog when they go to bite take your thumb and press it into the bottom of their mouth not to hard to harm them but hard enough to know you’re in charge. My dog learned very quickly and I actually get praised very often on how gentle he is now when taking treats he’s full grown and weighs 145lbs

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi my name is Austin and I’m only 12 but I recently got a puppy as my Christmas present. It’s Siberian husky and don’t worry this isn’t a case where i didn’t do any research before getting her. I understand she’s a puppy but she hasn’t quite been the best dog in the world. I just want to know from you if this is just a stage and if she’ll stop attacking biting and chewing on things she shouldn’t and have a better temperement once she gets older as we train her. Hope you respond thank you!

  10. Cheryl says

    I have a 1 y,/o beagle/jackrusseel mix. He has very bad separation anxiety. He knows when I’m going out. Iinitially he was cooperative. I talk to him put snacks in his crate and let him know I’ll always come back. Today he actually bit me and punctured my skin. I talk to him and am extremely patient. I never had a pet bite me ever. Otherwise he’ very sweet and very attached to me. I never hit him. I do set verbal limits. HELP PLEASE HELP ! T.y.

  11. Liz says

    Hi, I have a amstaff puppy and an adult small breed mix dog. My amstaff puppy and him play well at times but my problem is the puppy constantly goes straight to biting his legs, face and has my adult dog on his back a lot. I’ve tried redirecting his attention, giving time outs, using treats, etc but it has not gotten much better. Can you provide any other suggestions. I basically pick him up when he does this as he is too focused I cannot get his attention. Is there an interrupter tool I can maybe use that might be effective to focus his attention on me? I’ve tried a squeaky toy, clapping my hands but that’s not working

    • shibashake says

      I put a drag-lead on my in-training puppy. I only do this under close supervision and using a regular flat collar. Absolutely no aversive collars. In this way, when I call for a stop to play, I can quickly and effectively stop play using the lead, if need be.

      However, I generally throw in many play-breaks to manage my dog’s excitement level and focus. In this way, play does not get overly intense, and I get to reinforce positive behavior. I always try to set my dog up for success, prevent/redirect undesirable behavior, and minimize corrections.

      I also do a lot of recall training when there is nothing going in, to keep practicing and reinforcing that behavior.

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks for the reply! The play breaks seems to definitely help and I can redirect his attention sometimes, however it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve gotten my puppy and he still thinks my adult dog is a chew toy. Whenever they are in the same room together he constantly wants to go straight ahead and mouth my dogs face, legs, etc. The thing is my dog doesn’t seem to mind this for the most part. However the puppy already outweighs him by a lot so I worry about this kind of play. Also the puppy sometimes back off when he is mouthing, etc. on top of my older dog but my dog just lays there so puppy goes right back at it again.

      Do you think after redirecting consistently my puppy will outgrow this behavior as he matures and learn to play less rough? I feel it hasn’t gotten much better unless I’m constantly intervening and redirecting with treats.

    • shibashake says

      With my pup, play-breaks help to set them up for success and teach them impulse control. However, my puppy still has a lot of puppy play energy. Therefore, I need to provide good, structured outlets for this energy.

      We did SIRIUS puppy class with our Shiba and Husky, and that was very helpful. It was a positive outlet for their play energy, they learned good play behaviors during class, and it also helped their socialization with other dogs and people. I made sure to find a good class, where they check for puppy immunization records, and focused on puppy socialization.

      Another possibility for dog play is through a good dog daycare. Our local dog daycare place also organizes puppy socials during the weekends. I make sure it is a good daycare first, with positive based, experienced trainers, before bringing my dog.

      With my Shiba, we did one-on-one supervised play sessions with our neighbor’s very friendly puppy.

      I also do play sessions with my puppy, obedience training, grooming exercises, she works for all of her food, etc. After my puppy has had all of her shots, then we start doing daily walks. The more positive outlets my puppy has for her energy, the less energy is left over for unsanctioned activities. 🙂

      As for play-style, all of my dogs like to wrestle and play-rough. My 8 and 9 year old still likes to wrestle and play like a puppy. They don’t have as much energy as a puppy, but they still like to play rough. Therefore, I put more restrictions on their play now because they are getting older, and can hurt themselves during over-exuberant sessions. When I cannot supervise, I separate them using gates or enclosures. They still continue to have their daily structured activities, but I adjust according to age and current energy level.

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks, I will keep working on on outlets to exercises the puppy so that when he does have play sessions with my dog he is not overly exited. Hopefully with this, continued training and maturity it will get easier. Thanks so much for your input, it really did help 🙂

  12. victoria says

    Hi Shiba! I have an 11 week old male Husky. He loves to play all day..however, he has some episodes where he simply starts biting and even seeks you out for it. e.g: while I sit on the couch he comes and tries to bite my fee. I have tried ignoring him when he becomes overexcited..but the biting doesnt really stop. I constantly direct him towards his toys as sign of “you can bite this and not me”. Is there anything you would recommend for my puppy?

  13. Surya says

    hi I have a lab puppy 70 days old male puppy.. He is biting all of us in our home…even he doesn’t play with toys and his bone..I don knw wat is the reason for it? Can u please help me? Thank you..

    • shibashake says

      Puppies are curious and usually bite a lot because that is how they interact with people, other dogs, and objects in their environment. I deal with puppy biting by doing 3 things-
      1. Bite inhibition training.
      2. Redirection and no bite conditioning.
      3. Giving my puppy structure and teaching him self control.

      I talk more about how I do each of these things in the article above.

  14. Jayden says

    Hi again Shiba,

    Firstly i would like to thank you for the time you have spent in helping me, you are truly a great person. I have took your advice along with other studies and once again used it to help my puppy. I am happy to report that she is now happy and well behaved as ever. She is gradually improving with her aggression. We have sourced out the problem. The problem was within my family. We have 8 people in the family running around, 4 of them being kids and 4 adults that is cautious of the puppy. With so many people involved giving different sorts of attention such as the kids being playful ,the adults yelling no and me trying to control and train her made the puppy confused . I spent more time with one on one ,bonding with her and earning her trust, while at the same time being her leader. She then saw the same affection i give towards her to the kids which i think made her realized were all a family and made her comfortable in the environment. I also would like to add that my friend alpha husky dog also helped in being a role model and i believe is a excellent method to teach puppies to understand leadership as well as teaching the puppy manners. I will continue to train, love and care for this puppy and hope that she will become a great dog in the future.

    Ps, Thanks for your time 🙂 Much appreciated

  15. Jayden says

    Thanks again for the response. I do believe as you said that the alpha dominating role is not effective because it causes the dog to lose trust in you. I have tried the biting training as you recommended ,but what i want you to understand is that its not biting that is the problem is the aggression. Aggression that cannot be tolerated in a house hold dog. I am worried because i’s scared it is a personality trait not a behaviour issue , Of course i understand that behaviours can be fixed and treated with good training, but a dog personality is hard to change. I can see my puppy isn’t afraid of humans ,whither I’m yelling no or put her in time out , or simply just give a little tap like Caesar Milan . I get my training information from all sources, Caesar video, your website, professional dog trainers. A professional dog trainer said that it might be because of the breed. I’ve got a Labrador cross Shar Pei which means i have the energy level of a lab and the stubborn and aggression from a Shar Pei, which in trainers eyes are the worst combination possible. I love dogs and animal , please don’t get the idea of me being cruel to my dog, but I’m just simply afraid and can not trust this puppy around kids scaring she might snap. I believe she might be more suitable in a home where it all adults who can manage her dominate and aggressive personality. Thank you so much for your help and time . Much appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jayden, I don’t think anything like that at all. I ask questions to get more context on the situation and to better understand where you are coming from. I am sorry if it came across differently.

