I want to share with you common training questions we receive along with our training answers to help you on your puppy training journey. Here at BAXTER & Bella we are family and enjoy supporting each other through this adventure. We hope you feel part of our community and may find you have some of these same questions!
Stealing items or running away with things...
Biting feet when we walk...
Common Q&A’s - Biting, Stealing, Mouthing and More
Hi everybody. Thank you for tuning in today! I want to share with you common training questions we receive along with our training answers to help you on your puppy training journey. Here at BAXTER & Bella we are family and enjoy supporting each other through this adventure. We hope you feel part of our community and may find you have some of these same questions!
But first thank you. Not just for tuning in today but for supporting this podcast, me, my amazing team and our business, as well as for taking the time to learn and educate yourself on how to build a relationship with your dog. If your dog could speak, I’m sure they’d say a great big thank you as well. Most likely they tell you - they always find a way right? Baxter wiggles his entire back end when he’s happy and loves a good snuggle. Just being around him feels me up with gratitude! Dogs are amazing creatures and I am so thankful I get to work with them every day.
As mentioned, I have an AMAZING team that helps me run the show here at BAXTER & Bella. My trainers answer emails, coach via phone and video sessions, run LIVE Q&A sessions weekly and teach classes. They respond to group messages, record video clips to help answer training questions and go above and beyond to help our clients. If you haven’t yet joined our online puppy school, you may want to check it out. Today I want to spotlight some common questions we get asked as well as our responses.
We are starting off with the most common puppy question - biting! Uggh! Why are their teeth so sharp? I’m getting off topic, that’s not the actual question haha...Here’s the question…
We’re hoping to gain some help from you surrounding biting. Our 13 week old puppy gets excited and uses her teeth to show that excitement. We continuously try to shift her attention to a toy, get up and turn away from her, tell her “No,” but nothing works to stop her or calms her down. When it gets to be too much, we end up needing to put her in her crate for 15 minutes or so to give her a chance to calm herself.
Even when we let her out though, she licks and hugs and then almost immediately starts biting or nibbling. When we go to put her collar or leash on or off it’s the same thing, and even when we try to pet her—she goes for our hands with her teeth.
We’re beginning to get concerned that this is a bigger issue, so any and all insight would be helpful.
Answer - Heidi writes,
Young puppies get overstimulated very easily, and very quickly. You are doing the right thing by putting her in the crate for a time out and to bring her level of energy down. You can try to redirect her once with a toy, but if she is still overly excited, a trip to the crate and hopefully a nap, will help.
Preventing the overstimulation in the first place can be done by giving more naps, more mental stimulation, and by doing training sessions to get her to focus her attention in a calm manner. Stuffed kongs, lick mats and other food puzzles are great ways to offer mental stimulation. As your pup works her brain, her energy level will come down.
Make the crate a great place for her to spend time, and use it as a training tool to give her a lot of naps. Puppies this age need a LOT of rest, and that will prevent her from becoming overtired, which leads to the overstimulated behavior.
Does your dog ever try and hide from you? How about steal things they shouldn’t? Be sure to listen closely to this Q&A.
Our 15 month old labradoodle recently started running to and hiding under our dining room table with things like his favorite toy or a dog biscuit. He will also do that with a sock or glove. Do you have ideas of what to do to prevent this? I don’t mind him being under there with his things, but I just wonder why he feels he needs to hide with them.
Thank you for reaching out. Is he showing any unwanted behaviors such as snarling, or growling? If not, great! I would just focus on building his confidence around these items when we are around. Whenever he is eating, chewing on a toy, or has a biscuit, work on just tossing him something else that is high value from a distance. Teach him that us being near him when he has something=yummy, good things, not a reason for him to be defensive or nervous. Don't take something unless you need to, and even then, try to make him come to you and drop the item instead of taking it out of his mouth. If he is taking items often that he shouldn't have, you might want to work on restricting his freedom, and then teaching him an implied leave it with these items (teach him better things happen when he ignores those items than goes for it).
I would review our section on our website about resource guarding for more information on prevention. Love that you are working on prevention!
New puppies bite a lot. That is how they played with their littermates. It’s really all they know. Now they are with us and we have different rules to engage in play. See if you have had this question before…
Hi Baxter and Bella,
Our dog is a mini goldendoodle and is now 6 months old. He is amazing and just so sweet. He still loves to play bite with me, meaning when I lay with him he goes to my hand and gnaws on it. I don’t mind so much but I also don’t want to have this be his default. Should I continue to have treats on me at all times so I can redirect him at those moments to play some of the games? What are your thoughts on dogs gnawing/ play biting on us humans in general?
