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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Questions on Puppy Biting

Questions on Puppy Biting

Questions on Puppy Biting

I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


Hi Ed.

Let me start by telling you that I'm a 45 year old (very patient) woman who has had GSD's since age 7. Last year I helped train and raise a mule of a Goldie that my sister was ready to give to a rescue club. He is now a wonderful companion dog for her. I recently bought a West German line GSD. He is 12 weeks old today. I've never had a GSD like this one. Good and bad. I have scoured your website, devouring every article I could read. I purchased your "8 weeks to 8 months" DVD and watched it twice. I downloaded every bit of info you can imagine. I've talked with my breeder. I have a gorgeous well trained male that I am the pack leader of. ( I incorporate some of Ceasar Millan also). I have, however, never in my life encountered such a demon when it comes to nipping and biting. "Gunther" simply refuses to listen in this area. A calm assertive "NO" does not work. Grabbing by the scruff till he yelps does not work. He likes the taste of bitter apple, go figure. Holding him down until he is submissive works until you release and then all hell breaks loose again. He even looks evil when he's "comin atcha" It's funny, but it's not. He's great interacting with dogs, name it, but is too confident and I can't break him of this nipping and biting. And I don't want to break his spirit. I don't like to use his crate and punishment because this is his safe-haven den and I want to keep it that way. As he gets taller, the biting is climbing further up the body. It's getting harder to even leash him to go for a walk. He'll sit on command to get ready for the walk but go at the hands when being leashed. As I said, his training is excellent. For 12 weeks he knows heel, sit, down, come, stay, place and no accidents in the house. I've had him 4 weeks now. I couldn't ask for a better dog in looks, intelligence and obedience but I'm about ready to have his baby teeth pulled out. I can't think of anything else I can do with him to stop biting on me. He has plenty of toys to play with and I do diversion but he's right back on me. I am pack leader as I said before but he does not respect that in this one area. In every other area he does but not in the house when he gets wound up. Anything else you can think of? I hate to put a prong collar on him in the home 24/7 just for nipping and biting and I don't want to resort to putting him away in a separate room and possibly make him aloof or aggressive. I want him to be a nursing home and children's hospital companion dog so his prey drives are not going to be developed. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.. Oh yes....he does get plenty of exercise. So it's not an issue of pent up energy. I am home with him all day and he has the recommended walk distance and time for his age along with in house play time and twice daily outdoor training. He also has started the "humpty dance," which I thought was a bit too young when he first did this at 9 weeks. Is he just too much "German?" lol j/k. Thanks Ed.


Ed's Comments:


This sounds like a very nice (hard) pup – that’s owned by a nice (Soft) owner.

The fact is your thinking on the crate is misdirected. Use it more.

One thing to try is to marker train this dog to a TOUCH command – meaning teach it to touch your hand with markers. This will often help change the focus of pups like this. Fact is the dog needs marker training.

With that said the dog needs to learn NO – and if the marker training does not stop it you need a puppy prong. A hard pup is going to be able to deal with the corrections that are needed.

I suggest you read the article I wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING. This article will teach you WHY PUPS BITE.

I would recommend that you get the DVD I recently finished titled “HOW TO RAISE A WORKING PUPPY” It’s only $30.00 and is 75 minutes long.

If you go to the link you will be able to read the description of the chapters in the DVD. I have bred over 350 litters of working puppies in the past 30 years and Cindy (my partner) has been breeding and competing in dog sports at a national level for 20 years..

In my opinion you need to start to learn more advanced Obedience. In 2 weeks we will be shipping a new version of my Basic Dog Obedience DVD.


Mr. Frawley,
I have been reading your articles and advice for years, and have your training videos.  I never thought I would be writing you with a question.  I am the father of 3 children and just brought home a new puppy a couple of weeks ago.  I put in a lot of time into choosing a good breeder and checked into references of past people who had received pups from this breeder.  We wanted a dog with a very safe temperament because of the kids.  Earlier today I was out back with the pup when suddenly she started to yelp.  I turned around to see a large turtle go flying into the air and my pup go running the other direction.  (Don't ask me how a turtle got in my backyard, I have no clue.)  I assume the turtle bit and latched onto my dog.  It took about 10 minutes to calm the dog down, so I assume she was hurt, although I couldn't find a mark.  About a half hour later my wife picked up the dog to hold her, and the pup yelped like she was in pain, and then snapped at my wife, biting her on the cheek strong enough to draw blood.  At that time my kids had friends over, so there was more noise and commotion than usual. 
I've read your advice for working with a dog that has aggression problems, but because of my children I don't want to even take a chance if there is an aggression issue.  This pup is going to grow into a large dog (she's a mastiff).  I guess my question is, do you think there is an issue, or was the pup's response within the range of normal given the turtle bite and the pain the pup had experienced a half hour earlier?  Up until this point there have been no other signs of weak nerves that I have seen.  Thanks for any advice you can give. 


Mr. Frawley,

Hello I have a three month old female german shepherd and I am having trouble making her mind. I have purchased two of your dvds on basic dog obedience and pups from 8 weeks to 8 months. I found a lot of good information in these videos. I have no experience in training a dog but I have been trying to follow your videos the best I can. The big problem with her is the biting. I realize she is playing and doesn't mean to hurt anyone but it is out of control. When she started doing this I would give her a pop on the leash and say no. This did not work so I would pop harder and say no in a deeper voice. This still did not work. So I continued getting harder and louder and so on. As she has gotten older she has started snapping at my hands. If I try to grab her by the scruff of the neck she tries biting my hands. She has even started growling when I say no. It seems like she is trying to back talk in away. It is just becoming such a problem.  I emailed the breeder and she seems to think I am not giving a hard enough correction. I really am giving her a hard correction and if I do it any harder I am afraid I would hurt her. It seems the harder I get the more she comes back with a snap and a growl. Its like nothing phases her. Yesterday for what ever reason she took off running and jumped on the couch onto my girlfriend and scratched her face. I gave her a hard correction but she growled back and acted like it didn't bother her. My girlfriend wants me to get rid of her because of her behavior. I don't want to so I hope you could suggest something. Am I doing something wrong? Or is there something wrong with the pup? Should I be using a prong collar or an electric collar?  Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance

D. M.



Hey, I know this e-mail is kind of long, but I really needed to get into as much detail as possible in hopes of getting a helpful response...

I adopted a Pit bull mix and named him Tucker when he was about 8 weeks old.  When I first got him, I had never read any books on dogs and the way I was told to discipline him was by "popping" him on the nose or behind.  I also used to play rough with him because I heard that Pit bulls "loved to play rough and wrestle".

Tucker is now about 4 months old. I recently read Caesar Millian's book "Caesar's Way" and purchased his show's first season. Since I have read his book and watched the shows, I have learned to stop "popping" him when he does something wrong.  I walk him a lot and make sure that he walks right next to me, and I try to show calm-assertive energy all the time like Caesar talks about.

Since I have stopped physically disciplining him, he has turned aggressive towards me.  He is never aggressive with other dogs, and rarely aggressive with other people (just my boyfriend who also used to play rough with him).  He is great in the car, he sits on my lap and is so sweet to me, and he is also great on walks.  But as soon as we get home (even after an intense exercise session) he randomly decides to growl and latch onto my arms. My arms are all scratched up and they are painful.  I have tried the techniques that Caesar uses such as the "claw" to act like another dog correcting him, but that just makes him mad. And I have tried putting him on his side to make him submit, but he is learning that if he just lays still, I will soon let him up and then he goes for my arms again.

I don't know if my past behavior towards him is the reason that he is acting this way towards me, but according to Caesar, dogs don't hold grudges. I feel so awful that I am the one who has been around him the longest and he only lashes out at me. I breaks my heart and I don't know what else to do. He is not a danger to anyone else, and it seems that usually people have the opposite problem!! Any suggestions would be most appreciated!!



Mr. Frawley,

Just wondering what your impression of this is...

We adopted Chewie from Animal Control about 10 days ago.  He is a mixed breed of unknown origin - they say.  He's estimated to be about 7-8 weeks old right now.

From the start, he's been a mouthier.  But yesterday, he really started to seem to be attempting to bite anyone he came near.  I do not believe he's trying to be aggressive, his tail is wagging as he does it.  But he will not stop when told no, just comes back for more when removed.  I turned him over on his back and said "no".  He started to growl at me and twist furiously to get his mouth on me.  He's done this 2 times more since then.  Note - he does not do this to my husband.

We have small children and there are little ones around all the time, I'm concerned.  It's as if you can't play with him now, all he wants to do is bite.

Can you please educate me on how to teach him not to bite people?  He has 4-5 good chew toys, but prefers to chew on people I guess.  I want to do the right thing for him and give him the training he deserves.