      As for Cesar Milan, I agree with what he says about calm energy, being decisive, creating structure, and fulfilling a dog’s needs for exercise and more. However, the pain and dominance based techniques (finger jab/touch, alpha rolls, shock collars, etc.) are very controversial. There are studies which show the risks and dangers of such techniques. I also used some of them early on with my Shiba Inu and it did *not* bring good results. My Shiba’s behavior worsened in the longer term, he became more mouthy, he became more aggressive, and everyone got stressed and very unhappy. I have written several articles on my experiences with such techniques.

      I also attributed many of my dog’s bad behaviors to dominance, and that was a big mistake. Aggressive behavior is complex and can be the result of many different things, including fear, lack of socialization, anxiety, and more. Often, a puppy just does not understand what we expect from him.
      More on dominance and aggression.
      More on dominance and bad dog behavior.

      Things really changed for me when I talked to a local trainer who suggested several books to me by Patricia McConnell (Other End of the Leash), Suzanne Clothier (Bones Would Rain from the Sky), and Jean Donaldson (Culture Clash).
      More on where I get my dog training and dog behavior information.

      My Shiba Inu is also a very stubborn dog and I had a very difficult time with him during puppyhood. However, the key is *not* to teach him to be afraid of people, that would worsen his behavior and cause fear aggression. The key is to teach him positive behaviors by controlling his resources. In this way, he understands which behaviors get him the things that he wants most.

      There is a lot of conflicting information in dog training, which caused me to make a lot of mistakes with Sephy. I write about our experiences together so that hopefully, others can avoid the mistakes that I made.

  16. Jayden says

    Thanks for the quick response. Shiba, Her routine has always been closely guarded which includes a bathroom break in the morning along with a quick walk then back for a small meal, we leave her unleashed around the home and when she falls asleep we put her in her bed, afterwards she has lunch outside and we do a quick teaching session with her and let her run around the yard. She usually fine, but does not respond to our call and basically just does what she wants, sometimes while were walking around she would come just play bite (teething), but after we say no and walk away she runs infront of us and starts barking and growling (pupil of the eye becomes dilated). She does not seem like she ever wants to play apart from biting then turning to aggressive mode. I am in search of a professional dog trainer, but wanted to correct this behaviour myself first. I’m just scared shes naturally aggressive and as she grows she will be aggressive. I don’t want to dominate her by holding her down because i feel as ifs the wrong thing to do. Thanks in advanced again shiba, Cheers

    • shibashake says

      I teach my puppy to control his bites and ultimately to not bite on people by-
      1. Doing bite inhibition exercises.
      2. Doing no-bite training.
      I start by redirecting my puppy and teaching him what to do instead. Then I withdraw my attention. I do not walk away, I stand still and just withdraw my attention. Walking away may encourage my puppy to chase after me, and some puppies may start biting at moving feet. If, at that point, my puppy escalates his behavior and jumps or bites at me, then I put him temporarily in a timeout area.
      3. I set up a fixed structure for my puppy, consistent rules, consistent training, and I teach my puppy self-control.

      I make sure to give my puppy many positive and structured outlets for his puppy energy. If I play with him, I have play rules so that he learns positive social behaviors. There is more detail on what I do in the article above. The Shiba Inu forum can also be a helpful place to get Shiba behavior information.

      However, as you say, I think that getting help from a good, positive-based trainer is best.

      I don’t want to dominate her by holding her down because i feel as ifs the wrong thing to do.

      Alpha rolls (i.e. holding down and submitting a dog) is something that I absolutely would *not* recommend, especially not for a Shiba, and especially not for a puppy. Even when experienced trainers tried to apply this “method” on my Shiba, he did not respond well. It is the worst mistake I made on my Shiba. It eroded his trust in me, damaged our bond, made him even more sensitive to handling, and worsened his behavior.

      Where are you getting your training information?

  17. Jayden says

    Hi, i recently read your article and applied the lesson to my 8 weeks old Labrador cross Sharpei puppy, but it seems like nothing is working. She is naturally aggressive when playing and when i tell her no, she does not back away until i gentle push her away cause it hurts. Then she gets into a attack state of mind and keep coming back to bite . I have had many dog experience from my past dogs (staffy) and i don’t seem to know what i am doing wrong . please help, we got a 2 year old nephew who really wants to play with her .

    • shibashake says

      What type of training exercises have you tried? What was your puppy’s response? What is your puppy’s daily routine? Please note that saying no and pushing a puppy away is *not* what I do.

      I do not physically engage with my puppy when I want to stop him from biting. Pushing my dog away or moving around a lot will only encourage my puppy to play and bite more. If I need to control my puppy, I use a leash. When my puppy is in training, I put a drag lead on him and I use that to control him if necessary. However, I only use a drag-lead under close supervision and I use a regular flat collar or harness. Absolutely no aversive collars.
      More on how I use a drag lead and how I teach my puppy self-control.

      I describe all the things that I do with my puppy in the article above. However, as you probably know, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer. In fact, when it comes to children and dogs, it is best and safest to get guidance from a good professional on how to teach both the child and the dog to interact positively and safely.

  18. Adam says

    hi, i have 10 weeks old shiba inu. i have had him for 2 weeks. i know that shiba is very special race so i decide to ask for your help. i read your article about biting and i apply it. however, Nero is very stubborn, and when i do something he doesn´t like he start biting and make furios noises. for example when i take him inside from the garden. i dont want to use physical punishments, but i want to have a little bit respect. what should i do ? thank you for your answer

    • shibashake says

      What exactly did you try? What was his exact response to each of these things? What is his daily routine like? What type of training is he used to? What management equipment are you using?

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so details of what we did, how our dog responds, his environment, routine, and more are all very important. This is why when in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer. A good trainer can meet with my dog, see his temperament, and observe his behavior within the context of his regular environment and routine. Timing and consistency are also very important, and those are things that a trainer also helped me with.

  19. aden grace says

    my puppy does not play with my old dog he thinks that my old dog want to bite him and starts crying but my older dog just wants to play

  20. Karen says

    Hi, i have a 12 week old pit/boxer mix female puppy, when shes sleeping and my 2 Yr old grandaughter wakes her..she growls and nips.what can i do to stop this behavior? Is she being aggressive? Should i find her a new home without young worried that this will stick with her as she ages and may hurt one of my grandchildren if i dont or cant correct this behavior.please help.

    • shibashake says

      Some dogs may instinctually snap when *startled awake*. This is a defensive response because a dog is more vulnerable when asleep, and may be disoriented when awoken suddenly, especially from a deep sleep. This is probably where the saying “let sleeping dogs lie” originates from.

