Puppy Troubles - Barking and Biting

Puppy Troubles - Barking and Biting

Postby chelynnah » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:55 pm

From: lokkina (Original Message) Sent: 17/08/2004 14:59
Hello everyone.

I am in desperate need for some words of wisdom.

Lokki (our 12 week old male puppy) seemed to be progressing well. Except one accident this morning (when we were not quick enough to take him out) potty training is going really well. We took him to a large open space (with no dogs) for a run during the weekend and he enjoyed it tremendously. Lokki was a very happy then and it was such a pleasure to watch him run freely.

Here comes the trouble. It seemed that he woke up on a wrong foot yesterday. After Alex went to work he kept whining and whining, which I found strange, because I knew he was fed, and went potty. So, I figured he missed Alex, because the two of them were inseparable during the weekend. I decided to give him a quick rinse (he rolled in dust, grass and whatever else he was able to find during the run), and put him in the tub. That was a struggle, but we survived. After that things went crazy. He kept running around our bedroom and then jumped on the bed (and up to that point he did NOT know how to jump to a couch, because it was too high for him). Then he started barking at me, and running round the bed, because he did not how to jump down. I was not even able to approach him because he kept barking and barking. So, eventually I rolled him into the blanket he was laying on and brought put him down to the floor. The day went pretty much OK. In the evening he repeatedly barked at me and Alex, and it was not the “come to play with me” type of bark. It was kind of scary. When we were about to go to sleep he sneaked into the bedroom, jumped on the bed and the whole shenanigan started again. Alex eventually put him down to the floor, and all of us somehow went to sleep (Lokki in his crate and we were in our bed).

This morning (so far) seems to be even worse. Lokki barked at both Alex and me (for no apparent reason), he barked at the superintendent of the building (at whom he never barks), and he again barked at me in the house. In the past two weeks he would sometimes bark (very short bark) at Alex or me if we told him that something was “No”, but the barking was never as long and as serious as today. I am a bit worried, because neither of us would like that this becomes a habit.

Also, in the past two weeks, he would sometimes play with Alex’s or my hand and innocently chew on it. As of yesterday the chew is becoming really strong. I am quite positive that he does not want to bite us (he has never broken the skin while chewing), but it is getting really annoying.

We would like to “suppress” these facets of his personality. I am just not sure how. So far he has not been left alone in the house, and that is the next step. I have to start going to work at some point and he needs to be alone for a couple of hours (I can always come back and walk him). I am just not sure what to do, and how to approach the barking and chewing and being alone…..would not like to alienate him but still would like him to know the boundaries (that he can not bark at us or chew us).

Many many thanks.

P.S. Lokki is now sound asleep, and when you look at him could never tell that this angelic face is capable of thing I just described.

From: Kim-n-kids Sent: 17/08/2004 15:12
I'm sure you'll get lots of great advice from others here. My whippets don't like to be wet after a bath. They seem to go crazy trying to dry off. The barking at you then seems like he was telling you about it. My puppy would bark at me in the mornings to be fed. She still barks more than my other whippet.
We use a soup can filled with pennies and duct taped closed as a noise distraction to stop the puppy nipping. Shake can, say "NO' We also use it when she barks at our unsocialable cat.

Good luck!! Kim

From: lokkina Sent: 17/08/2004 15:30
Hi Kim,

I figured that barking after bath was a protest. That much I figured out. I was more worried about his behaviour this morning.

I know, he is still young, but I'd like to control unfavourable behavior as early as possible.


From: VestasDaddy Sent: 17/08/2004 15:35
I agree. Our experiences in saddle breaking have been with working breeds and from what I've seen in Whippets, they are entirely different, so I would hestitate to offer that advice.

I can share one story. We adopted Blitz (blue Dobe, nuetered) at about 16-weeks. We came home from the Super Bowl and the odors from the bar (cig smoke, YUK ) threw him off. He was growling (and not a kidding growl) at me. He may have even peed himself (fear). He was like that for almost a week, but got over it. Marina teased me that he lost all his marbles, but I think he just had a brain fart. He's now velcroed to me like a shadow, so that's way in the past.