Thank you -



Hi Mr. Frawley,

I just recently found your website after searching for how to care for an orphaned puppy.  I quickly found that your site and information regarded much more than just that and found myself reading more and more, especially on aggression in dogs. 

First let me start by saying that I absolutely adore animals, especially dogs.  I always have and was raised around German Shepherds and other smaller dogs.  When I became old enough to have my own home, I got my own dog as the others I grew up with were my mom's dogs. 

I grew up with stories from my dad about his Saint Bernard, Charlie.  How big of a baby that he was, and how great he was and all that.  After researching for quite a while on them, I decided that yes, I wanted to get my Saint.  I found a breeder in my state who had a litter of 12 week old pups that were ready for new homes and went to see the puppies.  There were 3 remaining of the litter.  All 3 were great playful little things and seemed to be people dogs.  When I asked to see the parents, she took us out to her "kennel" set up which consisted of the females caged area (with a large indoor fan-cooled barn like building) and then the male's caged area was behind hers.  She was a gentle dog, easy going and showed the normal Saint behavior.  The male on the other hand was simply going ballistic, barking and growling, pawing at the fence, trying to get to us.  I have the male's pedigree and he was bred from one of the top Saint breeders in the US.  His line included champions and other great dogs (according to the breeder of my dogs father).  She also had a pair of Mastiffs who really scared me.  They acted mean.  They were kept right next to the Saints but in another caged area.  Anyways, my puppy picked me.  I named him Charley.  I immediately enrolled Charley into obedience classes and he did excellent.  He was a very obedient dog.  The training went very well and we graduated "with honors".  Charley continued to grow and grow and got to be about 170 lbs.  Very large "Beethoven-looking" Saint.  I had other dogs before getting Charley.  I had seven of them (various dogs).  The largest of which is my Rottie mix which I hand-raised due to the mother abandoning her.  She's a wonderful dog and everyone gets along fine.  Around last December, my daughters boyfriend was over who Charley absolutely adored.  Jason bent over to hug Charley as we all always did and Charley bit him in the face.  Not a bad bite, only a small "knick."  I didn't see it or hear anything and my assumption was that Jason came up behind him and scared him.  I quickly realized over the next few months that it wasn't the case.  The incident happened in the hallway outside my computer room where I mostly am during the day and night.  Charley would lay in here with me or outside my door in the hall.  After a few more incidents with the other dogs where Charley didn't want them near my room, I knew that was what happened with Jason.  Charley thought he was coming to my room.  Charley became more possessive over me as the days went on.  When I'd be laying in my bed, he'd either lay beside me or near the doorway and if another dog tried to get near me, he'd growl a low guttural growl and I'd say "NO" or make this "CHHHH" sound that I make when correcting the dogs.  And he'd stop and let the others in or up on the bed.  Then he started fighting one of my other males who was always submissive to him.  He didn't want the other male near me especially in my computer room or my bed.  This other male is a Pit Bull/Sharpei/Chow mix who is younger than Charley.  I got him when Charley was about 9 months old.  Charley and Junior grew up together.  Charley was not neutered because I was planning to breed him and even have a female Saint who I was going to breed him with.  Charley started showing this aggressiveness at about 18 months old.  It was nothing to do with obedience as he was very obedient.  I believe it was a possession aggression where I was the possession.  I tried several different training techniques and got advice from a top K9 trainer here in North Carolina.  Tried all the suggestions and at first they seemed to be working.  Then one morning out of no where, Charley was laying in the bed with me (I was asleep) it was 7am.  Junior came and jumped up on the bed and Charley immediately attacked him, and Junior as he normally did, rolled on him back and didn't fight back.  Junior never fought back.  Junior is 60 lbs. compared to Charley's 170 lbs and Junior realized it.  This all happened on top of my husband as Junior was on his side when Charley went after him.  My husband grabbed Charley by his collar and got him on the floor and made him sit and went to puppy smash him ( probably the same thing as your alpha roll, but I call it puppy smash) and Junior at that point was trying to get out of the room and about the time Junior jumped off the bed (beside where Charley was on the ground) Mystic (my female Saint) came walking in the room and Charley swung his head back and one of his front teeth (no the canines, the smaller front teeth) caught my husbands check.  The laceration took 11 stitches.  It was a straight slice type laceration instead of a normal dog bite.  We don't believe that Charley meant to do that as he didn't strike at my husband, we think he thought he was being ganged up on (by Mystic and Junior) and was protecting himself.  At that point is when things really got bad with him.  He constantly keeping everyone away from me, guarding me sort of.  A week or so later, Charley was laying outside my computer room door way and my husband came walking up the hall way and bent down to pet Charley (Charley was facing him) and he growled and lunged at my husband for no reason what so ever.  He was almost 2 years old at this point.  At that point, I became afraid for my daughter who is a lot smaller than Charley was and had he attacked her, he would have done some major damage.  She weighs about 80 lbs. less than he did.  Anyways, I called several rescues and no kill shelters and some other places around town including my SPCA.  My SPCA at that point said that they would not adopt him out due to the aggression and all the other places said the same.  My husband by then was afraid of Charley and with my experience I know that showing fear only instigates an issue.  At this time, I knew I didn't have any other choice but to have him put down.  This has broken my heart into so many pieces.  I am still dealing with it and still having a very very hard time with the decision.  I did not tell anyone what I was doing as they all would have talked me out of it and lived in fear with him.  I could not let that happen.  My daughter didn't care too much for Charley and they both tolerated each other and I honestly was just waiting for the time when he struck out at her.  He never showed aggression toward me at all.  He was my big baby boy, laying his head in my lap, laying on me in the bed, all that stuff.  But, I just knew that for the safety off my other dogs and my family that something had to be done.  My hopes were to place him with a rescue, but they would not take him either.  I just wanted to share this with you.

Now, your website and information is helping me raise three 18 day old GSD puppies.  The mother had 11, one of which died, and has been feeding all 10.  She's basically given up and wont feed them.  My mother and I planned on getting one each of the pups, but since she stopped feeding, I volunteered to go ahead and hand-raise those 2 and my sisters since I've got experience hand-raising pups.  I'm on my way out to get the playtex bottles because you are right about the puppy bottles, they are terrible and I cant get the pups to take enough from them.  They are eating your bottle formula which I'm making and also a mush of puppy food (milkshake consistency) watered down with spring water and goats milk.  I'm hoping I can get them to eat from the playtex bottles.  If I cant, do you have any suggestions for me as far as how to get the formula in them without tubing them?  I've never tubed before and prefer not to.  It scares me.  I can drip some of the formula out of the bottle into my hand they will lap it right up.  They do well with the puppy mush.  I know you believe in an all natural diet but I simply cant afford that.  So, any suggestions on feeding these 2 girls and 1 boy would be great help!  Thanks much for taking the time to read this and for any advice forthcoming! 




I bought a 10 week old puppy that is now 12 weeks old. Before I found your site I made some mistakes according to your eBook: (1) I took my pup to the dog park; (2) I let others pick her up, give her a treat, and pet her.

My GSD pup is from european and working lines. I'm worried I "ruined" her and don't want to make any more mistakes. Is there any hope? This is why:

The last time I went to the dog park an aggressive dog bit her on her ear (no blood or anything) and it was a very traumatic event for her even though she's a dominant type female. I don't go anymore. (people even picked her up without asking me too!). I now go on hikes with her myself instead. I also had taken her for walks around my town (it's very walkable) and people would always pet her because she is gorgeous.  The good news is that the "bite" she experienced at the park was not the first overwhelming thing to happen at the park and she got up her gumption those other times after a few too aggressive playing sessions there and fought back with barking etc.. She really loves to play with other dogs though so it's hard to not take her there. Also, when I've taken her for walks around town, people don't even ask me if they can pet her, they just come up and do it. It's very frustrating.

I've decided to take her to a puppy kindergarten class (she is a dominant dog, who likes to "bite" (i.e. chew) me and other people and dogs)). I also was going to take her to puppy "romps" at the same place. Is this wrong to do (like the dog park) or is it ok since it's controlled playing with other pups? I like to get her very tired (she gets tired on our hikes but recently went in the water and got a ton of bugs and ticks on her).

Can you recommend the best place to take her for training and dog playing around where i live? I live in Salem, MA (new england) I want her to eventually be a very controlled working dog (for me i.e. protection of the home etc.) and also do schutzhund. I got your video on new pups which I plan on watching very soon. Thanks for your response. Thought your site and info was excellent, which is why I took the time to write this long email. BTW, I grew up with GSD's and don't want to make mistakes. I don't want to hurt her spirit and am terrified I really screwed up with that stupid dog park.




Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have your puppy video, 8 Weeks to 8 Months and I also visit your web site often.  I have looked, and looked for this information, but I am sure I have missed it.  We are in the process of purchasing the Obedience video next, but wanted some advice if you would.