      One time, my Shiba Inu was sleeping by my feet and I reached down to stroke him. He got startled awake, and air-snapped close to my hand. Now, I always make some noise first, and wait until he is properly awake before I physically interact with him.

      Young puppies also need training on self-control, bite inhibition training, how to properly interact with people, etc. I set up a consistent set of rules for my dog and a fixed routine. Similarly, I also set up rules for people who meet my dog so that they do so properly, and in a positive and safe way. I manage my dog carefully, set him up for success, and I make sure everyone in the house understands how to safely interact with him.

      Given that you have very young children about, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer. Proper management and prevention are key when training my puppy.

  21. Sakoya says

    I have 6 month old Belgian malinois German shepherd mix he tries to grab on to my cloths or anything part of my with his mouth when I walk away when he on a leash tied on something like a tree. He only does it when he gets very excited. Also when we pet him on the head when he gets really excited he play bites and it gets really annoying How do I stop him from doing those behaviors?

  22. Susann says

    Hi, your site is vey informative and helpful. I have a 7 month old mix of norwegian elkhound, finnish hound and bearded collie. The last weeks she started biting on my arms especially, she turns around and jumps up and bite while we are out walking. Especially at the end of the walk, and often at the same place… She stops after a while when I timeout and ignore her, but she bites quite hard now… How can I work better with her so this stops completely ?

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Inu, Sephy, used to do some crazy leash biting. Here is more on our leash biting experiences. Luckily, I did a lot of bite inhibition exercises with him when he was young, so he never really broke skin.

      Some other things that helped with Sephy is to put more structure around and during the walk.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. During Sephy’s difficult period, it was helpful to consult with good professional trainers who could observe Sephy’s behavior within the context of his routine and environment.

    • Susann says

      Thank you for the helpful answer and articles ! I live in a place where there is more moose than traffic and people :). So my Tuva has alot of nature and space for herself, and we hike alot. It seems like it does not matter how long or short and frequent the walks are, when she sees the house and know its time to finish the walk she starts this behavior. Today I tried several short walks, on the way from the house we take it easy and train during the walk and it seems to work out fine as it does most of the time, on the way back she turns around and start to jump and bite .. When i ‘no’ her in other situations she understands ‘no’ and stops, but in this it’s like she going completely ‘out of her mind’ .. if you know what I mean 🙂

  23. melanie says

    Very helpful I have 2 jack Russell / parson Russel cross puppies 6 wks old in couple of daysthey chew each others ears & tails til the other yelps quite loud obviously in pain iv tried to intervene but the attacking puppy grips tighter so cannot pull them off for danger of ripping the ear or whatever they locked on 2 at the time. I will try your method. …wish me luck

  24. Chloe Hooton says

    I just got a 3 year old Pomeranian dog, had him 1 week and ever since getting him he keeps biting, whenever he is excited(getting his lead to go on a walk) or when (taking his lead of)… Really need help as before getting him because he was moved around a lot and don’t want to get rid of him. Thanks

  25. Dianna says

    My 4 month old German Shepherd boy is such a sweet puppy 80% of the time. We find that 1 or 2 times a day he is a beast. He jumps and nips on us while constantly biting. My husband and I are nearing our wits end. I have to believe that teething or something is making this happen. Usually around breakfast time and dinner time we have noticed. Where would you think we should start in fixing this behavior. We go on long walks/run right after breakfast and soon after dinner. I feel like he is getting lots of exercise. do some dogs need more? Our other shepherds never acted like this.
    -very frustrated 3rd time owners of a German shepherd dogs.

    • shibashake says

      Frozen Kongs were really helpful in terms of keeping my Husky puppy occupied when she was young. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs, so they work for all of their food. That seems to be a good way for them to expend some of their energy in a positive way.

      Based on what I have read, dogs are crepuscular so they tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. My adult dogs are less hyper and are more in control of their impulses, so they are usually ok. However, my youngest Husky Lara, sometimes just needs to do zoomies to get her energy out. We also walk her early in the morning (before 7am) every other day.

      More on what I do when Lara jumps and bites on me.

  26. Prabahn Govender says

    i have a 10 week old siberian husky and a 3 year old german shepherd X labrador, they both love to play with each other but my husky bites way too hard for my other dog and hurts him, how do i stop this??

  27. Nikki says

    Hello there!
    I have a 10 week old beagle and all he ever does is bite! It isnt some playful soft biting rather hard biting and since it took us some time to control our reflexes, it has broken skin quite a few times.. It is my first dog and i decided on this breed after much consideration! My mother had a ferocious doberman who we had put finally put down.. Though it stil broke our hearts.. Now everyone we know has started making comparisons and it is making me really anxious.. I hav tried to sensitise him, scold him, smack him with a rolled up news paper and all it does is agitate him more n then he literally blindly starts attacking us! 🙁 The only thing that slows him down is a spray bottle but only long enough to enable us to get to higher ground… Trainers are impossible to come by where i live.. I am just wondering if there is a point of no return? If so when/how will i know? We have grown to love him soo much but he is yet to play with us without hard biting… 🙁 i tried rewarding him today and he just got really mad at me for not giving him all of the treats at once!! dont know what else to do!!

    • shibashake says

      I also had a difficult time with my Shiba Inu, Sephy. After a while, I realized that training is not just about giving rewards or punishment – timing, consistency, energy, and technique are all extremely important. In addition, management and setting up a calm and structured environment at home, also helped a lot with Sephy.

      Therefore, the first thing that I did was try to learn as much as I can about dog training and dog behavior. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, so here is where I get my dog behavior information.

      Dog behavior is also very context dependent, so I also got help from several good professional trainers. Having someone there to observe Sephy’s behavior, within the context of his surrounding environment was very helpful. A good trainer can help me with reading Sephy’s body language, understanding what triggers his behaviors, and guide me in coming up with a good plan for rehabilitation.

      I think that dog training is a bit of a misnomer, because it is more about people training than anything else. It is about me learning how to control my own energy and stay calm, how to provide the right response, how to time my responses properly, how to set up a consistent set of rules and a fixed schedule, how to motivate my dog to follow those rules, how to set my dog up for success, how to manage him so that he does not keep repeating undesirable behavior, and more.

      Here is more on how I trained my puppy.
      Here is more on how I deal with bad behavior.
      Here is more on how I discourage my puppy from biting.

      Trainers were helpful for me with Sephy because they helped me to learn more about dog behavior, faster. But in the end, it is about training myself, acquiring the knowledge necessary to understand my dog, and properly communicating with him in an effective manner.

  28. sarah says

    So I have a 9 week old female collie/ black lab mix, name is priscilla and I got her when she was 6 weeks old. She has an issue with biting. Ive tried to replace my hand with a toy but then she just drops the toy and goes back to my hands, toes, nose, hair, arms, legs, elbows, ears, eyebrows, anything she can get a hold of. She always plays, there is never a time when she doesnt bite. I yell no and ouch but it doesnt change anything. She recently started to bite very hard, shake her head n growl but shes wagging her tail; the only way she stops is if i scream very loudly. She refuses to go into her cages, she sees them as punishment or something because she will just cry and cry without stopping. I was told to let her cry just like a baby, I tried and listened to her cry for 2 hours. She was using the wee wee pads but now she wont use them, she will go to the bathroom everywhere but on them, including right next to them. I dont know what to do, please help me . I have an email if anyone is really willing because im not sure what else to do, i wanna train her myself not have someone else train her.

