Modern Dog

Does Your Pup Bite For Attention? Try This Instead!


Give your pup an alternativ­e way to get your attention, such as licking. It’s simple to teach. Smear a bit of (xylitolfre­e) peanut butter on the back of your hand. Make a fist and position the hand where your pup can easily reach it, and say in a happy voice, “Kisses!” Your pup will start licking the peanut butter. After a few licks, while there is still peanut butter left, put the hand behind your back, give the verbal cue, and present the hand again. Do a few repetition­s, and practice often. Very soon, your pup will learn what “Kisses!” means. (You can also reinforce it by saying “Kisses!” any time he happens to lick you on his own.) Then, when your pup nips, instead of having to ignore him, give a sharp, “Eh-eh!” followed immediatel­y by a high-pitched, happy “Kisses!” Your pup should switch from nipping to licking and will hopefully learn that licking is a much nicer way to get your attention.

Be proactive by giving your puppy something to chew on during the times you know he’s likely to want your attention, such as during television time or when you are working at the computer. Since dogs are crepuscula­r like wolves are, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk (when wolves would be hunting), you may find that proactivel­y giving your puppy something to chew on during those times will save you from being on the receiving end of a flurry of energy-induced biting. Lastly, be sure to pay attention to your puppy during times when he’s not biting, so he learns that behaviours like laying there looking adorable earn him lots of valuable attention!

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