My guess is that Lokki is just making his first real challenge to you and Alex. You're in charge. He doesn't like that. Tough. Putting his butt in the sink for a bath was another challenge and he doesn't like that. Tough. I would challenge him on a few more things-- make him sit or (better) down for his food. Make him do the same for toys, treats or specials (i.e. bones). With working breeds, I actually take these things away for an attitude check and give them right back if the behavior is OK. I would ignore the barking. It'll go away if it's not rewarded. Chewing on hands is not OK. He's probably teething. Make sure some approved chewables are handy an praise, praise when he takes them.

I suspect you'll have marking next . Shake cans work wonders there.

Good Luck!!! This is just a phase all males go through. Once broken, they are as sweet as pie. He's is a sweetie when he's sleeping, yes!

From: chelsea76 Sent: 17/08/2004 15:35

Wow there must have been something in the air yesterday because Telyn was certainly in top form (not) yesterday as well. She had a right mouth on her and the language that was coming out of her was, well, very unladylike, telling me what she thought of me telling her 'no' so much LOL.

What you describe about Lokki's barking is that he's found his voice and is starting to use it. You can teach him 'quiet' or 'no' or 'hush', but chances are that this will pass - he's just seing what he can get away with.

As for the mouthing - you need to catch this one in the bud. Puppies need to know how hard they are allowed to bite. I believe that mouthing is okay, but biting is not. Others believe that teeth should never touch human skin. My thought is that I would rather a dog learn to inhibit his or her bite. If then caught off guard (say you tripped over the dog) the dog might snap, but as he has learned inhibition chances are he will catch himself. In the instance where 'never' is the norm, he's not used to catching himself so might not and you could end up with a nasty bite (in a totally understandable circumstance. This is just my opinion - there are arguments for both sides, so you have to decide what is best for your situation and then stick with it.

In both circumstances you need to let the dog know when it is NOT okay. This can be done in many ways, what we use is a huge loud OUCH and pulling the hand (or foot) away. Usually this is enough. However if she is excited in the midst of a game and the biting continues we pick her up and hold her squiggling body in one hand while holding the mouth closed in the other. She does not get let go of until she is calm and then she gets kisses and cuddles and 'good girl's. You can NEVER let the puppy win these battles. If you don't think you can get a good grip then don't do it as if the puppy wins once it encourages the rebellion.

Other suggestions I've heard are to walk away from the pup into another room, therefore removing yourself - the source of his/her excitement.

I'm sure there will be more people along as well to give you suggestions and encouragement, but be assured he is being a normal puppy!


From: VestasDaddy Sent: 17/08/2004 15:56
Forgot to mention-- my wife's name is also Marina. Imagine that-- two Marinas (Marinae?) and I *think* there are two Vestas (Vestae?) now on WW.

From: patchnmike Sent: 17/08/2004 16:03
Hi Marina....looks like you are getting great advice already but here is what I have done. The biting thing: if biting continues or escalates, say in a VERY LOUD stern voice 'NO BITE'. This can be accompanied by a strong downward tug on the martingale collar.
If dog is out of control in a bad way you can roll over on top of him and hold him down while speaking in a calm manner. This can be miraculous with some whippets and they just settle right down.
Barking: the shake can is good or a spray of water while saying NO BARK. However I never have anything near me when anything happens. Sometime just your size and loud serious voice is effective.
Also...do allow a puppy to go crazy in happy ways when excited or playing as that will certainly settle down as they get older but bad behaviour may not.
Good Luck

From: LonesomeLongDog Sent: 17/08/2004 16:06
Hi Lokkina
Your puppy is normal and I think Wendy has covered everything although you could try the water spay on him when he barks with a firm NO.

We have kept Telyn's two sisters who are just as bad so we are having double the fun!!

From: chelsea76 Sent: 17/08/2004 16:09
Dawn does the spray work for you to stop them barking then? When I do it she just curses me out even more LOL. (Well she dives into the igloo and curses me out).


From: lokkina Sent: 17/08/2004 16:30
You people are AMAZING! Thanks very much. Alex will read the posts whithin next little while and I am sure he will give his side of the story. Yesterday when Lokki was going wild, he kept telling him that he is bigger and stronger than he is, and that Lokki can never win.