I have a 16 wk old DDR bred GSD female.  We have a family with a 4 year old daughter and hopefully another on the way.  When we spoke to our breeder, our only concern was for a great family pet.  We took Laika (our GSD) home at 8 weeks and started everything you said in your video.  She has ALWAYS been extremely mouthy, wanted to bite hands over anything else.  I read and read that GSD and certain breeds are more mouthy, I was just taken back by how much she seemed to bite.  She is also very aloof, not wanting affection- we have to pretty much force her to accept the petting.  I hold either a small piece of food in my hand and then pet her, or I will hold a toy and then pet her.  She bites at it the entire time.  Also since we have had her, whenever I correct her for over doing it with the biting (since the yelping and loud scream do nothing for her) I would grab her by the scruff of the neck and say no and force her head to the ground.  Then when she would settle, I would let her up.  She would jump up and try to bite my hand again.  I don't really know how to grab her cheeks and lift her off the ground and look at her.  To tell you the truth, I am kind of scared of doing that with her since I have not seen it first.

Now that she is getting bigger, she has started snarling her upper lips when she bites my hands.  She does not snarl at ANY other object when she bites it.  I went back and re-watched your puppy video and read a bunch of articles on your web page last night.  I cannot find anything about just wrinkling the upper lips, no sound or growl coming from her.

She is doing just what you have said, we make her earn everything.  She sits nicely before she is allowed outside to potty.  We allow a good walk (about 30 minutes) and playing ball outside every day.  I also allow her out of her crate to be in the kitchen when I am there.  She seems to be a great dog, so smart.  She can sit and down like you taught in your video, sits to go outside and in, we feed her in her crate, and take away her toys accept when playing, we do not allow any other dogs to meet her; I thought we were doing things correctly.

I thought about getting a pinch collar and starting to give corrections now.  She is just not doing what I think is okay with the snarling.  I had her out of her crate today sitting with me while I was watching TV.  She jumped up on the sofa and I told her off and pushed her down.  I am staying very calm with just a stern tone in my voice.  No yelling or increasing the intensity of my voice with the command.  She is still in the learning  period with the "off" command.  She snarled at me and tried to bite the hand that was pushing her down.  I then tried to give her a pop on the leash (flat buckle collar like you suggested) and she just tried to bite me again and bite the leash.

I am a Vet Tech with 10 years in hospital experience.  I have to say that this is our first GSD; our last family pet was a Dobie.  A lot of the stuff Laika was doing when she was smaller, I just thought it was my lack of experience with GSD.  But I have to say with her getting bigger (34 pounds at last DVM visit) I feel concerned for the safety of my family.  If it were just me, I could handle her; but I have to say with children around, I don't feel like dealing with a dominant dog.  Too much work with everything else going on.

After all this history, I guess my question is: What are your thoughts on a 16 wk old, female DDR GSD, intended for a family pet, that is silently snarling while biting hands only?

My gut tells me she is maybe more dog than we want.  I think she would do great if our children were older and I could take her into competition healing, CDX, agility kind of work.  But my gut tells me that she is not the "trust her to death" family pet we were looking for.  Maybe I am just not understanding Shepherds, I don't know!! 

Thank you very much for your time and I hope to receive a response.  Many thanks!!

Washington State



Hi Ed,

We have a 12 week old female Shiloh Shepherd. When we started having problems controlling her three weeks ago we bought your DVD 8 weeks to 8 months. We had started training her before that but realized we probably were doing some things wrong. Our problems with her just seem to escalate. She bites, hard, when we correct her. We take her cheeks and lift her front paws off the floor and tell her in a low, firm voice, “knock it off!” or “no bite!” but then as soon as we release her she bites even harder. This goes back and forth sometimes ten to fifteen times, every time she is more violent, barking, jumping, biting, snarling. Sometimes she does this completely unprovoked. I’ll just be petting her and she’ll snap at my hand, then I correct her and it all starts again.

We are committed to training her the correct way, but she’s so young we don’t want to follow any advice for dealing with a dominant dog, as on your web site it says a puppy cannot show dominance at this age.

What is she doing then? Is this just sassing? If so, how do we get her to stop it? Just continue what we’re doing? We always win the battle but it takes quite a while and this happens ALL the time. Many times per day. She also doesn’t come when we call most of the time. She is a real pill.

Do you think this puppy is out of our league? She is very, very smart and when she’s not mad she’s very sweet. But piss her off and watch out.

Don’t know if it’s significant, but she was hospitalized at 7 weeks for intussuception surgery, and again last week for severe parasite load and a bellyful of gravel (which she ate at the breeders when they were puppy sitting her). Vet said she had Pica and that’s why she ate the rocks. She’s always trying to eat rocks and licks any kind of stone obsessively. Popping her leash doesn’t phase her in the least.

Any advice? I’ll be fine with being called a dumb ass because maybe I am! I just want to do right by this pup and not ruin her. She’s awesome.

Columbia, Mo



I have a four month old puppy who is a stray. I got her when she was just one month old.  I live in India. I have a big problem with her biting. I've tried everything.  Leaving her when she bites, yelping (she gets excited and bites more), shaking a can of coins (only works some times), spraying yucky tasting stuff on my hands (she liked it and licked it off), telling her no and giving her a toy (how long can you do that for? she still bites). The worst is if you try alpha roll or lifting her by the cheeks and saying no and even grabbing her by her scruff and shaking her (I did it till she yelped). She gets wild and angry.  She fights to get away and then starts leaping at me and biting as hard as she can.  She cuts the skin and my hands are covered in cuts and scratches from her teeth.  Now she's started biting and leaping at me when I just tell her no. I'm worried as it seems that she is going to be a very large dog. I don't know what to do. Is it just puppy behavior or will she become dangerous. She doesn't show aggression in any other areas. Not if you stare in her eyes or food or toy aggression. I'm making her sit and wait when i give her her food until I release her to eat and the same going through the door and up and down stairs.  Whenever I sit on the floor she has to come sit on my lap. Is that affection or dominate behavior? 



Dear Mr. Frawley,

I currently own one of your videos and have read many articles on your website.  I am currently having a problem with my male Siberian Husky that I need your assistance with.  I would be happy to pay you for a phone consultation if you like, or if you could respond to this e-mail --  whichever you prefer.

The dog is just 15 weeks old.  Generally he is a very friendly, fun loving puppy.  He loves everyone he meets -- very friendly, tail wagging, licking hands, etc -- no issues.  He is even very good at the vet -- again friendly, lets the Dr. check him out, look in his mouth, etc, etc.  However, I am having two behavior issues with him at home that I am concerned about.

These are:

1)  He is very high energy and has an EXTREMELY HIGH prey drive.  He is basically a little alligator almost non-stop.  He's constantly grabbing pant legs, shirt sleeves, jumping up, chasing my two young boys (ages ~ 8 and 5), and plays very strongly.  Correction and/or substituting a toy in place of a pant leg does not work with him.  He'll take the toy momentarily, then spit it back out almost immediately and then go right back at our pants, shirts, socks, etc.  He could care less about the toy -- he wants to play with us instead.

2) The more serious problem is that he occasionally growls (not baring teeth, just a stomach growl) at my two boys when they come near him while he's laying down.  A couple of times he has snapped at them.  He never does this to me.  Just to the kids, and once in a while to my wife. I personally can come up to him at any time and pet him, play with his paw, look at his teeth -- whatever -- an he is perfectly fine, never a growl and never even any sign he is irritated.  I would say 90 percent of the time he is perfectly fine with the kids coming up to him as well, but just at certain times he seems to have an issue with them.

From what I have been able to learn from your articles and from my breeder and others, it appears to me that this is a pack/rank issue.  The dog accepts me as the Alpha, but thinks he is definitely higher in rank than the kids, and maybe trying to move ahead of my wife if given the chance.

I should tell you that we are crate training him and we do have a prong collar.  We also do NOT let him have free run of the house.  He is contained to our kitchen/dining area when not in the crate.  We also do NOT ever let him on the furniture or bed, we go out the door first, make him sit before going out and eating.  Also I have never seen the kids ever do anything mean to him.  Finally, he comes from a good breeder and a great set of parents who both are very fun loving friendly dogs, and his father is an obedience/show dog.  There is no history of bad temperament in the pedigree.

Overall, I'm kind of surprised these dominance issues have arisen at such a young age before his hormones have even kicked in.  I do not want this growling problem to turn into a biting problem.  Please help.




