Rogue is biting.

Re: Puppy biting

Rogue is 10 weeks old this week. I've been trying to teach her to bite softly by letting her bite me and trying to communicate to her in a natural way when she bites too hard. Varying degrees of Ouch, basically. Ever since I brought her home, she's been biting very hard. I got her so that she knows how soft she should be biting, but she gradually bites harder, until she starts causing welts and breaking the skin.

She won't stop until I bring her in my room and either crate her, or get up on my bed and deny access to my skin. Eventually she just finds a place to lay down and sleep. When she does, I give her a few minutes, and then I bring her up on my bed to cuddle, and she's fine for a long time.

Rouge is absolutely fearless. She's not worried about the vacuum, the kureig, the blender, the garbage disposal... I don't think she's going to have socialization problems. My brother, his wife, and their kid get eagerly greeted when they come to the door, and if i don't bring her down to see them when they come in, Rogue gets quite upset. When i bring her to the pet store, she's fine. She lets strangers hold her no problem. The only time she cries is when we deny access to the place she wants to go, or the thing she wants to have. I wanted
a dog with high energy and perseverance, and I got one.

I take her outside almost every day, and she seems to really like it, but if I take her out for too long her paw pads turn pinkish, and that doesn't seem safe to me. I watch her, and try to let her tell me when she's had enough, but I don't keep her out for more than 10 minutes at a time. While we're out, I let her run around in the snow and try to keep up with her. Sometimes I pick her up and cary her around the block, so she can experience some new smells outside of the yard, but when I do this she often squirms and cries to get down.

I have a few theory's on why rogue bites the way she does. Puppies bite because they want to interact with you, right?

So when she bites, sometimes I do a short training session. This always works, but I have to keep them short so I don't overfeed her with the treats.

Sometimes I offer a beef collegian chew, and sometimes she takes it and settles down on my lap and chews it silly. Sometimes she just keeps biting me.

Sometimes I offer to play with a toy. I'll sit down on the floor with her and I'll cycle through all her toys to see what kind of texture she's interested in. With her toys, I'll play keep away, tug (i'll tug with her leading her in a sideways figure 8, alternating hands, and turning her toward me on the outside turns), and fetch. Sometimes she wants to play, sometimes she just wants to bite.

Sometimes I take her outside. When I do, she doesn't bite outside, but I don't keep her out for long, and when I bring her in, once she gets warmed up, she usually wants to bite.

My mom is using a piece of fleece fabric to cover her hand so the bites don't hurt. I feel like that's encouraging her to bite too hard, but honestly I don't know.

So I think she bites when she gets bored, because when she does, she gets attention. I mean, she really always gets attention in the form of endless affection, but when she bites, it's probably exciting for her. She might get pushed away, or get a strong reaction, and I think that's stimulating to her. She may not be getting enough exercise, but I feel like its more about her not getting enough mental stimulation. She's very mature for her age, very intelligent and energetic and she's eager to please. She doesn't even have all her shots yet, and while the snow is melting, its turning into this slushy mess that must be very cold on her paws, but she wants to go explore the world, and I think that's driving her a little crazy.

Her behavior seems to be a lot different from what I see on the training videos with other dogs.

What am I doing wrong?

last edited by RogueCoyote

My advice about biting is always the same. Do not allow it. When she starts to bite, turn away and ignore her. Some people advocate yelping or some such because litter mates might do this. Some Basenjis see this as "squeaky toy" and bite harder. But you don't really want to be a litter mate, you want to be Mom. You can redirect her to a toy she can chew, but if she persists, physically restrain her from doing it. Release as soon as she quits trying. She will get the message. Do not reward her in any way for biting, and be aware of what behaviour you are rewarding. If biting leads to something she enjoys (possibly "training with treats"), you are reinforcing the behaviour. Yes, puppies bite. They need to learn that it is unacceptable, especially they need to learn they do not bite humans.

Same as what eeeefarm said, and IMO do NOT play tug, not a great game to play with a puppy or dog. You are getting her all "excited" by playing tug... and the more she gets wound up the more she will start to bite. Puppies use their mouth to "talk" to the others in the litter... when they bite too had the other puppy "screams" very loud and all play stops...don't talk to her, turn your back to her till she settles down.

You probably aren't doing anything wrong. You mention Rogue is ten weeks old but didn't mention how long you have had her. Puppies learn how to pull their bites when playing with their littermate between eight and twelve weeks. If pulled from the litter early their learning likely hasn't finished.

Every Basenji puppy I've ever had has engaged in play biting and every one has grown out of it. It's one of the things I miss as they get older. They also grow out of eating your shoelaces, which is a good thing. LOL Giving them something to chew usually helps. Cardboard boxes are great fun and don't cost much even if you don't have some lying around.

Two points. One is that I wouldn't worry about overfeeding her at ten weeks. If you think it's a problem just cut down on her food a bit. Two is that puppies go through development periods which aren't exactly linear. You may find that she suddenly becomes fearful of things that never bothered her before. Don't worry about that. It's natural.

Seems like you are doing a great job.

last edited by DonC

@roguecoyote - Pads on their feet will turn pinkish when wet... means they are nice and clean... especially with snow on the ground......LOL

We have a 9 month old and found the biting phase quite stressful, especially with a younger child in the house. As @DonC said she has mostly grown out of it now and has for the past couple of months.

It seemed to be worse if she was over tired or over stimulated, but conversely if we had had a particularly boring day too.