I am laughing really hard about Teylin cursing . I can just imagine her in her little tent swearing on the world.

Thanks again. Will keep you posted on the developments.


From: HaleyWhippet Sent: 17/08/2004 17:05
I 3ed the shake can! When my "kids" were little the shake can worked wonders! The noise of it stops them from what they are doing fast because it is loud..
I put little rocks in the soda can, It got to where All I had to do was pick it up and the barking stopped..
I alos agree he is just learning about his big bad bark, and likes to use it..

I used the squirt bottle to train my kitty to not stock our bird, That worked fast too!

Keep lots of chew toys to redirect the biting, raw hide, nylabones etc.
When he chews on you tell him NO and give him what you want him to chew on. Teathing can be very painful to the little guys...

Oh the joys of puppyhood!
Deb and the purfect Miss Haley!

From: Joyful-framer Sent: 17/08/2004 17:33
It must be puppy rebellion time. Willow has been really good in her kennel when I'm grooming a dog downstairs in the "salon" but today she screamed up a storm. She's kenneled upstairs with Twiggy in the room with her and she can hear me when I yell to her and she just won't be quiet. After my first groom was done I came upstairs and sat in the computer/kennel room with her still in the kennel and she still was complaining up a storm. Is there something in the air?? and does anyone have any suggestions?
Joy, Twiggy and extremely noisy Willow

From: Sofi Sent: 17/08/2004 17:37

Someone once told me that it is possible that b/c Whippet skin is so delicate that shampoo can get through the skin during bathing and irritate their nervous system. I don't know if this is true but my Whippers go BONKERS after a bath. They run around the house at top speed chasing each other and Honey looks like she might kill everything in sight. Pray no chipmunks cross her path at that moment!

It sounds like Lokki is testing the water and is enjoying his own voice. You can try leaving him alone in the room while he is barking. Our pups had "time out" when they would be crazy in our apartment. We would shut them in the bedroom (for like 2 minutes.) They would get so devestated, lay down on the floor and stick their noses out under the door.

When Ushki got a little older and started to . . . "get excited" on things (Honey, the couch, me!) I would pick him up and hold him like a baby. I don't think it was as much sexual as it was about dominance. He HATED being held like a baby. It would curb that behavior right away.

As for biting. Ushki gets over excited and still does this every once in a while. I let him try it on my hand but if it persists or gets harder, I turn my hand so my pointer finger is touching his top teeth and my pinky is on the bottom. He has to open his mouth really wide and it makes him uncomfortable. He realizes he is in trouble and quits.

I think you are just dealing with those Terrible-Twos. Ah, toddlers.

Best Wishes,

From: lokkina Sent: 17/08/2004 17:43
Hi Joy,

Who knows, there might be something in the air, at least here in Ontario

I did not use any shampoo because I knew whippet's skin is sensitive. It was just a rinse with regular water.

From: pepper Sent: 17/08/2004 18:55
my whippet does talk back at me....on command. If I ask him a question, he will bark.

From: whippet-mom Sent: 17/08/2004 19:15
some whippets love to talk, my last old whippet was a very good talker and passed it on to many of his off spring. i have his last son and he does not talk as much. i recently got a great,great,great, grandson of my old whippet and does he have a mouth. when he really gets going, the lips come back and he shows all of his teeth. he usually does this when we eat ice cream (which he loves). i hope that this is what your puppy is doing and just needs to be trained to talk instead of barking. my old whippet and i would talk for extended time. i would ask a question and he would bark an answer - it was lots of fun. i really miss doing that and looking forward to his greatgrandson learning to control his mouth and learn to talk instead of bark.

good luck

From: mfskarphedin3 Sent: 17/08/2004 20:08
Yep, sounds like my boy! He started doing that around 9-10 weeks. The thing that worked best for me then was to fold up my arms on my chest and turn my head away and completely ignore him. That was the worst thing in the world to him then. Later I had to use a squirt bottle sometimes.

He still does it a bit at 17 weeks, especially after a bath, but the thing that works best now if he doesn't obey my command to stop is to put him in his crate in the livingroom, leave, and shut the door behind me. That gives him a pretty quick attitude adjustment!

It's not the crate he sleeps in, btw; I don't want that associated with punishment.