I have read hundreds of articles on your site because I am a new and inexperience dog owner. You do not talk much about very young puppies. I bought a puppy at 5 weeks from some neighbors whose dog had puppies. The mother was a Chihuahua and the father was a yorky. Anyway, I have been following your kennel training advice since we got the dog, and he is doing ok with the housebreaking but still having accidents )(which is to be expected). For the most part, he keeps his kennel dry and scratches at the door when he need sto go. I have been letting him out of the kennel very every hour or two very briefly to either go or to play for a while. Anyway, he is 6 weeks old now and very small but this dog seems to have a bad temperament. His mother seemed to be a very mean dog. Also, this dog constantly bites and snaps. He has barked and growled at me, my husband, and my children. He bit my 5 year-old son today when he tried to hug him.  Also, my two year-old constantly tries to pick the dog up and snatches his hand away from him, event hough we have repeatedly disciplined him for this. My question is, is this a dog that will be aggressive and unfit for small active boys? Another question, is being in the crate so much making him nuts? 




I am a very frustrated puppy owner who is on the verge of getting rid of our 16 week old Rottweiller puppy. Since he was about 8 weeks old, he tends to growl at myself and my kids (4 and 6) a lot. If he is just laying around, not sleeping, and we come over the pat him and talk to him, he starts growling as if to warn us to leave him alone. He seemed to stop for a few weeks, but over the last week it has seemed to get worse. The growling is not only when he is laying down, but when he is walking by me and I reach down to pat him, he will give the same "warning." Tonight was just about the last straw, my son was petting him on the floor and he growled and leapt at his face to bite him.  When he does growl, I tell him NO but that just gets him growling louder. I don't know if this behavior is something that can be changed or not.  He is a very smart dog, he has mastered sit, stay, come (in sign language as well) for quite a while now.  He has been easy to house train and other than this problem, he is a great puppy. I hate the thought of getting rid of him, but I don't want a puppy turning into a dog that I can't trust. I searched your articles on dog aggression and puppy training, but I didn't some across anything about this type of problem. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, since I will be making my decision in the next couple of days.

Thanks so much!
Ann Marie



Hello Ed,

My name is Autumn, I live in southern Ontario, Canada. I have a 10 week old Black and Red German Shepherd puppy. I purchased her from a breeder up in Ingersoll, Ontario (2 hours away). I will be training him for personal protection work.  I just recently started taking ideas from your site into action, like not leaving toys available to him all the time, he gets 15 minute play times about 2-3 times a day.

I have been having a couple of problems with him lately. I usually don't let strangers touch him, but I have noticed when I am walking him he tends to coward away from strangers, so I let them get down and offer their hand, just to socialized him so he is not fearful of people. I live with my dad and we have another dog in the house a Toy Poodle mix, and she was here first. She is spayed, and she gets roam of the house....she is my dads dog so I have no say in how he raises her. I also noticed with my pup when I was walking him last night, their was a 13 week old Boxer pup, he started barking and growling at him, I am guessing if I went to pet it mine (Gunner), wouldn't let him near me. What behavior is this? is is jealousy,protective,aggressive? He does this with the smaller dog in our household, but when he does it his rump is in the air, he tries to get over her (push her shoulders down), when she runs he chases her....prey drive, he tends to like to nip then run away playfully. Mind he did try to nip the Boxer there anyway to correct this as I want him to be dog friendly? When I am feeding him I noticed he gets protective of his food from the other dog (the other dog taught this behavior), and with me too, he doesn't bite but tenses up and eats faster, when I go to feed him he whines like he hasn't been fed in weeks. Also he is snapped with treats, he not only takes the treat bit my hand with it...

Gunner is crate trained, has a feeding schedule ( 1 cup at noon, mixed with veggies, and 1 cup and 1/2 a cup for dinner) am I feeding him right, too little too much?, he knows his sit, down, come and stay with some treat, but mostly toy and positive praise....he knows them in English and German. The first night in the crate was bad...I put him in another room with the door shut and let him cry himself a river, he is doing great know...he goes in it when asked without a fight. He is doing awesome with housetraining...he gets roam of the house when I can watch him, or he is in his crate...when he is in the room with carpet...he is either laying down or in his crate as he like to pee on the carpet. If he is on the furniture he is laying down or not on it at all. He is not even suppose to be on the furniture....but I let him anyway as our small dog is allowed on furniture, so I make it fair....

Please give me some suggestions....any will be greatly appreciated...

Thanks Ed



I have a GSD that is approximately 5.5 months old (I just ordered and received your video on Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months).

My question is related to biting. Our puppy has had an issue with this since the beginning….in fact, I have 3 children so about 2 weeks after we got him I took him to a trainer to have his temperament tested as I did not want a 90lb dog biting.  They put him in a puppy-hold and kept him for the day – as it turns out his temperament is fine, but he is a “frustrated” high-drive puppy and needs to be worked more (according to them). So, I started him in training ….he has been through his first obedience (basic manners) and responded well. I also started walking him more, and am about to have the back yard fenced in. Regarding the biting, it continues to be a problem though it has improved. We use the gentle leader, and while that helps it has not completely corrected the problem.  We also used the bitter spray in his mouth and did puppy holds to put him in submission.  He has gotten too strong for the spray, because it is not effective if we can’t get it right away. It seems he is calming down, but I still have the problem.  I understand that with my youngest (she is 5) her reaction sometimes fuels the biting because she jumps and screams and he thinks she is playing. I try to supervise their play, but am not always able to do so.

I guess my question is basically is there hope to stop the biting? I called the breeder and he said the only way to stop this was to forcefully close the muzzle until he cried and he offered to take him for a week (at about 2 ½ months) but I was concerned because the trainer said no, that could cause more aggression. I have heard both ends of the spectrum.

What do you recommend and do you have a video that specifically addresses this issue?    Does a shock collar work? He is crate trained, and I wonder if maybe he is not getting enough exercise?

Thanks for your help,



Dear Mr. Frawley,

First of all I would like to apologize for my English, I am not a native English speaker but I will try to be as clear as possible. I live in Belgium and I have an 11 month old Border Collie who has a lot of problems.

His problems started when he was only 8 weeks of age; I noticed that every time I corrected the dog (for digging holes, biting in furniture,…) he replied by snapping in the air towards me. Because of this I started going to dog training around that age. When the dog was 3 months old everything went wrong; after trying to pry a chicken bone out of his mouth he bit me. I immediately contacted a dog therapist and she told me his problem was fear aggression and I was to ignore the aggression. This didn’t help at all, he became aggressive every time I forced him to do something (for example: he digs a hole, I tell him to stop, he ignores me; after 2 or 3 times I pick him up or push him away from the hole and he bites). It came to a point where I couldn’t put him in his kennel or crate without him being aggressive. An other therapist told me it was aggression caused by frustration, because frustration is another big problem of his; he will go completely mad over certain sounds like drilling, sawing, hammering, … he will start barking and running and attacking plants and hedges and completely destroying them. When I try to get him back in the house or in his kennel he will just ignore me and eventually I will get mad and so will the dog. A third therapist came over last month and simply told me his problem must be genetic and the dog must be put down. I contacted the breeder I bought him from and she came over to have a look at the dog, the told me nothing was wrong with the dog and that his problem was caused by our 2 acres big garden. Because we had the dog in the spring he spent most of his first months with us running freely in the garden and we completely lost control over him (Apparently none of the therapist we contacted thought it necessary to mention this).

When the dog is inside he is obedient and very calm, when I train with him with treats he does everything I ask him to do (sit, stay, come laying on his side, follow,…) but as soon as we are outside he simply ignores me. For about 2 months now I keep the dog on a long leash in the garden to train recall but almost every time I end up dragging the dog towards me and having a Border Collie that isn’t allowed to run freely once in a while is very hard for a dog with lots of energy. Because I have the dog on a leash all the time his aggression problems have improved a lot, but in extreme situations, most of them having to do with loud sounds when I completely lose control over the dog; when I try to regain control sometimes it ends in aggression.

The confusing problem with his aggression is that the cause for the aggression seems to be dominance but the aggression itself seems to be fear aggression (ears flat, tail low).

Even though the breeder never had any problems with any aggressive dogs from her litters I don’t dismiss that it could be a genetic problem, but being a 6’5” man with fast reflexes I can still prevent the dog from hurting me so I am willing to give him a couple of months longer before I decide more drastic measures like putting him down (After all if it isn’t genetic then I caused his problems).

Do you think an E-collar would be useful in his situation? I think I do need some form of punishment whenever the dog goes berserk and starts wrecking our plants and his kennel because of his frustration to noise. Or maybe his problems will be solved once he accepts me as a pack leader (which he clearly does not)?

I hope you have the time to red this very long letter but I am getting a bit desperate and apparently no one here in Belgium can help me.




Hi there,

I have read through your website several times over the last several months.

We purchased our Basset Hound puppy last June when he was 8 weeks old. From the time we went to pick him up, he has had a bit of an attitude problem. He gorges his food, snaps, growls and snarls at me if he’s tired and we want him to do something he doesn’t want to (this can range from moving him, petting him when he’s in the back of the car, petting while he drinks or eats, etc.).