He also still likes to bite shoes when we are outside on leash walks ( we live in nyc, so all relief walks must be on leash). I find that the moment I start training him, I can get him to refocus. ( There is no place to tether him when we are outside). The kids have a little harder time getting him to refocus. And sometimes, I have to work to get him to refocus!!
Answer from Heidi
Thanks for your email!
The problem with "play biting" is that this habit can get rougher, and can also lead to biting other people as a way of playing. Try redirecting your pup by giving him a toy to bite instead of your hand. If you still want him to "play bite" with only you, be ready to redirect him any time he starts to get rough. Make this something that you do for a very short time, and only with you. If he gets too overstimulated, do a short training session, or take him to the crate for a time out and a rest.
You can help a puppy learn to ignore moving feet and pant legs by practicing with our learning game "Toy Soldier" as described on our site. You can also try to keep his attention with some great treats when you are out walking, so that his focus is on you and the treats instead of your feet. Kids and puppies naturally raise each other's levels of excitement, so that is why it's harder for the kids to get his attention, especially when out walking. Have them work on training him more at home, in a less stimulating environment. Our games and activities section has lots of fun ideas that they can work on, so that your pup will see that he needs to listen and respond to the kids as well as you. A little training trick I like to recommend when out walking is to use a wooden spoon smeared with peanut butter or cream cheese and show the pup the spoon, give him a lick, and move along. This is a quick, easy way to get and keep his attention. It's much harder to try to get his attention with a small treat.
Thanks for reaching out, and please let us know if you have any other questions.
Here is a question on reactivity - do any of you have a dog who barks like crazy at certain things? Maybe you can relate...
Hi! My dog is now 15 months old and reactivity is a HUGE challenge for us. I can barely take him outside for more than to go potty without encountering a trigger that sets him off the charts. I am going back to your reactivity training, and I'm going to start over. See triggers from windows in the house also sets him into crazy barking episodes, and I'm wondering if the results of training outside should eventually transfer to inside the house as well.
Great job starting fresh with the reactivity lesson and training. Can you pinpoint the things that trigger him? Dogs barking in the neighborhood? Neighbors talking? Garbage truck going by? If you can, I would suggest finding some Youtube videos of these sounds and play them inside the house on low volume while he eats meals, does training sessions, plays with toys. Anything to help desensitize him to the sounds and associate them with good things. You will most likely need to work on this inside and outside the house. Dogs don't generalize well so we usually need to practice in all locations to help them understand. Blocking access to windows and doors he likes to bark at is a good first step. If you cannot be there to redirect him I would use a tether or have him in a blocked off area or crate to prevent running to the window or door and barking. Then when you have time you can have him on leash and work with some higher value treats at the windows and doors and work on focusing on you and walk away if he starts to react. You can also use a white noise machine or radio to help drown out outside noises during the evening or in quieter times. Feel free to set up a one on one call with us if you want to! We can discuss his triggers and help you create a plan!
Finally, a Potty Training Question
My puppy is doing great during the day. Goes to the door. No accidents during the day. However, every evening between 6-8 pm he looks right at us & pees. Sometimes even walks to the door and then walks away a couple feet and pees?.. he also does not make a sound at the door. How do we teach that
Sometimes it can be a combination of too much activity time or we are more busy/doing things that makes it so the puppy goes out less frequently and then has an accident - I would make sure to be taking your pup out on a schedule at that time so that you can successfully reward and have your pup go outside, then go longer and longer between times outside until your pup understands to let you know at that time as well. Your pup is still very young, so I wouldn't expect them to fully understand housetraining and that they need to tell you when they need to go out every time - sometimes their body needs to go and they can't tell you quick enough, so taking them out on a schedule when they are this young usually helps.
As you can tell, we love what we do and we are here to HELP YOU! Our online puppy school is designed as a learning module system which is like following a recipe. Go through our modules which include lessons, classes, courses all in sequence and then when you have a specific question you need help with, reach out to us. You can schedule a one-on-one video or phone session or simply send us an email.
Hope you have a great week with your dogs and hope you find an adventure together before we talk again. Happy training.