The only thing that worked for us if she was at the point of no return was to put a physical barrier between us and her.

We have played gentle tug of war with her as she gets so much enjoyment out of it, but we are very careful to pick the right moment (her mood) and not to go too far so as not to get her over excited and trigger biting.

tug is how i reward rogue for fetching.

@roguecoyote - Tug is not a good game. If you are rewarding for fetching, teach her to drop the item in front of you... and then reward for doing that. Teaching tug at this age is teaching her to "claim" her prize and not give it up... One of the best things you can teach is the "trade" ... the puppy have something that you want them to give up... teach "leave it".... and then reward. That why if she gets something she should have you can do a trade up to take it away from her.... Note also that Basenjis are NOT the best at staying interested in fetching... most times they are not the fetching type at least not after one or two times

last edited by tanza

@roguecoyote - Another good game you can play with her is "find it".... hide a treat and tell her to find it... make it easy at first, harder once she gets the idea...

@roguecoyote - By the way, your puppy is related to my C-Me (GCH DC Klassic-Tanza Color Me Tri, SC). You can see a picture of her on my website, link below

Try a toy on a string and they will not bit you only the toy and string.

This is a typical puppy problem and tonight when I got home Piper wanted to play and I walked her but delayed play because my husband needed help with something....when I came back to give her my full attention she went right to biting mode, which is no longer a typical problem as she is 3 yrs old but it occurred to me that she was feeling slighted. I used to stop all play and curl up to give her no access to my arms when she was a puppy and would speak in a stern voice " no bite". She learned what that meant and she could be diverted to play with toys. My trainer said to allow some tug play because it challenges them and gives them reward but to limit it. Also the trainer taught me some sensory games to divert her mind from her mouth to her nose. Like throwing a treat across the room and have her find it.....then there is laser light tag....or ribbon chase....use diversion is what I am saying once you make it clear that you are not interested in the bite game. Good luck this phase lasts for a good while, but he will learn lighter bite soon. You can tell how smart these dogs are by their response to you. Piper would very often come back and sweetly lick my arm to make up for bite play after I scolded her.

if you watch littermates teach each other the limits of ;social biting' immediate loud noise seems to be the signal from the bitten for 'too much' which you can approximate with an unpleasantly loud noise maker or shout

@roguecoyote I'm going to try to address each item separately...

Biting: I usually address this problem with (Xylitol free) peanut butter. Take a very small amount (because your pup is so young) and spread it on the palm of your hand. Offer it to your pup and give them lots of praise for licking the smeared peanut butter off your hand. If biting begins, close your hand and say, "no bite" (or just "no"). When biting stops, the peanut butter licking can resume. Once or twice and the problem should be resolved.

Pink Paw Pads: It's cold out and there is a lot of salt and chemicals spread due to the snow and ice. Even if your pup is just in the backyard, you can still help protect their paws. Just rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the paw pads. It provides a layer of protection for your pups paws. Not a lot, but a little is better than none.

Tug of War: In my opinion, it would be better to teach Rogue to "drop" the ball when she brings it back. There are going to be times when you want her to drop whatever is in her mouth. Like when she finds food in the bushes on a walk. Being able to say, "drop it", and actually have her spit out whatever she picked up could actually keep her from getting sick. Ideally, you want Rogue to eat what you give her because you will know that it's good for her. If you enjoy playing "tug", do it on another occasion. Keep "fetch" as a lesson in coming back and surrendering whatever she has in her mouth.

Overall: I think you are off to a good start. You ask really thoughtful questions about Rogue and her needs. You are giving her lots of love and attention. And you don't seem to be frustrated or annoyed with any of the puppy behavior. You and Rogue (and your Mom) are all lucky to have each other!

@roguecoyote said in Rogue is biting.:

I've been trying to teach her to bite softly by letting her bite me

I think that is where you are starting to go wrong. She should be taught quite simply that biting is out.

Often it is attention seeking - don't let it get any. Ignore her, put her down, away from you, turn your back, walk away. Biting must not get her any attention from you. Rogue has to learn not to bite. You can also try growling at her as her mother would.

@tanza has the right of it. Don't get her over excited or she will bite more. Calm, move away. She will pick up the messages. She's an intelligent girl !

last edited by Zande

@elbrant Is there an alternative? I'm allergic to peanuts, and I'm not seeing any almond butter or sun-butter for dogs. Rogue occasionally licks my face, and tries to groom my beard hairs. I also routinely have to remove small objects and bits of fuzz from her mouth. Giving her peanut butter probably wouldn't kill me, but I'd almost definitely get a rash.

@roguecoyote - I don't really agree with elbrant's suggestion, especially if you have peanut allergies. You should not take that chance. Please go with a loud yelp or a very loud "NO" and turn/walk away from her... and let her settle down... she really will outgrow this but it is up to you to instruct her on what is no approprite. And that includes "no more tug".... Take care and have fun with her, you are doing a good job!

@roguecoyote cream cheese is also a good alternative to peanut butter, especially the soft kind, as easy as peanut butter, and safe for your allergy.
Keep up the good work and the communication!

@roguecoyote said in Rogue is biting.:

Is there an alternative? I'm allergic to peanuts

Sorry, didn't know about your allergy. Skip the peanut butter! How about some plain Greek Yogurt? (again, check to make sure it doesn't contain Xylitol.)

Hope these may help with Puppy Biting

4 SIMPLE Exercises That You Can Do To STOP Puppy Biting

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