  29. Luna Theriot says


    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.

    • lynsey says

      I would stop any rough play that involves biting straight away. Tell your father it is unacceptable and would he think it would still be a laughing matter if it caused someone else to get hurt.

      Getting mad never helps and owner or a dog. You must be calm but firm. Aggression could be seen as a challenge to a dog or just noise.

      I would recommend getting a training plan in place for all the humans and dogs at the house to regain order and consistency

  30. Riva says

    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.

      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.

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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. 😀

      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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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-

      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-

      Here is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers site for the US-

  37. 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

  38. 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-

    • 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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??

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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. 😀

      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!

  45. 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.

    • 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!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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. 😀

      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.

  50. 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-

  51. 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.

  52. 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-

      Here are some of our experiences on resource guarding and eating trash during walks-

      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-

      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-

      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!

  53. Abe says

    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.

  54. 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.

      Bite inhibition training was also very helpful with Sephy.

  55. 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.

      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! 😀

  56. 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-

      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-

  57. 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! :'(

  58. 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. 😀

  59. 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.

  60. 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??

    • 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. DoctorWho737 says


    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.

  64. 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

  65. 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.

  66. 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-

  67. 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.
      – Using a drag lead.

      Here are some of our experiences on leash-training –

  68. 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.

      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.

      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. 😀 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 =)

  69. 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 –

  70. 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

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

  71. 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! 😀

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

  72. Andrea says

    Kiba’s finally remembered he’s a Shiba Inu and is getting an attitude. 🙂 He’s started nipping in the following scenarios:

    1.) If I pet his hind quarters when he’s hyper – he doesn’t like this, but an anti-mark will usually make him let it be. He’ll still open his mouth and shake his head at me, but he won’t make contact with his mouth.

    2.) When we’re sitting on the couch with our feet on the ottoman – he’ll bit the backs of our calves. Nothing seems to help with this behavior except closing his mouth firmly while anti-marking.

    3.) When he gets hyper playing – redirecting or stopping play will USUALLY work.

    I like the time out idea, but the only appropriate room downstairs is a bathroom with a cabinet he could (and would) eat. We have an upstairs laundry room, but even at a brisk walk, it takes about 45 seconds to catch the puppy, climb over the baby gate, go up the stairs, and stick him in. I’m worried in that time he’ll forget why he’s even going.

    Any suggestions? What about a second crate that’s put in a quiet, low light area just for time out?

    One other thing – When his nipping gets really annoying and he isn’t responding to anti-marks or stop of play, I’ve been holding his muzzle closed. He doesn’t think it’s a game (he really hates it) and it will make him stop most of the time.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Andrea,
      Sorry for the late reply. I just got a Sibe puppy last weekend and have been busy doing potty training.

      I am also getting a good reminder of the key challenges of caring for a new puppy. I suppose it gives me some good material to write about once all the craziness is over with and I catch up on some sleep. 😀

      In terms of time-out there are two other possibilities –
      1. Use a tie-down. This allows you to tether him in a non-enclosed but hopefully low stimulus area of the house.
      2. Use a puppy enclosure. This has been working well with my Sibe puppy, although I mostly use it for potty training. The nice thing with an enclosure is that it is easy to put puppy into it, and puppy will not have any bad associations with his crate.

      In general, it is best not to use a crate for time-out because we want Shiba to view it as a positive and safe space. In this way, he will willingly go into his crate at night or when nobody is home.

  73. K says

    Adopted dog BITING VISITORS! help!

    Hi- I adopted a fixed 7 YO male about a month ago. He is fairly well behaved with me & does respect me in all areas but one: He purposely bites visitors. This behavior was displayed on day 2- I thought, due to fear of new home, people, etc…but it has not subsided. He will greet them calmly and even approach to be pet- go and lay down, but after if they dare to move at ALL… he will charge, bite their feet or legs… of course this was not mentioned during adoption from prior owner.. and quite frankly, I am afraid to be sued. I am not afraid of the dog and do not back down or away, and he knows he has done wrong as he will lay down or try to run after doing it.. but he KEEPS doing it! I have tried removing toys etc.. the dog simply does not care because he generally doesn’t want them till hours later anyway. “No”, “Time out”… not working..Even leash correction ,which I now have him on leash at all times, he’s not getting it. Most recently he also did the behavior outside with a neighbor. I have pretty much given up on this and I quite frankly don’t want a dog that cannot be trusted near others- ANY ideas? Shelters & trainers advice ” oh well just tie him up when company comes” yeah, great. And I can also catch a wolverine & tie that in the corner as a pet too- any last ideas, or sanctuary locations in the NorthEast welcome. Very sad about this situation.

    • shibashake says

      Hello K,
      From what you describe it sounds like the dog is trying to keep people from leaving him. Likely, he has not had an easy life, and is afraid of being left behind yet again.

      Since he has already progressed to biting, it may be best to get a professional trainer to help manage this behavior. In particular, the dog now associates people leaving as something very negative. To help manage the behavior, we want to help him re-associate “the people leaving event” with something positive.

      One thing that may help is to lead the dog away from the person before the person leaves. Then hold onto the leash and engage the dog in play or obedience exercises while the person leaves. In this way he is distracted from the “leaving event” and most importantly he is not close to people when they leave.

  74. Vanni says

    My Shiba Inu (Cookie-3mo old) wont stop biting me and my husband. We tried the methods of yelping/screaming when he bites, time out room when he kept on biting even though we yelp but none of that helps. His first encounters with other people, he would act shy and timid… but after a while of knowing you, then he shows his monster inside of him. The more I yelp, the more i think I become his squeeky chew toy. So I was wondering what should I do next?

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm – I would definitely stop doing the yelping thing because it seems to increase his excitement. Based on what you are saying, Cookie probably views biting as a fun game to play and yelping makes it seem like even more fun.

      Sephy was also very mouthy as a puppy and what worked best for him are time-outs. How does Cookie act after you let him out of time-out? What do you do if he starts biting again after time-out? How long do you put him in time-out for and usually how many back-to-back time-outs does he get? Timing and technique were very important for Sephy when I was giving him time-outs.

      Another possibility is that you could play with Cookie in a puppy pen. If he bites too hard, non-mark him (ack-ack) and withdraw all your attention. If he continues, then just leave the puppy pen and close the door behind you. This shows him that if he bites too hard, play stops and he loses access to his most cherished person – you.

      Another possibility is sound aversion. Put a bunch of coins in a can. When Cookie starts biting non-mark him (ack-ack) and withdraw all of your attention. If he continues, then calmly get the can and shake it to make a loud sound. This will startle Cookie. Also most dogs really don’t like that sound so after some repetitions, it may get them to reduce the behavior.

      Finally, bite inhibition training also really helped with Sephy. Shibas tend to be very mouthy dogs so Sephy’s first reaction to most things is to bite. Bite inhibition training really saved me when he got older and started to do some really serious leash biting and jacket biting on me. Here is more on bite inhibition –

      Good luck. Let us know how it goes with Cookie.