I will admit, against my recommendations, my boyfriend let him get away with many things as a pup (on the couch, on the bed, etc.).

Since realizing Barkley has an aggression problem, we have done a LOT of work to putting him back in his place. He works for every handful of food or treat.

Now he is 9 months old and is showing severe aggression problems. Our obedience trainer believes it could be ‘rage syndrome’, although Barkley only shows aggression when he doesn’t want to do something, when we reassure him while he’s chewing on a toy, eating his food or drinking his water, etc. He has never had a problem with another dog, but shows aggression and has bitten me and the obedience trainer. She believes he has rage syndrome because he will eventually give up the fight and cower once into your feet once you’ve corrected him HARD, but two seconds later he’d do it again…knowing full well what’s coming.

He sleeps in a crate and we’re working on putting him in his crate for an hour or so every single day as he suffers from separation anxiety when we leave him at home during the day (for 7 – 8 hours).

We have used the following:

  1. obedience training
  2. hand feeding
  3. a pinch/prong collar (with advice from the obedience trainer)
  4. Alpha training
  5. Air horn training (because the prong collar ended up bringing out the aggression to the point where if Barkley was annoyed and you reached for his leach, he would lunge at you)
  6. Drags his 6-foot leash around the house

We are now back to “avoidance” and treat training. He basically gets lots of praise when he does things the “right” way. We’ve stopped setting him up to correct him since I’m growing more and more afraid of his aggression. Up to this point I’ve stayed fairly strong.

I know he’s going through the “teenage years” right now, so I’m hoping it will lessen over the next 5 months, but I’m not quite sure what we’ll do if it doesn’t.

I’d be willing to pay for any advice you have to offer that we haven’t already heard.

Thank you so much for your time.




Hi Ed,

I enjoyed reading the Q&A for puppy training. I will definitely take you advice on mouthiness with the puppy, Grace.

Our older dog, Hope, is a GSD/Doberman mix rescued at a very young age. She was neglected and malnourished and had an intestinal bug when we got her around 8-10 weeks I think. She was very small but obviously a GSD/mix of some sort. Somehow we made it She is now a sleek 60 pounds and in excellent health. She is quite good off leash out front and good on leash with a prong collar. I can't tell you how many contraptions we went through to find something that worked for her. Her nickname was Houdini she could get out of harnesses and collars not necessarily breaking them either.

Grace is only 5 months old on a guess. She was just over 4 months when we got her from a rescue. She has a clean bill of health and is a sturdy 32 pounds. They think that she could be a GSD/Doberman mix like Hope. They look identical at the same age. She was abandoned on the side of the road with 5 other pups. From what I am told 4 of the pups were about 1-2 months younger than her and another female. She lived at the rescue for awhile getting spade and vaccinated. While she was there she was kept with the smaller pups and learned some dominate traits. She is selectively food aggressive. I know that sounds weird but sometimes she is vocal about food sharing and then other times she just watches. Grace does follow Hope which is great when Grace got out off leash out front and all we had to do was call Hope inside and along came puppy.

Now the two of them together is difficult to describe. Hope did not get a lot of socialization because of where we live and because she was so frail to start with. So she is kind of of a sissy chicken. When I verbally reprimand Grace, Hope goes and lays down. They both want what the other has no matter how many items are out there. give them identical treats or toys and they each focus on one. We tried initially to keep returning each dogs toy to them but that just got annoying. They do not fight outright. Hope will nip Grace to make a point but that is very rare. She does exude appropriate dominate behavior Grace will roll over for her and Hope will pin her down quietly. They are often cheek to cheek open mouthed but not growling I think it is playing. Sometimes though Hope will be wagging her tail but sound horrible growling and snarling. Seems like a mixed message.

Hope is allowed full reign of the house but Grace is crated at night and when then need a break. Is there anything else you could suggest? I do want them to get along. Sorry if this got a bit details but I felt it was necessary for you to have the background information.

Thank you!!!
Colleen and Robert



Hello - I found your site and hope you are able to help us.

We got our puppy, which we suspect is a lab/doberman/terrier cross when he was only 6 weeks old. We got him earlier than expected because he was fully weaned and his mother had started to get aggressive with her puppies. 

He is six months old and generally well behaved, getting used to sitting quietly while we eat, doesn't mind his crate, plays independently and with us.  However, there is one thing that has us troubled.  When he is tired - he very aggressively chews on us until we put him in his crate - it is almost like he is telling us what he wants.  He is generally pretty gentle but he is quite big and powerful so it can hurt.  He also reacts very badly to his training collar. We have to ply him with treats to keep him quiet or he bites and snarls when we put it on him. 

He is in training and has shown progress but this still troubles us greatly.




Hi Ed,

We have a wonderful golden retriever puppy that we bought for our 11 year old daughter from 6th Day Ranch in Colorado. They recommended your site to us, and we have ordered a lot -- including your puppy video. I have also read extensively on your site. However, I still lack confidence that we are training her correctly, mostly because we don't know what we should expect, this being our first puppy. First, let me say what is working:

1) The crate. She doesn't whine or cry, she "sleeps through the night," and she has never soiled her crate.

2) Potty training. She rarely has accidents, and if she does, they're our fault.

3) She will sit or down on command about 90% of the time. (Unless she is jumping on us)

4) She sits without being told when we bring her food, and she knows to let us go through doors first, etc.

Now, what we're concerned about:
1) She has a crazy "food drive." She devours her Honest Kitchen food in about 14 seconds, and then acts like she hasn't been fed in days. Yes, we're feeding her the right amount. She also fiercely protects any treats/chews/bones we give her. She constantly jumps up on the kitchen cupboards (and will soon reach the counters), and on us, looking for food. She really doesn't obey our "off" command at all, and sometimes when we knee her down, she goes flying on the wood floors. I worry about hurting her or damaging her spirit, but this doesn't seem to deter her at all. Is this normal puppy behavior? What can we do to prevent her from jumping? I just know that "counter surfing" is next. How do we stop this?

2) She constantly wants to bite us, and she has torn many pieces of clothing by jumping up and snapping. We try to ignore or redirect with toys, and that works up to a point. Basically, she wants to chew or bite all the time. She will only chew an edible chew, and really hasn't much interest in chews that she can't eat. She can eat a pig's ear in record time -- are these okay for her a few times a week? She basically will not lay down and relax unless she is chewing on something or is in her crate. If we're sitting at the table or on the couch,  (eating or not) she just wants to bite our hands or jump up on our legs/laps. How do we prevent this? My daughter loves her, of course, but she is disappointed that she can't just play nicely with her.  Is this all normal?

3)When we are taking her outside to go potty, she will often turn and bite her leash (sometimes growling) and jump on us. How should we handle this? She sometimes gets out of control. Other times, she is totally calm. How much do we scold her? (I know you say to "correct" her, but we don't really know what's appropriate.) Common sense says to take her back in, but sometimes we just really need her to go to the bathroom right then and so we try to keep at it. She usually ends up going after we calm her down. Again, is this something that she'll outgrow or should we be concerned? I have to admit that it's really hard not to want to smack her when she jumps up and tears my good clothes !! (I know, my fault for wearing good clothes.)

Anyway, if you even read this whole email, I'll be amazed! Thank you so much for any advice you can give. We are ordering your next training DVD and will be taking her to obedience classes when she's 6 months. But two more months seems like a loooooooong time away before we get some relief.

Thanks again,


Hi Ed,

Thanks for taking the time to make the video on puppies from 8 weeks to 8 months. I have an 11 week old female GSD of German bloodlines and so far things are going okay. One of the issues we have with her is when she is corrected, she will back up and barks at me – example, she jumped up on me and I moved her feet from me to the floor and told her no jump and she barked.  When she nips me – mostly accidentally – and I yelp or say OUCH! she backs up and barks…  I have tried the holding her cheeks and lifting her off the floor – telling her that it is enough – and I wait until she looks away and relaxes but with the same results.

I don’t think it is an aggression issue, she allows me to take her food, play with her feet, look at her teeth, put her on her back to rub her belly, etc. Any thoughts or suggestion from you on how to correct this behavior or if can explain why she is doing this, would be most appreciated.




We have a 6 month old pug terrier mix who has destroyed almost everything in our home.  She started by chewing on the kitchen table and chairs, then moved to the entertainment center, our kitchen cabinets, the carpet, and now the couch. She does this when left alone. I recently bought her a kennel for when we are gone, but she runs from me whenever I try to put her in it. 

Along with her chewing, she likes to run away from me outside.  I think she makes a game of it but since I fell on my face on the gravel road trying to catch her it is the farthest thing from a game to me.  I try taking her out on the leash, but even then all she wants to do is play...only to come in the house to do her duties.

