(South Wales UK)
the cute look
Please help me.
Nico is a 9 week old Staff cross puppy. I had him from 6 weeks which I now know was too early. When I had him he was crawling with fleas & worms. All that is cleared now. He has gone from a cute sleepy puppy to a playful puppy who likes to charge at you & bite.
I know he's only playing but I can't have visitors to the house because he attacks them especially feet or hands if they are close enough.
I'm covered in marks on my hands & arms.
I have tried everything, but there is so much advice that I don't know which one is the best to take. Saying no makes no difference at all. Ive tried yelping, ignoring him, water pistol & I'm now on time out. I feel as if all I'm doing is shouting at him.
He worse when I'm trying to just relax & watch TV, he feels that's his time to play (even though we've already had 2 hours of play out the back garden).
He's due to have his second injections on Friday, I'm hoping walking him will help with his energy.
I'm at the point where I feel he isn't going to change. He even bit my mother last night.
Look at him, like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth :o) He's a little monkey!
I know that telling you that all puppies bite isn't going to help much at this point, but it's true .... they do. Of course, some are much more determined and stubborn about it than others, and it sounds as though Nico is one of them.
Excessive biting is one of the problems often seen in puppies who have left their momma too early, but it sounds as though your little guy wasn't in a good environment and is now at least healthy and strong. You've done a good job getting him that way, and this biting behavior is just another challenge of puppy parenthood.
It would seem that you've tried all the basic no-biting techniques without much success, however I think if you pick one (and the water spray bottle is a good one) and stick with it consistently you will see some improvement. Read my Puppy Biting page for tips and advice and then pick a strategy and stick with it (the breath-mint spray method mentioned there is also good)
You need to be very firm and consistent, but loving too. If you shout or get angry or harsh with him it will only 'up the anti' and he will respond by biting more. Staffys are great dogs, but they do tend to play rough at the best of times, and have very strong jaws, so it's important to stop this now while he's young.
Make sure everyone in your house is aware of the strategy you're using, and have them do the same thing. Inconsistency will make it more difficult to train him - eg if you use the spray when he bites you, but your mom doesn't do the same thing etc. Puppies are creatures of habit and learn through repetition, so you need to correct him in the same way over and over again before he 'gets it'. Staffys are also very intelligent and willing to please, so he will learn don't worry about that.
He needs lots of exercise, but it can 'wind him up' and too much is likely to make him very excitable. After he's had a good play session, I'd advise putting him in his crate with one or two of his favorite chew toys (see my Indestructible Dog Toys page for some great choices). This will give him a chance to calm down and he can take out all that nervous energy on his chewies. After that, take him outside for a potty break and then let him sit with you to watch TV or whatever.
Making sure he has a variety of interesting and sturdy toys will help to keep him occupied, and rotating them (giving him different ones every couple of days) will keep him from getting bored with them. Puppies NEED to chew, and if he has something he likes to chew on, it will help divert him from biting on you!
Once he's had all his shots, I'd definitely recommend enrolling him in an obedience class at a local dog obedience school. The socialization will help him, he'll get to play with other pups in a controlled setting too, and you can get help from a qualified instructor. A win-win for you both.
I know how trying this is right now (I had a German Shepherd pup who was a 'biter' myself and my arms were pretty scarred up for a while!), but it may help to realize that this behavior 'peaks' during puppyhood and will diminish over time. Obviously you need to make sure that Nico knows it's not okay and you have to control it with the methods described above, but once he begins to understand he will bite less, and over time the desire to bite will fade somewhat.
Please don't give up on him. He's been a lucky boy to find a good, loving home, and he's just doing what comes naturally. He needs you to help him learn so that he grows up to be all that he can be.
I wish you both the best of luck with your little guy, I'm sure he's going to be a wonderful dog.