  75. Ivan says

    Hello! my name is Ivan and my family has a shiba-inu as well. His name is Juno and i would just like to know if there is a way to make him more social with other dogs because when he sees other dogs, he gets very aggressive and very scary to the dog and to me. I don’t really know how to make him calm and just get along with other dogs. We got Juno when we was 6 months old already, so I don’t know if it is because he was not trained with other animals when he was a puppy or is it because he is a shiba-inu, since we all know, stubbornness is a shiba-inu trait. We love out little Juno and can’t wait to celebrate his 1st birthday very soon. thank you for this website since I have learned so much from it. you are a life-saver!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ivan,
      Yeah Shibas can be very particular about other dogs. My Shiba really does not get along with dominant dogs and he does not like dogs sniffing his butt. Some things that have helped us most –
      1. Only do dog introductions slowly and in a controlled environment. Nowadays I only do one-on-one greetings. Dogs parks for example, I have found to be way too chaotic for Shiba Sephy.
      2. Carefully observe Shiba and see what are the things that trigger stress. Is it other dogs coming in his space? Is it other dogs sniffing his butt?
      3. Controlling my own energy. I used to get stressed worrying about what Shiba might do. That made things worse because Shibas especially are very sensitive to the energy of the people around them. Sephy quickly picked up on my stress and started getting stressed himself.

      I have written several articles about Shiba Sephy’s experiences with other dogs that may be helpful –
      Socializing a Shiba Inu to Other Dogs
      Dog to Dog Aggression

      Big Happy Birthday wishes to Juno! Let us know how things go with him.

  76. shibashake says

    Hello Meaghan,

    I also considered using a shock collar on my Shiba in the beginning because he was so out of control. After doing some research into these collars, I decided against it. Here are some of the things I found –

    What worked best for my Shiba in terms of his biting –
    1. Having a drag lead (only with a flat collar) on him at all times when he is outside of his crate and I am around to supervise. The drag lead allowed me to more easily control him without playing his favorite catch me if you can games.

    2. Time-outs – Biting on people is a time-out offense. Every time he bites, I non-mark him (ack-ack) and if he does not stop I say time-out and put him in the laundry room where it is very boring and there is nothing to do. This way he learns that if he bites – he loses his freedom and his ability to be with his pack.

    3. Bite-inhibition – This trained him to have a soft mouth which really saved me later on when he started going crazy with leash biting.

    4. Following the NILIF program – This simply means Shiba must do something for me first before getting anything in return including all food, toys, affection, freedom, getting out of time-out, everything.

    5. Consistent set of rules, consistent enforcing of those rules, and controlling my own energy.

    Here are two more articles that may help –
    Puppy Obedience Training

    Pack Leader to an Aggressive Dog

  77. Meaghan says

    I have a 6 month old Shiba Inu. I have been having a problem with her biting. She likes to go after peoples feet and grab their pants when people walk. Ever since she was spayed about 1 week ago she has become more aggressive and constantly biting. Everytime she gives me a toy she bites my hand or leg when I am ignoring her. She has never drawn blood but the strength of her bites have gotten worse. I have used clapping, a can with coins, tabasco sauce, and grabbing her muzzle. After grabbing her muzzle and releasing it she would lung and snap back at my hand. With the tabasco sauce in a spray bottle she runs away I can not catch her so she does not always get reprimanded. I am looking at getting a shock collar because I don’t know what else to do. Every time I say no to her about anything she does not listen and I have run out of ideas. Do you have any??

  78. shibashake says

    It is important to set rules and boundaries within the house so that the dog understands what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
    Another important aspect is the energy of the people in the house. If people are fearful or nervous around the dog, it will cause the dog to be fearful and nervous as well which may then result in aggression.
    It is probably best to get a professional trainer to come visit so that he can observe your dog and come up with a program that everyone in the family can follow. Your dog is still very young so now is the best time to re-train these behaviors and redirect him into positive activities.
    A good professional trainer will be able to help you do that.

  79. Daniel says

    Hi I have a 12 week old Jindo dog that bite and growls at family members. He hasn’t bite me or my dad yet but he growls at us occasionally. He has bite my mom 3 times and my sister twice and growls more at them. What are some things that i can do to fix this behavior?

  80. shibashake says

    Haha – yeah Shiba Sephy is very stubborn as well. What works best is to convince him that it is something he wants to do anyway 🙂 Also, when I interact with my Siberian, Sephy will get all interested and want to show that he can do commands as well – lol. Competition works very well with a Shiba.
    “By the way your shiba is very gorgeous i think my puppy will turn out that color but she still has puppy fluff :)”
    Thanks! Haha- I liked the puppy fluff. It is interesting that Sephy had a dark muzzle when he was a puppy but it got really light when his adult coat grew in.
    Would love to see your furball so post some pictures for us when you have the time.

  81. x.xToxIC_LovEx.x says

    Thanks I’m going to teach her the drop command and leave-it shes really good with learning new things but shes also very stubborn :)!!! By the way your shiba is very gorgeous i think my puppy will turn out that color but she still has puppy fluff 🙂

  82. shibashake says

    Hello x.xToxIC_LovEx.x,
    It is no bother at all 🙂 Asking questions is a sign of a good dog owner.
    My Shiba Inu used to try to eat everything as well. It is a very common puppy behavior because everything is so new and puppy wants to examine everything. Some things that helped –
    1. Teaching my puppy the Leave-It and Drop commands.
    2. Teaching my puppy the Object Exchange game.
    3. Being very vigilant initially and preventing puppy from getting the thing in his mouth.
    Here are more details on these techniques-
    To discourage pulling during walks, here are some techniques that helped with my dogs –

    Good luck!

  83. x.xToxIC_LovEx.x says

    Thank you so much!!!! I’m sorry to be a bother but when i try to take her on walks she gets very distracted and tries to eat everything is there a way to actually get her to walk so i dont have to constantly tug on the harness?

  84. x.xToxIC_LovEx.x says

    Hi I just brought a shiba inu on the 23rd and shes a great puppy but she has these moments where she goes crazy and runs around and shes very hard to calm down. Also shes only like that when she enters my room. Do you have any advive it would be greatly appreciated!!!! 🙂

  85. shibashake says

    lol – Flash sounds like a happy puppy.
    In terms of your mother-in-law, here are some things that may help based on what you describe –
    1. Energy
    Dogs are very sensitive to the energy of the humans around them. When I am nervous or fearful, my Shiba would pick up on that energy and get nervous/fearful/excited and therefore escalate his hyper behavior. It was very difficult for me, but once I started controlling my own energy things improved significantly with my dogs.
    One thing that may help is for you to be there for several sessions together with your mother-in-law and Flash. Show her some of the training techniques that you use on Flash when he misbehaves and show Flash that it is not acceptable to misbehave with your mother-in-law.
    I was able to stay more calm when I had a plan of what to do in response to my dog’s craziness.
    Also get her to do obedience training with Flash and to practice the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program.