If you don't give her the attention she wants when she wants it, she barks and bites you sometimes until you bleed.  One night I got home from school and did not give her any attention, so what did she do...jumped up on the spare bed in front of me and started peeing.  I grabbed her, rubbed her nose in it and then spanked her with a newspaper only for her to go pee on my side of the bed...never on my husbands side.

My husband works all shifts, so his schedule is super crazy.  When he tries sleeping and I'm at work, Sami won't allow it...but when I try taking a nap, she curls up in a ball and sleeps right next to me.

What can I do with that mutt...I'm ready to shoot her she is so naughty!!!




I purchased a great dane puppy about 3 weeks ago (she is now almost 9 weeks old). She is very bright. I also have 2 dachshunds ages 7 years (male-fixed) and 8 month old (female-fixed). They all seem to get along pretty well.

I recently took her to the vet due to her odd walk and found out that her hocks are longer than they should be and the upper back leg bones are shorter than they should be.  She does not have any pain and so far, no signs of dysplasia. I saw the x-rays and she has well defined hip ball and socket joints.  The vet stated that her bones may catch up with her growth and may have a normal walk or she may end up with her hind legs being taller than her front legs, putting her posture at an angle with her hind end being more up in the air. 
We have her only as a pet and will have her fixed later when the vet says it is ok to do so.

She is also eats Nutro natural large breed puppy food about 3 times per day. We only let her walk around on carpet or grass to help her obtain traction and possibly strengthening her muscles. Over the past week her gait has seemed to have steadied a bit. Our vet also instructed us to limit how much we let her run and play and exercise for now, until we know what her growth is going to do to her back legs. What other ways can we exercise her and not put any strain on those rapidly growing legs? We do not have access to a pool to let her swim in.

My other questions is at what age should I use an e-collar on her (if I need to). I use one on the smaller dogs to help control their hyperness in the house at times, but have not had to use it much recently.

Also how can I teach the great dane puppy to not bite so hard on the smaller dogs. The smaller dogs are able to give as much as they get, but I wish to avoid any fights between the puppy and the other two dogs. The great dane already outweighs and is taller than the dachshunds.

Your advise is needed.



My fiance and I purchased a gsd puppy at 9wks old.She is now 11wks.She is constantly biting (playing) at us and our 3 yr old, her breeder keeps telling us to grab her by the muzzle and tell her no bite and to look her in the eye till she looks away. This was working ok but now she snaps at our hand when we let go and i can't tell if she is doing this aggressively or is she is still playing. I'm wondering if grabbing her muzzle is okay? She doesn't always bite its only when she gets to excited, and she always gets overly excited when she see's our 3yr old son and tries to jump all over him and now he is terrified of her. We stop her from jumping on him but she still tries every time she see's him. We are now keeping her on a long leash in the den so we can observe her at all time until this weekend when we get a gate to keep her only in the den and only when we can watch her.They get along well when she is calm and just sits so he can pet her. I'm worried that she might be a little aggressive or that i'm overreacting. She is  starting classes at petsmart but not until march 30th.

Mainly we just want to know if it is okay to hold her muzzle when she bites and how to help her and our son interact better. Thank you for whatever advice you can give!




Dear sir,

I have a 5 month old lab who "mouths" (maybe nips at times) a lot. She does not do it so much to my husband and I (we are consistent in redirecting and ignoring her when she acts out), but she is very mouthy to our 11 and 14 year old who are not as consistent. She is also starting to really jump and nip when she wants to play and with company. I also find her snapping like an alligator and barking at me when I correct her (push her off the counter and say no). What can we do??? She is otherwise a great dog and trying very hard to please us.




My family and I (my dad, mom, and brother) just got a new Puppy, a pure breed Black lab, he is about 14 weeks old, he is so cute but we have one minor problem if we want to pet him well he is eating he growls and attempts to bite our hands I have been bitten in the face by a golden retriever and I had to get 12 stitches, (five in my nose and 7 in the back of my head), I do not want to get bite again and have to go through that,  I also have a 5 years old niece and a nephew who has a mental disability and is 13 and I am afraid that one of them might get bite when they come over to see us, I am especially worried about my nephew due to the fact that he doesn’t understand a lot, so what can I do to stop my puppy from biting us when he is eating?



Hi Ed,

I have been reading a lot on your site and find it all very helpful. I intend to buy the DVD on obedience. I read the articles and your answers but I did not find any specifically like my question. I have a ten week old female toy poodle puppy. She comes to work with me almost every day. I work at an assisted living home for the elderly. She is being well socialized and is friendly and attracted to people. She is very attached to me and whines when I leave the room. I just ignore her whining and do not make a big deal out of my leaving or returning. She sleeps in a crate next to my bed and does fine. She is demanding of my attention by barking and whining. I make her sit and settle down before I pet her. She has boundaries and rules (ie. No sleeping in bed, no tug of war games, she is learning to release toys, no eating from table). I am not spoiling her like many people do with little dogs. I want her to continue coming to work with me and to be a confident and well trained little dog. She mouths and growls at me when she is playing. I can tell when she is playing and I just tell her to sit and give her a toy. It doesn't bother me when she growls and mouths during play. I do have one very big concern When I pick her up or groom her she growls at me and air bites me. She also growled at my 12 year old niece when my niece kissed her on the side of the face. I held her and went to inspect her ear and she growled and snapped at my face. She did not actually bite my skin, but I could tell she was warning me. I tell her no firmly and hold her head and stare in her eyes until she looks away and continue what I am doing. I do not back away when she growls.

I asked one dog trainer that came highly recommended from my vet. She said I should only use positive reinforcement and give her treats while grooming and handling so she does not growl. She said you want compliance not submission, because submission is fear based. I thought she has to be kidding me. I think that's nuts.

I have had many dogs and have taking them all through obedience training. I even had a dominant male Akita that I trained and he became a very well behaved adult. I am use to seeing this kind of behavior  from dogs when they are much older like a year and a half. I have never had a ten week old puppy that did this. I am really afraid that she will be a fear biter. I wanted a dog that I could take to work and trust around people. Should I be concerned.




Hi Ed,

I'm sorry to inconvenience you once more with this query via email.  I know you get tons daily.  It's just that I can't get a good answer over the Leerburg forums and I do already have your Puppy and Obedience DVDs.  This is regarding my 2-month old German Shepherd pup that's beginning to get this habit of growling at me when I push him away with a firm "NO" whenever he play bites me.  I tried your technique of grabbing him by the cheeks and saying "NO" and looking him at the eye.  He always goes back to the same habit.  The folks at the forum told me that it is just a pup that is beginning to be "vocal" and is more of prey drive than aggression/dominance.  What is your opinion and what do you think I should do to correct the problem?  I'm beginning to think of alpha rolling him.  Your professional advise would be most appreciated.



Have you watched the dvd's yet?  I would start marker training with the puppy and give him something positive to do in place of biting at you.  You do NOT want to alpha roll a puppy (or any dog for that matter)   

What are your training goals for this puppy? 

I have a 12 week old pup I am raising right now  and he was all over my pant legs, arms, etc.. It is just prey drive at this age but it still hurts when they bite.  I taught him to sit and give me eye contact and then I will either give him a treat and a lot of praise or play tug with an appropriate toy (not my arms or legs) .  it takes a little patience at first but they catch on quick. 

The thing to remember is that puppies have an opposition reflex so if you push him away, his natural reaction is to come right back at you harder than before.  He can't really help it, dogs are just hardwired that way.

Here's a great article for you to read


Yes I have watched the DVD's though I have not started with training yet as I have just had him for barely 2 weeks.  He's just settled in a couple of days ago and is now exhibiting a lot of energy compared to the past week where he was mostly soft and passive.  He lost a lot of weight the past week since he arrived and has low food drive (way too much ribs showing). However, he's now gradually increasing his appetite and is gaining good weight so I plan on starting with marker training this Monday. 

What I have done though is begin drive and focus work (I also have your Building Drive and Focus DVD).  He has very good prey drive and have started playing with a ball on a string with him and some tug work.  He has a lot of bite and play time but he always never gets tired of biting me. Does this eventually go away with consistent substitution with a toy?  
He also insists on gnawing at the cotton line I've been using.  I tried Ed's technique of popping it out of his mouth with a firm "NO": it doesn't seem to work. Too stubborn.  He even ends up wanting to play tug using his leash while growling!

It's good you've mentioned OPPOSITION REFLEX, I've never heard of it and I am truly glad (and relieved really) to learn of this from you. I'm beginning to fear that I have an aggressive dog on my hands. It's the growling that really bugged me. Could this also be due to opposition reflex coupled with frustration?

He's really a family pet that I plan on doing Schutzhund work with (as a good sport for him and me) and if he turns out to be "good-looking" too, maybe do some conformation shows.

Hope you could help me.  He's my first GSD and my first time to try dog training.

Many thanks!



