- Calm introductions to all types of people. Focus especially on infants, toddlers, children (all ages), men with beards, people wearing hats, elderly people with walkers, people in wheelchairs, etc. Give your puppy the choice to approach each person, and not the other way around. Ask each person to offer your puppy a tasty treat.
- How to sit, lie down and walk on leash without biting the leash (training to walk on a leash without pulling goes on through the first year or so).
- How to be gentle with his or her mouth (How can I get my puppy to stop biting me?).
- How to rest quietly in a crate with yummy chew toys, such as a Kong stuffed with canned food.
- How to potty outdoors (How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days: Shirlee Kalstone: Amazon.com)
What can you do to keep your little shark from mouthing and biting all day long?
Here are a couple of effective strategies to get you started:
Let ’em bite. “What? I thought this article was about getting my puppy to stop biting!” It is, but bear with me: Your 2- to 5-month-old puppy is at an optimum age to learn bite inhibition, an all-important process that starts when a puppy is still with his or her mother and littermates. Those sharp teeth that we find so painful — well, they annoy mom and the pup’s brothers and sisters, too! Mom and littermates teach the puppy not to bite so hard. As the pups grow into adults with teeth that could do real damage, they learn to use their mouths gently to avoid life-threatening injuries to one another. Humans can use this learning process to our advantage.
Time out! If you’ve laid a foundation by teaching bite inhibition (see above), time-outs can be an effective tool for teaching the puppy not to put his mouth on people. Around age five months, as the puppy’s adult teeth settle in, we can start to request that our puppies not mouth us during play. Time-outs can also be effective for those wild-child times when your pup is super-stimulated and can’t calm himself down.
The timeout area can be his crate, exercise pen, a small puppy-proofed room with a door, his leash or other tether, or outdoors if you have a fenced yard. Give time-outs when your polite requests to stop biting (by stopping play) aren’t working.
The time-out should last no longer than a minute, unless he is barking to leave the crate (wait for a bit of silence before opening the door), you are finished playing with him or need to leave the house. In the latter cases, he can rest in his crate with a Kong or other toy.