    2. Food Guarding
    When my Shiba was young, he started to guard his toys. It was mostly because he would always pick up trash from the street and I would forcefully take those things away from him. In this way he started associating me and people in general to having his stuff/food taken away.
    Here are some things I did that helped with my dog’s food guarding behavior –

    3. Bite inhibition and then No Bite
    What really helped with my Shiba was to do bite inhibition exercises. This will help a dog learn to control the force of his bites, so that when he does bite – it will not even break skin.

    Then later on, I consistently enforced a No-Bite rule with my dogs. No nipping at all – if they do they go to time-out.
    Here are some other things that helped with my Shiba puppy-
    Good luck and let us know how it goes. Happy Holidays to you and Flash 🙂

  86. debbie says

    I have a cockapoo “flash” who’s almost 7months old. He’s pretty well behaved when i’m home, just the normal nipping and chasing the children, oh and chewing on everything he can get his mouth on!!! He’s very good with the kids, and so loveable. I bought him lots of toys and that seems to help. the problem is when i’m not at home, my mother-in-law comes over and Flash gets out of control!!!! he has bitten her 2 times now drawing blood. one time she was trying to take food away, the second time she was taking a shirt away that he was chewing on. He gets very hyper, jumping up on her, nipping at her hands.

    I feel like he’s a different dog when i’m not at home.

    please help, I want everyone else to love him too.

  87. shibashake says

    Hmmm, since there are multiple methods here, perhaps you could say which methods you tried and what did not work.
    Some of the methods did not work well for my Shiba either. Time-outs worked best for me.
    But if things are getting worse, it is probably best to get a professional trainer who can observe your dog and implement a training program together with you.
    Good luck.

  88. Mia says

    Thank you so much for your advice, I will read up on all of it as soon as my daughter and Shiba go down for their nap. I really hope one of these things will help. Thanks

  89. Mia says


    I have a 10 weeks old Shiba and we can’t get him to stop biting on us, worst of all on our toddler. He bites so hard he breaks the skin on our daugther most of the times, needless to say she’s very affraid of him now. We tried all the things, time outs, redirecting, the waterbottle nothing helps. All she wants to do is bite from the minute she comes out of the crate until she goes back in there, she’s not interessted in toys, games, even outside all she does is biting on us. We are currently stationed in Japan and sadly don’t speak the language and can’t find a trainer or class in english so we took him to our vet who wasn’t very helpful. So is there anything else we can do? I am worried about when she becomes older and bites harder.

  90. shibashake says

    Hello Mia,
    Shibas are really stubborn and will keep doing something if they think there is even a small chance that they can get away with it.
    If she bites, non-mark her (No or Ack, ack) and put her in time out. Put a drag lead on her so that you can more easily control her and take her to time-out. When she comes out, if she bites again, then put her back in time out, but for a longer period. If you keep repeating this, and are consistent, she will learn that any biting gets her put in time-out which is really not fun at all.
    She could also be teething – so get her some safe chew toys to use.
    Finally, you definitely want to do bite inhibition exercises with her.

    Here are some other techniques that helped me with my Shiba when he was a puppy –

    Also, try and exercise her a lot more with walks. That way she gets rid of excess energy and will be easier to train and handle while at home.
    It is important not to fear your Shiba as that will cause her to misbehave more. Shibas are very sensitive to human energy, and what helped me the most was to stay calm at all times. This article on techniques I used when my Shiba was acting out may also be helpful –

    Let me know how it goes.

  91. Tasha says

    First of all, all you advice on shibas has been so insightful and very helpful.

    My Shiba Dexter (9months old) is coming along nicely. He used to nip badly but now goes and grabs a toy to show everyone when people arrive at my home or when i come home, the funniest part is that he does it of his own accord! XD

    The only problem i am having with him is the small mischief he causes as soon as a back is turned. He has (on two occasions now) eaten a pumpkin shaped candle which belongs to my fiance’s parents. They are very intolerant of him seeing that he is a shiba and needs discipline while they let there dogs have free reign and never have problems (yeah right).

    Anyway, i am at a loss at what to do since when i come into the room the deed is done and he is already off frolicking. any advice?


  92. shibashake says

    “He used to nip badly but now goes and grabs a toy to show everyone when people arrive at my home or when i come home, the funniest part is that he does it of his own accord!”
    That is awesome! Shibas can be really sweet sometimes 🙂
    As for the back-turning mischief, my Shiba does that too so I don’t know how much help I will be. I always keep one eye or at least one ear on him to make sure he stays out of trouble.
    One thing that may help is to exercise him a lot. When my Shiba is tired, he usually just lays around and sleeps.
    I also put anything most things out of his reach so when he resorts to pulling things off shelves, it is usually his own toys. In general, you don’t want to chase him around because that will only make it into a fun game and reinforce the scamp behavior. If I can’t stop him from getting it, then I just ignore my Shiba. He usually gets bored with what he has and goes off to do something else.
    Another thing that I have never used myself, but could be interesting is to place pressure sensitive sound pads on areas that you don’t want him to go. However, knowing a Shiba, he may just keep testing it and grow to like the sound – lol.
    Shibas love to test their boundaries – part of their roguish charm I guess. Often my Shiba will wait until I am around to cause mischief because when there is nobody around, he does not have an audience 🙂
    Management of the environment is the easiest thing to do, I think.

  93. shibashake says

    Hi Tiger,

    One thing that really worked well with my dogs is to do the following –

    1. Fold you arms up.

    2. Non mark her – ack-ack.

    3. Turn away from her – don’t move back just turn away. Keep turning away as long as she is jumping and ignore her.

    4. As soon as she stops jumping – mark that behavior – good girl. Ask her for a sit, and give her affection while she is calm.

    5. If she starts jumping again, non-mark and repeat.

    Playing with other dogs will help with energy a lot. If you have any dog daycares near you, they will usually have puppy classes and/or puppy play sessions. The one that I have near me organizes puppy play sessions for free. It helps with socialization and really helps get the zoomies out.

  94. Tigermadstanley says

    Thanks for the suggestions. We got a 7 week old black lab 2 weeks ago. She gets very excited when she sees us and jumps up and bites. We are trying hard to break the habit but some days are worse than others. I’m hoping that once she’s had her 2nd innoculation in 2 weeks and we can start walking her that it will calm her down. We’ve tried timeout which is quite successful but sadly we haven’t anywhere particularly boring for her!

  95. john says

    hello I have a 7 month old shiba who looks just like yours. He’s still mouthing on me but i’m still working on correcting that. 3 days ago my girlfriends mom gave him a steak bone to chew on in the yard. While he was working on that bone my girlfriends brother walked in front of him and all of a sudden he got up on all four, hair standing up, and started screaming and yelling at him guarding his bone. He tried to bite my girlfriends brothers foot so right away I grabbed his leash and pulled him towards me and away from my girlfriends brother. He then got a hold of my hand and started biting and chewing on it. Well he broke skin and my hand was bleeding all over the place. That was the first time i’ve ever seen him like that..any advice? He is currently enrolled in obedience class but i’m starting to think he needs one on one training since he only wants to play with other dogs while they are listening to their owners.

  96. Mona says

    My Norweigan Elkhound was super-mouthy and what has worked best is a loud, sharp “ah ah, no!” or “tsch!!!” sound and then I give his body a quick poke with my finger and say “Ouch!”. Then show him where he ‘hurt’ me, so to speak. After a while, he began to show remorse and would give kisses if asked. Cute!!!