If you are consistent about always having a toy to substitute for biting you, it will subside as time goes on.  I would also try substituting a toy for the leash.  This is really common behavior in puppies with a lot of prey drive.  He sounds like a nice pup!

Growling like you describe is normal puppy behavior, usually because (like you stated) he’s frustrated and trying to win the game.  Make sure when you do your drive work that you release the toy to him when he is not growling.  If you plan on schutzhund with him, they like a quiet grip so start only letting him get the tug or ball on a string when he is not growling.  This may mean you let him grab the toy and IMMEDIATELY win without a lot of tugging.   You can gradually extend the amount of time you tug with him as he gets older. He’s still a baby so you have a lot of time.

Hope this helps.


Dear Mr. Frawley,

It's been a while since I have written you but I have a situation on my hands that I wanted to ask you about. Our male american bulldog puppy is now 15 months old and he is great thanks to your website and products. We recently brought a 3 month old male american bulldog in for a "trial run" for a few days to see how things work out. When the first met, we let them play in the yard and our male, who loves to play for hours and hours, as expected, tried to play and engage the puppy. He play bows and even rolls over to allow smaller dogs to trample all over him. 

While our male is a little intense playing and will play for hours, I'm a little concerned about the puppy's behavior. The puppy would get extremely aggressive towards our male when he would roll over (which probably empowered the puppy) and would bite our males throat, ears, and lips as hard as he could and shake as if he was attacking all while growling, however, tail was wagging the entire time. 

At times it seemed the puppy was trying to get away from our male, which I understand, he is in a new place, a big old dog keeps trying to play with him, etc., but our male doesn't get the point until I step in. The puppy's aggression has me concerned. The puppy also growls when we give him a kong and our male gets near, obviously food/toy aggressive.  Our male gets the point and will lay down and just watch him eat the kong. 

When it was time for bed, I crated the puppy, but our male was allowed to stay out, but he just lied down next to the puppy's crate and fell asleep.  Today, I have been rotating them in and out of their crates, only allowing one out at a time so I can get some work done, the puppy always on a leash inside the house.

My question is, do I correct the aggression in the puppy when they are playing? And, how do I correct the food aggression? He seems to be a very hard pup and verbal reprimands seem to have little effect, although he is very loving also. Should I take the kong/treat away?

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,


Hi Ed,

I'm not sure if you are the right person to write to but I have been looking on web sites for some help and nothing has caught my eye as yet.

My problem:

We have just recently got a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy. He is 13 weeks this Friday and we got him when he was 8 weeks. We also have a 4 year old Staffi. The problem is that out 13 week old puppy keeps attacking our older one. He keeps biting him but hard and grabbing large pieces of skin and then shaking his head. He bites his legs or anything he can get hold of. Our older dog would play fight back but now he is running away from the puppy because he is sick of being bitten so hard. He also bites us but not as much as he bites our other dog. Our other dog is very upset at the moment and I'm worried that if this behavior continues the puppy will think it is the norm. He is also biting other things but I am aware this is normal and we just have to be persistent with telling him no. But when it come to biting my other dog it worries me as I don't want him to do this to other dogs or to have to wear a muzzle when we go out for walks! He is going to puppy classes at the moment to learn his other commands which he is doing well at. When he is there he doesn't bite the other puppies because he is a little shy but I am worried this will change. Please help me if you can or point me in the right direction.

Thank you so much

Many Thanks,


We  never allow our puppies to interact in this way with our adult dogs. Please read this article.

I would recommend you purchase the dvd titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog. 

You should also consider the DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have much more to learn than your dog. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article  on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.   


Hi Ed,

My fiance and I have a ten week old puppy, that we are very actively trying to train and associate into our home and life style. We ordered and watched your 8 week - 8 month video several times before we got her. As a child I had german shepherds growing up, but was probably too young to remember the training tactics we used. We are having a few problems with her, and I have continuously gone back to your website, and DVD to figure out what we are doing wrong.

First of all she is continuously biting us and our furniture. We have several toys around the house that we keep close by to redirect her if she is biting us or our furniture. We have tried crying like a litter mate, as well as picking her up by her cheeks, all which last for about ten seconds and she is back to the behavior. We bought the sour apple spray and she seems to like it, as well as the orange peels. We are both very patient with her, and want her to train her the right way, but sometimes we spend over an hour, redirecting her behavior and the biting does not stop. We have several of the toys you suggest, and give her ample play and exercise time but unless she is sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, she is biting us or our furniture/carpet. Another issue we are having is rocks, she  is constantly eating rocks, we 9 times out of 10 get them out of her mouth as we are right there, but, unfortunately where we live there is no escaping the surface rocks, or the once in the ground. I don't want to have to limit her to being on our porch/deck or inside, but we are fearful for her digestive system.

I hope I am not missing anything in your training advise as I tried to be as thorough as possible in my research before approaching you, but any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again,




My name is Natalya; We  are currently living in Portland, OR.

All my life I've wanted to have a Giant schnauzer, and last april that dream came true. We were surfing the web looking for Pure- breed Giant schnauzer puppies; so then we came across a website of people that breed Giants in Germany, we fell in love with the pictures and purchased a 3 and a half month Giant schnauzer puppy.

We were expecting him to be calm and sweet, but what we got was a little monster. He is a great dog but fully out of control. All we do since we ever got him we try to make him listen to us and respect us, but he pretty much does whatever he wants. We potty trained him and took him to obedience classes, that worked out for about 6 months, but after winter pasted and he turned 14 months he started showing us his teeth and guarding all of his belongings. My husband was always strict with him so he never showed him his teeth but he pulled on walks with all of us. But  to me and my thirteen year old daughter he consistently started showing his teeth and growling. We sent a letter to his breeders and asked for help they said to take away all of his belongings and fully ignore him; they also said to read some books by Jan Fenell and we are reading her books but we are stuck on what to do right now. We took him recently to an obedience class but after the first lesson we realized they weren't serious enough for us they covered the same material we already knew: sit, stay, come, heel. And plus the trainer was scared of our Giant. So our question to you is what do we do now?

I kept doing research on the web and I found your beautiful article about giant schnauzers how they are beautiful and intelligent and loyal to their owners, so i decide to come to you for help. My husband lost his temper and now he's on the verge of selling him because he doesn't want to deal with all the problems that He gave our whole family. But I think a lot of the problems that happened were our fault and what I want is to buy some DVD from you and also find some local classes like K9 or serious obedience classes for serious dogs. If you have any advice on what to do or any classes in oregon that you know of please let us know.

Natalya and Olga


I have a 5 month old male Australian Cattle Dog who lives with 2 other female dogs one old and one teenager. He gets along well with both. He has learnt to get along with 2 male cats as well and doesn’t pay much interest to the horses. My problem is when a strange dog comes to visit he is very aggressive towards it. The same occurrence happens when he goes to my family home I have 4 dogs there and no matter if they are all there or just one he is very aggressive. I’m worried that I won’t be able to take him out places if this keeps happening and that maybe one day it may be a little child that he has issues with. I don’t know how to change his behavior (train him) or how to handle him when such issues arise. Any advice would be much appreciated.




Hello Ed,

My 14 week old GS puppy is starting to react in a way that I am not sure if this is good or bad.

When my daughters correct him for biting or chewing on things he will sometimes bark at them as if to say “I want to play with it leave me alone”.  No growling just a bark that sounds a if to say “Stop nagging me”.  He stops doing what he was doing.

He has never had a bad encounter with a dog in the park, I protect him at all times, but lately when he sees other dogs I can tell his hair at the back stands up and he starts barking at them.  I don’t know if he is playing or not, it seems like it, but his hair in the back stands up; His tail is moving though.

Yesterday a kid in the park was avoiding him and I guess he seemed kind of intimidated with the puppy so the dog looked at him and started to bark at him.  When people approach him he is usually very friendly.

Any problems here?

Thank you,



Hi Ed, Cindy,

Sam O'Kane from NC here.  My 14 week old GSD puppy is consistently using our hands for teething purposes.

The problem is less pronounced when she first comes out of the crate in the morning to get her morning affection.

The problem is most pronounced when she is in prey drive, after a session with the tug for example.  At those times, she not only gnaws our hands but also goes after feet, ankles, and clothing.  But mostly it's the hand chewing during normal petting that is driving us crazy.

As for correction...we give her a firm NO or PHUI...and an occasional scruff shake.  During especially bad outbursts I grab both scruff and rump and quickly and forcibly take her down to her side on the floor and hold her there until she calms down.  This achieves the desired result for a few seconds, but pretty quickly the hand chewing starts back up.

Got any suggestions?  I can't remember whether or not you've got an e-article on this subject.