See ya,


From: WildAboutWhippets Sent: 18/08/2004 04:15
I have always felt that any type of mouthing or biting behavior in pups is completely inappropriate.... although it's quite normal for pups to "test" the waters . I have always used the following method to reprimand my pups and is seems to work well....

When your pup starts to nip at your hand, immediately grab your pups lower jaw and put your thumb under the pups tongue and say "no bite". You are certainly not hurting the pup, but I can guarantee that the pup won't like it! It usually takes a few "tries" before the pup gives up and stops biting, hopefully for good! I have used this method with LOTS of "shark" pups and it works great!


From: ChristineTeddy003 Sent: 18/08/2004 05:12
Hi Marina:

It sounds like you're at your wits end with Loki's shenanigans.

First of all, don't panic! Puppies, like children, test the boundaries of their world. Much of what you describe is perfectly normal puppy behaviour.

For many years, people tried to discourage puppies from perfectly normal chewing and mouthing. It's normal, it's natural. Puppies don't have hands, so they explore the world with their mouths. There are two important pieces to the management formula:

First: Buy Loki a Kong. Teach Loki that chewing on the Kong is the most amazing thing on the planet. Feed him his meals inside his Kong. The Kong is the Rolls Royce of dog toys, and as a professional pet dog trainer and shelter trainer, I am convinced that if every puppy had a Kong, we'd have far few dogs being put to sleep in shelters and pounds around the world.

Second: Bite Inhibition Training. Puppies explore the world with their mouths. They play and nip and chew on their litter mates, who give them feedback. Pups have to learn how to safely use their mouths. If they're too rough when playing with their litter mates, the other pups yelp, in a high pitched squeak. "Ouch! That hurts! I don't want to play with you anymore." Puppies need to learn that human skin is even more sensitive that puppy skin. Let Loki mouth your hands, but if he is too rough, yelp like a hurt puppy and stop the game.

Dogs that don't learn how to safely use their mouths on human skin do not develop "bite inhibition". They may learn not to put their mouths on humans, but it doesn't give them the vital feedback they need to learn how to be delicate with those remarkably fragile and thin skinned humans. If they ever bite (because they're injured, frightened, stepped or fallen on by a careless human or mauled by a rampaging toddler) they will bite hard because they haven't learned how to use their mouths softly. On the other hand, a dog who has learned bite inhibition as a puppy may still reflexively use his mouth - after all, he's hurt, scared or whatever - but he won't break skin or hurt those fragile humans.

Dr. Ian Dunbar is the world's leading authority on Pet Dog Training. He's a vet, a behavourist, a rescue worker and has both the academic and practical chops - this guy knows what he's talking about! He advised organizations like the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, governments, and rescue and shelter organizations all over the world. His work has provided the foundation for the whole Puppy Preschool movement.

Buy this book! If you want to give Loki the best possible start in life, buy Dunbar's book: "Before and After You Get Your Puppy". It was originally published as two separate books, "Before You Get Your Puppy" and "After You Get Your Puppy". Another great resource is the video "Puppy Love" available from Karen Pryor's website, http://www.clickertraining.com

What Loki learns in these next four weeks will determine what sort of dog he'll grow up to be. The first 16 weeks of life are a "critical learning period" for puppies. Get it right now, and you'll set Loki up for a successful future as a fabulous companion animal.

You post sounds as if you're a bit overwhelmed right now. Not uncommon in puppy owners! Another suggestion is that you start working with a Certified Pet Dog Trainer from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. (This ensures that your instructor has both the practical experience as well as a thorough education in learning theory, etc.). If you let me know where you you're located, I can find you a qualified trainer in your area that you can talk to about Puppy PreSchool, training Loki and any management concerns you may have.

(and Teddy the Wonderdog)

From: lokkina Sent: 18/08/2004 14:19

THanks very much!!!! I was in the state of panic yesterday, but I am OK now.

Kong entered our house shortly after we got Lokki and he seems to like it.

As for the rest, firm hand (i.e. strong voice) seems to be working. We were really strict with him yesterday and things are improving.

Thanks for the recommendation for the book(s). We will defintely buy them.

Many thanks, again.

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