  97. shibashake says

    Hi John,
    Re food aggression:
    Here are some things to try:
    1. Don’t give him any bones or other high priority items such as raw meat etc. You want to set him up for success and reduce the number of instances where he is showing aggression over food.

    2. If he shows any aggressive behavior, you should non-mark him (No or Ack-ack). If he continues, remove him to timeout. Make sure you are safe at all times though, so wear thick gloves if necessary when you are taking him to time-out. This way he learns that aggression gets him nowhere and that if he is aggressive with people, he doesn’t get to be with people.

    3. If he is not overly aggressive over food, you can try hand-feeding him. Only do this if he is not overly aggressive and will not just go for your hand right away. If you are able to hand-feed him, then you can start training him on bite inhibition exercises.

    4. I would also start to make him work for all of his food. Use food for training, grooming, etc. Put the rest in interactive food toys so that he has to work for everything. Also follow the NILIF program – this means he has to do something for you first (e.g. Sit, Down) before he gets anything in return – including opening doors, getting a toy, getting any food, etc. This will show him that you are in control of all the resources, and the fastest way to get what he wants is to do what you want first.

    5. Make sure to remove all resources when you have guests over. This will keep things safer while you are re-training him, and it will also reduce the number of aggression episodes. The less he practices it, the less it will be a habit.

    Here are more food aggression techniques:

    Re classes: You are right in that private classes will be very helpful. Initially I attended both group and private classes.

    The private classes I mainly used to come up with strategies for dealing with bad behaviors at home.

    The group class is also useful because it helps you practice getting your Shiba’s attention in highly distracting environments. It also helps with dog-dog socialization, which is very important for a Shiba because they tend to get dog aggressive as they get older. The techniques you learn in group class will also be very helpful in the private sessions when you are trying to troubleshoot particular issues, for example food aggression issues.

    In this way you can just focus on the problem behaviors during the private sessions, rather than learning how to do specific commands.

    Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

  98. shibashake says

    Hi Mona,

    I love the look of the Norwegian Elkhound! I have been thinking of getting one. How old is yours? When did you get him? How is his temperament? He sounds like a sweetie.

    The “ack-ack” works well for my Shiba too. Finger pokes worked initially, but only for a very short time. In the long-term, redirecting onto a toy, or withdrawing my attention (time-out lite) seems to work better for my Shiba.

  99. Tsuki & Haruki says

    Hahaha! Exchanging is not possible. Hehe!
    Sure! Images I can do! I’ll photoshop a coffee in along with Haruki’s naughty face! ^_^

  100. Tsuki & Haruki says

    Thanks for the reply!
    Haruki is doing much better now! He understands very well the meaning of the quiet room! He’s not so aggressive towards my hands and only nips….but mostly he knows he’s not allowed! Thanks to you, he’s much much better. He’s finally acting like a puppy! I have guests over and everyone is saying that he’s great and calm! I really can’t thank you enough!
    He’s only three months, so I know there’s going to be the “challenging phase” lets hope it doesn’t come, but if there’s anymore concerns, I’ll definitely turn to your blog for more info!
    You’re so great for sharing your experiences! Really appreciate in what you are doing! If there’s any way that I could send you a coffee, please let me know!

  101. shibashake says

    Hello Tsuki,

    I am very glad to hear that Haruki is doing so well! Want to exchange Shibas? 🙂

    “If there’s any way that I could send you a coffee, please let me know!”

    lol – a happy Shiba is a good enough reward for me. And your nice words are also greatly appreciated. I would love to see Haruki though, so send some pictures over when you have the time 🙂

  102. Sarah says

    if anyone knows anything about how to stop dog biting I would be happy to listen to it I know ginger is a good dog but she has a bad habit of doing it PLEASE HELP by telling me what I should and should’t do then please tell me Im crying because I don’t know what to do Sarah age 14

  103. Sarah says

    I want to know how to get my dog ginger to stop biting me and everybody in our family PLEASE HELP yours truly Sarah at age 14

  104. shibashake says

    Hi Sarah, Could you tell me a bit more about Ginger? How old is she? Did this biting behavior just start or has she always been that way? When does she bite? (e.g. when you try to pet her, when you play with her?) Have you tried to stop her from biting? If so, what have you tried, and how did Ginger react?

    There are a variety of techniques you can try (including the ones listed above) to control non-serious biting (just mouthing, and no breaking of skin). For more serious biting issues, it is usually best to get a professional trainer who can come over and observe Ginger. In this way, the trainer can accurately assess the reasons for Ginger’s biting behavior, and come up with a training program to help you and Ginger communicate with each other more effectively. Dog misbehavior is commonly a result of mis-communication or mis-understanding between dog and human.

  105. shibashake says

    *Poke* – Don’t make me come over there and seek my dogs on you!

    In any case, I still think you are a dog lover at heart. If you are willing to do Mission Impossible type stunts to feed your landlord’s dog; I can only imagine what you would be willing to do for your own dog 😀

  106. quicksand says

    Hi shibashake!
    I was wondering if my “woof-thud” method would work here. If it does, I have a good mind to patent it! Please help.

  107. shibashake says

    Hi Jeannie, From your description, it sounds like it could be a case of excess energy. Dogs are crepuscular, and tend to be very active in early morning and late evening. One thing to try is to take him out for a walk during those times (before he starts his crazy, aggressive, behavior). Another thing that I do is make my dogs work for all of their food. I stuff it in all kinds of toys and they have fun digging it out. At the same time they get some mental stimulation while figuring out how to get at the food. Here are some of the toys that I got for my dogs:

    Playing games can also help with bonding, energy release, and stress release.

    Note however, that you are absolutely right in not allowing him to escalate his aggression. It is best to try and reduce the number of aggression displays with exercise and obedience exercises, but if he does get aggressive, it is important to stop him from escalating. Time-outs work best for my Shiba Inu but different methods may work better for different dogs depending on their temperament. To make it easier to catch him, you can try putting on a drag-lead. That way when he runs, you can just step on the lead. Make sure to cut off the loop on the lead so that it does not catch on anything, and make sure to only use a flat collar (NOT a choke, prong, or any other aversive collar). Good luck. Let us know how it goes with your little guy.

  108. Jeannie says

    I have a 12 week old male shih-tzu who is real calm except that a couple of times a day – usually early morning and late evening he will lunge at my feet and bite – will also lunge out at hands and has drawn blood. He has a coupel of toys that when he is in that ‘state’ he will shake vigourously form side to side and get real angry with. Otherwise he is calm.
    From reading your comments I think its dominance aggression so am practicing lots of calm assertive behaviour and correcting him but when he’s in ‘a frenzy’ he’s hard to catch and calm down. Should I just time him out then? Any other advice or tips very very welcome.

  109. shibashake says

    Hi Asherlééi.

    The situation you describe is actually a pretty common one. It happens when different people in the house treat the dog differently. As a result of this, the dog may see us and him as belonging to the same pack, and our parents as being in a different pack, i.e. outsiders. The dog may growl or show aggression to protect his own pack from outsiders (our parents). He may hump because he does not know that the behavior is undesirable by us.

