• First thing is to look at his gums - if they are red and sore, poor little mite is in pain. The Vet should be able to give you something to rub on to calm it down. If he is on you lap and biting your hands, get up and move away. He needs to learn that nibbling fingers is anti social and it will drive you away, so no more sitting on laps for cuddles.


  • @foster1286 - How old is this pup? Keep in mind that this is how pups communicate in their litter. This is also where they learn bite inhibition from littermates and the adults in the home and for sure their Moms. So if taken from the litter and Mom too early then they never learned this. After you check the gums as suggested by Zande, then you need to YELP VERY LOUD and either put the pup on the ground or get up and leave. Also if you have a chewy for them when they bite on your hands, put the chewy in their mouth. This will go on until they are at least done teething... and that is six to eight months. So the quick you start to modify the behavior the easier it gets, but it does NOT happen over night nor does it stop after one or two times... need to be consistent. I can tell you with raising litters, my arms and hands look like I have been through the meat grinder!


  • I found that my basenji did this more when she was tired and overstimulated, so making sure she had the opportunity to get sufficient rest helped. Constantly redirecting to a toy or chew also helped, but as others have said it didn't happen overnight and got better over time at about 6 months. We found yelping revved her up even more as she thought it was a game, but as she matured she was able to process "nice and gentle" whilst removing hands. At 18 months she still uses her teeth constantly during play, but it is extremely gentle and never hurts.


  • A lot of people put themselves in a position to get bit (i.e. touch the puppy when it doesn't want to be handled, keep hands in the puppy's face, etc.). The best thing, I've found, is to minimize the chance of getting bit by not putting yourself in a position to get bit.

    In addition to respecting the puppy's space I would recommend doing handling drills (touch the puppy, give high value reward, repeat 100 times).

    Another useful thing is to exercise the dog adequately. If you go for a 45 minute walk once a day and you're still getting bit then you need to increase the amount of walks and/or the amount of time on the walk.

    Something else to consider would be not making a big deal of getting bit when it does happen (i.e. scream, get mad, squeal, etc.).

    Last thing would be not to play with the puppy after he bites you. Puppy's bite for many reasons; one of them is because they want to play, but if you play with them after they bite, you're teaching them that biting is an appropriate way to tell you that they want to play. A lot of people inadvertently teach their puppy to bite them.

    Oh and when he starts biting when he's on your lap, calmly put him down and/or away in his crate. It sounds to me like you became a giant chew toy.

    Best of luck, hope everything works out!


  • @foster1286 - Yelping works... takes more than just a couple of times... you need to yelp and then walk away ending the play time. Also it is important that you work their minds, not just the body with walks, etc. Work on tricks.. like sit, down, etc.. and you can play games with them... hide treats and teach him to go find them... you get a lot more out of mind games that you play with them


  • Got to spend a bit of time with a litter of six piranha Basenji puppies recently. I’m still picking scabs of my arms a few weeks later. Biting is not fun. I struggled with wanting to encourage them to play with not wanting to break their spirits by coming down too hard when they bit. I agree with @tanza that yelping and ending play is good idea. That was hard when I had six attacking me at the same time. When I got the pack to my breeder she sprayed our shoes, socks, shirt sleeves, hands, pants and anything else they were attacking with bitter apple spray. It dissolves quickly, doesn’t stain, is non toxic, but puppies HATE the taste. I’d forgotten about it till I got them to her house. It’s like kryptonite to a puppy. I have a bottle in reserve for the next litter. It really does work.


  • I've never had a lot of problems with biting, with either pups or older dogs. I just don't allow them to do it. "No" and disengage, bear hug (physically restrain) if necessary to make them stop, rinse, repeat. Just like their mother would do when they get out of hand. Once they figure out that biting doesn't get them what they want, they quit it. If you reinforce the biting by more play, treats, amusing sounds (yelping will encourage rather than discourage some dogs) you will only have more of it to deal with. Most pups outgrow the nippy stage, but like any unwanted behaviour, you don't just let them continue doing something so it becomes a habit.


