We recently received a question from Rachel about some puppy biting issues she was having with her 12 week old puppy.
Here is her question to us:
I have a 12 week old Labradoodle puppy (from a reputable breeder) who
has an excellent temperament and is picking up some basic obedience
very well, but who is a terrible chewer of all the things. I
understand that this is common puppy behavior, but he seems like an
extreme case. He tries to chew my dishwasher, the natural stone in my
kitchen, the wall, baseboards, furniture, etc.
He also bites my toddler when he wants to play with her.
Short of separating he and the toddler entirely and keeping him away
from anything he might chew up, what can I do (if anything, at this
age) to correct the behavior?
Here is our written response:
That is an excellent question, Rachel! The first thing I would ask, when we have unwanted behavior is, are you giving more freedom than the dog can be responsible for? Putting your puppy up and crating your dog or putting your dog in a play pen, are tools to managing your puppy. It seems, that you are also managing a very young child and a puppy at the same time. The first thing I would tell you and recommend to you is:
Don’t be afraid to use your play pen or your crate to seperate your puppy when you have more on your hand than you can communicate to your puppy. The next thing is,
it is actually very necessary for your dog to chew and to play with things, but you need to find appropriate things
So, my recommendation is, when you place your puppy inside his play pen, give it all the appropriate things, that you want it to be good at chewing. One of the things that we do, is, and what we train our own personal dogs, is help them differentiate between things we want them to use their mouth on and the things that we don’t want them to use their mouth on.
So with very young dogs, I don’t tell them:” Hey, I don’t want you to bite that!” What I try to promote very early on is, what I do want you to chew on. Having your puppy play with your toddler is probably not the best thing. Your puppy needs to play, but the way the puppy plays is the way it would play with other dogs, and that’s through the use of its mouth, which is for all practical purposes, its “hands”. Whereas when a child plays, you would not tell them, not to use there hands, but just, not to get too rough. It’s hard to tell that specifically to the dog. I am not saying, it’s impossible, but it’s not easy. So, teaching your puppy perhaps, that “Hey, when you play, play through an object as opposed to playing directly with your mouth on the child.” I really hope, that this has helped you in some way. If you have other questions, feel free to fill out one of the forms. You can sign up for one of our consultations. There is no risk in doing that at all. I will come to your home, I will evaluate your puppy. It will give you a great opportunity to learn more about how we can help you
clear some things up for your puppy and be on the road to be the best dog possible. Okay? Thanks for your time and if you have any other questions, feel free to give us a shout back.
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