    It is probably best to get help from a positive reinforcement trainer. A trainer will be able to observe the dog and accurately diagnose the key issues. A trainer will also be able to give us detailed instructions and show us what we need to do to fix things. Visit this site to find a trainer near you:

    To fix this issue, it would probably be most effective if everyone participates. Everyone should have a hand in training, feeding, and doing other activities with the dog so that he sees the whole family as his pack. I usually have a very consistent set of house rules, that everyone applies in the same way. This allows us to communicate more clearly to our dog and prevents confusion. I also make sure to only reward my dog (including affection, food, freedom, etc.) when he is doing something good and desirable. Many people make the mistake of giving affection to a dog all of the time, even when he is misbehaving, and this encourages the dog to keep repeating those misbehaviors.

    I also follow the NILIF program to give my dogs a fixed structure and a fixed routine.

    I also do frequent, but short obedience training sessions with all of my dogs every day.

    The best thing though, is probably to get help from a professional trainer.

  110. Asherlééi says

    My dog is quite older , he is addicted to me and stays away from my mum and dad he humps my leg and growles if anyone shouts at me or touches me and has bite 3 times hes a lovable bichon frise but I cant fix this problem no matter what advice I get , I really need help and my stupid dad says that if he ever bites him he will get him put down immediatly i’m sooo worried Its partly my fault because I never discipline him but can anyone help ?. WB immediatly before its too late Thanks Vry much

  111. shibashake says

    I would start with having the child toss a treat to him first. Make sure to only do this when he is calm and not being insistent about wanting the food – i.e. nosing, whining, etc. Make sure that the dog never uses aggression to try and “bully” the food from the child.

    Generalizing the training to a variety of kids will definitely help, but it is important to only do this with kids who are good about following instructions and who can stay calm, so that the dog doesn’t get distressed during the training sessions. It can often be a challenge to find kids who are willing to do this 🙂

    Definitely consider getting a professional trainer. The aggression may come from a variety of reasons. A good trainer will be able to read the dog and accurately identify the root of the aggression. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

  112. izettl says

    Very helpful advice especially about the desensitization techniques. Will check out that show on National Geo also. It’s amazing how quickly people (even our vet) tell us to get rid of our dog, but I would like to have some hope that things will get better. You give me some hope. I would even be willing to try a trainer specifically for this isuue too. One more thing… would you have the child give him a treat sometimes too, when he is behaving well around her? Do you think the training will help him be better around other kids in general too, if we just train him around our child? We put a muzzle on him when we walk him because kids run up to him (he is tiny and cute so very hard to resist) and he has snipped at them.

    Thank you for the wonderful advice- you know dogs for sure!

  113. shibashake says

    I think that most dogs can be retrained, but (why is there always a but?) it may take a lot of time, and the end result may not always be perfection. It is easier to teach dogs when they are young because then, their mind is open to new experiences, and they are very eager to learn. It is also easier to prevent a behavior than it is to break a bad habit that has already been reinforced time after time.

    The most important thing about fear aggression, I think, is the energy of the humans around the dog. Usually, when a dog shows aggression, our natural reaction is to become fearful ourselves, and that will make the dog even more fearful and more aggressive – leading to a vicious cycle. For now, you may want to put a basket muzzle on your dog when he is around children. This usually helps to put everyone at ease because there is less danger of anyone getting hurt. Only do this if your dog is not stressed or fearful of the muzzle or it may worsen the problem.

    Do controlled desensitization exercises several times, every day. First start off the dog at a distance from the child. It has to be far enough so that the dog is still calm. Ask the child to ignore the dog. Reward and praise the dog for being calm in the presence of a child. It also helps to ask the dog for some simple commands, e.g. “watch”, “sit”, and reward him for doing that in the presence of a child. Then you can *slowly* reduce the distance. If the dog starts acting out, then you have moved too close, too quickly. Move back and restart. Make the sessions short and fun so that your dog starts to associate good things with children, and learns not to be fearful of them. At other times, give the dog a nice quiet area away from children, so that he does not practice his aggression.  

    Have you seen the show DogTown on NatGeo? They are a dog shelter, and they often take in many dogs with aggressive histories and then retrain them. I really enjoy the show and it always makes me feel very hopeful. Last season they even took in Michael Vick’s dogs and retrained them. Quite amazing.

    I would definitely try desensitization exercises and consult a positive reinforcement trainer trainer on this. In cases of aggression, it always helps to have a trainer observe the dog and identify what exactly is causing the dog distress, and the level of distress. Hope this helps. Please let us know how things go.

  114. izettl says

    I have tried some of these techniques but my chihuahua has learned to fear children from past experiences before we owned him. He has scratched my nephew’s skin with his teeth- never punctured skin. Now we have a toddler and he snarls and jerks his neck toward her as if to bite, but doesn’t. THe vet told us to get rid of him soon. If a dog has a bad past- we got him when he was 1 and now he’s 5- is there any hope for re training. He autmoatically reacts in fear toward kids, but our child has never hurt him- she is vey gentle and always monitored around him.

  115. shibashake says

    Thanks for visiting ellie. How serious are the fights? Break skin? puncture wounds? Do they also bite people in the house? How serious are those bites? What have you tried so far?

    If the fights are serious (e.g. puncture wounds) it is best to get a professional trainer, who is familiar with these more dominant, powerful, breeds, to come over and help. There is usually a lot going on wrt. body language, triggers, etc. that may lead to a fight, and a trainer will be able to observe the root of the problem and address that.

    In the meantime, it may be best to manage the dogs so that they are always supervised when they are together. In general, I find that it is best to stop my dogs from practicing any kind of aggression. Exercise will also help. The more tired my dogs are, the less frustrated energy they have, which can frequently trigger a fight.

  116. ellie says

    my dog keep fighting what do i do iv tryed everthing so far.sometimes they are the nices things ever.they are a bull-dog&a boxer.the bull-dog mostly starts the fights but then my boxer goes him.AHHHHH!they are called frank&bruno.the boxer is called bruno&the bull-dog must be called frank!

  117. shibashake says

    Hi Jim. Thanks for sharing your story. Most dog bites I think are preventable with some training and management. And it is probably not a matter of liking you or not, but rather responding to the type of energy you were projecting. It has been my experience, with my own dogs, that when I project fearful energy, they start acting out.
    I think it is really awesome that your past experience did not prevent you from getting a dog of your own. She sounds like a really fun and balanced dog.

  118. jim10 says

    I am thankful for the hub. I was bit by the same dog twice when I was little. It was my aunt’s dog and I don’t remember doing anything that could have provoked him. The first time I was patting him normally I had been around other dogs without issues. (So I don’t think it was me, but I was about 10.) I guess he was tired of it and bit my hand. The next time we had a cookout. I was just getting my food and he stood in front of me then lunged at me and bit me in the face. I think that dog bit my cousin too. But not badly. From what I can remember my uncle always played very roughly with him. But I think he just didn’t like me.
    Well on a more pleasant note. Last year my family and I got the perfect dog. She is part Black Lab and part Chow. She is the friendliest and kindest dog I’ve ever seen. She did mouth a little as a puppy and the vet suggested yelping whenever she touched skin and it worked great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.