How to correct a puppy when nipping??

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.


Member Since
Barked: Wed Jun 26, '13 3:32pm PST 
Hi all! I'm sorry if this is a newbie question but I'm a first time dog owner, and am in need of some help. My lab/boxer mix who is 3 months old has a nipping problem. Yes I know it has to do with teething, however it's a rather interesting one: she only nips when I sit somewhere she wants to sit. I can be sitting in one sofa and she can sit on another and she dashes to me almost as if she wants to be held, but all she wants to so is sit on my lap and nip my hands! I've tried ignoring her, moving elsewhere, yelping, but nothing is really cutting it! It's funny because when I ignore her, she actually likes to get a tighter grip on me! I really do want her to not make a habit out of this, so if anyone can give me tips or anything that worked for them, that would be awesome! My scarred hands and I would greatly appreciate it! smile -Jane

Serious Face
Barked: Wed Jun 26, '13 4:24pm PST 
Could try putting bitter apple spray on your hands before you sit down. Then when she runs over an nips, she finds you're not very tasty. Not really a long term solution though if it doesn't deter your pup after a few days...

It does sound like she's trying to play. Whenever my boyfriend sits down, Arya is all over him, biting and his clothing/hands and wagging her tail furiously. She's just over-excited, but responds well to being ignored.

After her vaccines are all finished, it would be good to get her around some other dogs/puppies if too if possible. They'll help teach her when she's nipping too hard during play.

Where did I bury- that bone- again...
Barked: Wed Jun 26, '13 6:19pm PST 
Nipping is a pain, my puppy did it briefly when he got over excited during play. I found that a solid tap on the nose and an angry no would snap him out of it, though sometimes he needed a time out in his kennel.

Keep in mind that pups will be more inclined to nip when theyre hungry or tired so a time out in the kennel might just be a chance for her to grab a nap and relax. Plus, pups don't like being taken away from the situation so if they equate nipping with play ending then hopefully that will help as well.

The phase only lasted a couple of weeks though so hang in there and try to address it as best you can.


Miss- Pig!
Barked: Wed Jun 26, '13 6:36pm PST 
Seen as it's a perfectly normal behaviour, "tapping" your dog on the nose and getting angry with them really isn't fair. They don't know any better and rather than get frustrated you're better staying calm and redirecting the behaviour. For example when she starts getting really worked up you could refocus that energy and turn it into a mini training session, asking for gentle sits/downs etc. Time outs worked really well for Missy when she was a puppy. When she started getting OTT and nipping i'd stop all interactions with her, walk away and shut her in the room for 5 minutes or so. When I re-entered she was more interested in where I had been and what I had been doing than to continue the OTT playing. Redirecting her onto a toy helped somewhat too, although I found that encouraged her to remain hyped up, so I preferred the time outs and stopping all play.
Sally Beaker-

Professional- Bone Horder
Barked: Thu Jun 27, '13 3:59am PST 
It really sounds like your pup wants to play with you. When she nips, try yelping like a puppy. When puppies are young and playing with their litter mates, if one puppy gets to rough the other will obviously yelp. This usually gets the other to at least stop for a second.
The noise should be enough to distract your little girl so you can redirect her attention to something more appropriate, like a rope toy, other than your hands.
So, to recap: when she nips you, yelp. If she stops, tell her good girl and give her a toy to play with. I would pick something interactive, like a tug toy since she seems to want to play.
She should catch on that playing with a toy is was better than your hands. Good luck!
P.S. The bitter apple spray on your hands is a good idea too. wink

Member Since
Barked: Thu Jun 27, '13 7:17am PST 
Thank you all! I will try the bitter apple spray and continue on with the yelping I figure you're right about he wanting to play as she begins to lick me once she hears a couple of yelps out of me! Again, thanks for the suggestions/ probably causes! big grin

the world's- first blond,- agility Beagle
Barked: Thu Jun 27, '13 6:36pm PST 
This is going to be a fairly large dog. Start treating her like one now.

No sofa, or other furniture either. You are letting her push you around!
Put her on the floor. When she gets pushy, put a leash on her and take her for a nice long walk.

When she puts her mouth on you, say, "NO!" loud, sharp and deep. Immediately stand up, fold your arms and move toward her, one step should be enough. Then ignore her, walk away. Wait a minute then go back to where you were. Three strikes and she is out, time for a time out in the crate.

Good friends of mine just brought home a free, show quality German Shepherd. The former owner let it get away with everything because he 'WAS' a cute, sweet puppy. Then he hit adolescence and it all went bad. They had to get rid of the dog they spent thousands of dollars to buy. They cried because they loved the puppy he used to be. With my guidance, we will fix the dog, but it never had to get like this.
Don't let this be your story!!!
Rules, limits and get to classes so you know how to communicate without hurting your dog or spoiling her.