  • @eeeefarm said in Puppy teething/biting:

    I've never had a lot of problems with biting, with either pups or older dogs. I just don't allow them to do it. "No" and disengage, bear hug (physically restrain) if necessary to make them stop, rinse, repeat. Just like their mother would do when they get out of hand. ...

    Not the behavior that I observed at all. But then again... Basenji. They never read the manual. 😆


  • @jengosmonkey - And as we all know it takes time to teach "no bite" with puppies... this is what they do... with their Mom and Litter mates... takes "way" more than one or two times before they get the idea.. my opinion, live with it... and do what you can..as I said below BUT do not to have it happen with one or two corrections... think of human children and touching things they should not... tell them NO.. and how many times do you do this? It doesn't happen overnight


  • @jengosmonkey said in Puppy teething/biting:

    Not the behavior that I observed at all. But then again... Basenji. They never read the manual

    I've seen it, at my breeder's place, but more when I got Tamu, and Lady pretty much adopted her as her own pup. She would disciple her when she got out of line. Pinned her down and snarled in her face if she got too rough. No harm to the pup, but the message was clear. I don't snarl, but I do say "no" firmly and restrain if they don't quit.

    Agree with Tanza that it certainly takes more than one or two corrections, but I have found the "bear hug" is effective if it's consistent. It also helps to get the message across while they are young that if you physically restrain them the key to freedom is not to struggle. It doesn't hurt them and teaches them to accept being picked up and held and to settle down when that happens. Makes things far easier when you need them to be quiet for things like nail clipping or any medical procedure at the vet.

    I can certainly see that this wouldn't be an effective tool when you have multiple pups "attacking" from many directions! 🙂


  • @jengosmonkey said in Puppy teething/biting:

    Basenji. They never read the manual

    Nope ! And they are full of surprises. You can never predict what they will do next - Kito's latest fad is the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. He likes pears, apples, bananas, Kiwis, avocado pears etc. Oranges have, so far, escaped him. I have to put the bowl somewhere safe and make a fruit salad of the damaged items and a guacamole of the avocados.

    Having said that, at least I have never had a puppy nipping. No biting is made clear at a very early age and is a solid no-no.


  • @eeeefarm - IT IS VERY, VERY effective to have an adult dog in the home when you bring home a puppy. They will teach that pup more then we humans can.... however that said there is a lot of noise, yelping, snarling, going on.... scares off many humans as they think the pup is being hurt. Rarely that would be the case.


  • Oh, I am very aware that Lady helped immensely with Tamu. Of course, I didn't have help when I brought Lady home. Fortunately she learned the rules of the house very quickly. I find horses are similar. Orphan foals can be real terrors because they don't have Mom to show them the ropes and people are often not very good at it. However, if you have a herd they will teach the foal respect, generally without being too tough on it.


  • @tanza That goes with bred-in-house litters too ! As soon as the pups' eyes opened and they could more or less race around - mostly backwards - without falling over, we would open the huge cage which contained the whelping box beside the Aga and let them out.

    The adults, who also all lived in the kitchen, taught them life skills. The length of time they were out playing with the rest of the pack extended as they grew. One uncle in particular would take them in hand and teach them how to be good, well rounded Basenjis. And when we were lucky enough to have a summer litter - which was quite often - they would play out in the garden.


  • @zande - For sure Zande... and taking pups from the pack too early is really not good either. Basenjis need to stay with the pack till at least 10 to 12wks. that is when they learn basic manners....


  • @tanza Ours always went at 9 weeks, following the first shot. Given enthusiastic teachers among the adult pack, we found it was ok and gave the pups time to grow into their new homes.

    But I do agree, pups brought up in other than a kitchen environment where a great deal is going on - i.e. in a kennel or a back room, should stay with Mom and the aunts and uncles for as long as reasonable.


  • @zande - I have place pups at 9wks, but typically to prior Basenji owners, they know the "ropes"... also I do eyes at 9wks, so 10 works better for me in placing pups and yes...(LOL) mine are raised in the home, no kennel.... and the breeders that I know that use kennel runs, still have their pups in the house for house time and "education".....

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