Hi Ed,
My husband and I have a four month old Boxer who likes to put his open mouth on our hands, arms, feet while playing, but he never clamps down. How should we discourage this behavior? We have been holding his jaw closed and saying "no biting" and then putting him in his crate, but this seems to be unsuccessful as he continues later on. What are your ideas on improving the situation? And now when we come to the crate to let him out, he has been cowering his head. We ignore this and walk away, coming back later and hoping he won't do it again. We come back later when he's not cowering, tell him to sit while he's in the crate, he sits, then we let him out and praise him for sitting.  He will be neutered tomorrow--will that help the situation?



My wife and I live in Manhattan in NYC. About 7 months ago we decided we want a puppy. So I spent about $2,000 ordering your training videos and other training equipment and dog food in preparation for getting the puppy. I watched all the videos more than once in an attempt to learn how to be a good dog owner.

Last week we went to Virginia and purchased a Presa Canario male puppy from a breeder. We took him from the breeder at 7 and one-half weeks old. We knew we wanted a male puppy. There were only two male puppies in the litter. The male we picked was the more shy and reserved of the two male puppies as the breeder told us (and we saw) that the other male puppy was extremely dominant and confident.  We thought the other male puppy might be too much to handle - he was pushing around all of the other pups in the litter. So we picked the more reserved of the two male puppies. 

We were referred to the breeder in Virginia (Tall Oaks Kennels) by another breeder in New Jersey (Showstopper Kennels). I personally met the breeder in New Jersey a few times and he seemed very honest. He told me that he did not have any puppies available - and referred me to the breeder in Virginia and advised that she is a reputable breeder. He also advised that all her dogs were bred from his dogs original bloodlines. My friend purchased a puppy from the New Jersey kennel 6 years ago and is very happy with the dog. He bought the dog as a protection dog for his family and said that the dog is great. I also bought my dog to be a protection dog for my family. 

During the trip home to NYC from Virginia the puppy cried most of the way home in the car - he seemed very scared. Then he was petrified when he came to our apartment - and spent of his time hiding in the back of his dog crate. He was also extremely afraid to go outside and would 'freeze up' and totally refuse to walk down the block.  I expected that he would shortly get over this fear and assimilate to his surroundings.

We are crate training him as you advised in your videos. 

So as part of his crate training I bring him outside to go to the bathroom and be walked.  However, to date our puppy does not like to go outside- AT ALL. It only wants to stay in our apartment.  While inside our apartment our puppy is extremely friendly and plays with us when we give him play time.  He is completely 'normal' while in our apartment.  He will pull and tug on a towel just like any other puppy...

But if I bring the puppy outside and attempt to walk down him the block he will literally begin pulling on the leash in the opposite direction- he tries to RUN back to the apartment.  It has come to the point where I am actually dragging him down the block when I have to take him out to go to the bathroom.  I have tried to get him to walk down the block utilizing food as a stimulus- but even that has not worked.  Clearly he is scared of something. 

Being that we live in NYC I want to socialize the puppy as much as possible.  If I have the puppy outside and someone wants to 'pet' the puppy I let them do so- and the puppy acts completely natural and does not appear scared.

I do not understand how to correct this problem so I am writing to ask for your advice. I have had other dogs and never had this type of problem. I am bewildered and can't think of what to do to fix this problem. Please help me out with this problem.

Thank you for your assistance!



Hi Ed,

I ordered a couple of your DVDs. I've had GSDs all my adult life and never encountered one like I have now. He is getting better as far as being stubborn goes but still bites. He will sit for me to put on his leash when he comes out of his crate but will try to bite my hands, a firm NO doesn't seem to be working. I have read a couple things that I have been doing wrong and will correct them immediately. My husband is on blood thinners and the pup makes him bleed. With me I just get little bruises. He doesn't do it to me too much. However, I gave him a bone and went to pick it up like I do with all toys and he was actually vicious and bit me. In return he got a good correction on his leash and the bone was withdrawn. The next time I gave him the bone he was only allowed to eat it while I held it and there was still a little argument no biting when I took it away. I should be getting your DVDs on Wednesday. I am at a loss with this pup. I know that I have not established pack leader with him. If you have any suggestions as to what to do I would really appreciate it, I have had 6 other GSDs and never had this problem. He is always on a leash and when we are outside he is on a 40 foot lead that he drags around.
I would appreciate any help you can give me.




Thank you in advance for your time!

My husband and I have a 4 1/2 month old Corgi puppy.  We have tried to do what you teach about pack structure--where he sleeps, he eats after us, we go through doors before him, etc.  He does pull on walks however. We plan to keep him as a family pet, so we let people pet him, and he loves it. We control the dogs he greets and he has always approached with tail wagging, although he is cautious.  We have started obedience training; he seems eager and learns quickly.

We have been taking care of a friend's border collie puppy (8 weeks old) for a few days.  I realize now that this was not a good idea, so we are keeping them separated at all times now. However, before I knew to separate them, the corgi acted quite dominant with the puppy. He would follow him around (tail not wagging), pin him to the floor, steal his toys, etc.  I called two certified dog behaviorists just for information. They BOTH told me that they cannot believe that a 4 1/2 month old puppy would do that with a puppy. They could also not believe that the 8 week old puppy would fight back.  They said both of these dogs cause red flags to go up.  They think both dogs will become dog aggressive. They seemed to want to label the corgi as a dominant/aggressive dog that needs serious intervention. 

Of course I became concerned. The corgi has nipped at me two times--both when I tried to take it away from the puppy. I corrected it with the cheek squeeze you recommend. He seemed to recover quickly.

I would like your opinion on my situation. Is my dog showing signs of dominance and aggression? I have ordered the Puppy DVD and hope to order the basic obedience training dvd soon. I am reading your dominant/aggressive dog article. Any other suggestions?

Thank you for all you do.



Hi :

I would really appreciate if you could help me with this issue.

I just inquired a 3 month-old yorkie pup , the problem with her is that she's always biting on everything and anyone, I only had her for 2 weeks so she's not that familiarized with me, and every time she does something wrong I firmly tell her no, and sometimes I grab her in front of my face and gently tell her not to do so but, for my surprise she started showing me her teeth and barking and she's has bite me sometimes she's like especially aggressive towards me, and I just don't know what to do she's always biting everyone, and as time passes by she's biting harder and harder with no respect whatsoever and I feel really desperate cause it's the first pup that has this aggressiveness with everything I would really thank you if you could instruct me on what to do.



Hi Ed,

I bought several of your DVDs recently. On the DVD "Your Puppy: 8 weeks to 8 months," I saw you excite a Welsh Corgi puppy to show what not to do with a puppy. The thing is, my 3 month old puppy is like that from the second we start playing. He'll bark, growl, and bite hands and clothes non-stop. Even when I'm training him, he'll bark at me and try to bite my hands. Any idea what it might be and what I can do to correct that? I've tried redirecting him to a toy but he'll only play with the toy for so long before barking at me and trying to bite my hands. I've tried lifting him off the ground and giving him a firm no like you show in your video but as soon as I put him down, he resumes biting my hands. Taking him on a walk is fine but as soon as we get indoors, he tries to bite hands and clothes again. Any suggestions?




Mr. Frawley,

I am hoping you can help me sort out a situation that does not seem to fit any of the tens of posts, questions and answers, and/or articles on your site I've honestly tried to read before writing to you.  

7 weeks ago we bought a 7-week old AKC Doberman puppy.  Playing with him the very next morning I knew he was different.  He attacked every part of me that moved, hands, feet, flowing clothing, and he did NOT let go. You had to pry his mouth off of your hand or skin. I quickly studied everything I could find online about Dobermans.  Let's just put it this way, we have had many dogs over our lives, sometimes 2-3 at at time, including an 80% wolf, a German-Shepherd/Wolf Mix (lethal to other animals, always had to manage this one strictly), rat terriers (vicious with small animals, people underestimate them), collies (sweet but surprisingly hard-mouthed puppies), one other grown Doberman, a German Shorthaired Pointer, and several rescue dogs, and we have NEVER, EVER had any trouble teaching bite inhibition. Our impression was that this pup did not respond to the usual signals, such as "Ow!" or "No!", ignoring, dramatic noises or clapping in its face, walking away, putting in time out, etc., but instead was more excited by them.  No matter how long the time in between seeing you or getting attention, he was ready. He wanted to play endlessly, deeply, and in only one way, severely. We tried all kinds of corrections, anything but a squirt of water spray or a leash correction just got him more excited, or so it seemed.

By 8 weeks he had drawn blood on us despite our best distraction and correction efforts. Stupidly, we just kept trying to distract him with toys, put toys in his mouth, etc., but you could see him sometimes CHOOSE to drop that toy and go for your hands.  We had not found your site and did not know about a puppy prong collar or about keeping him leashed all the time.  A puppy temperament test for Dobermans ranked him with very high prey drive, all A's and one B, "an ideal watch dog in kind and gentle hands."  Well, over and over everybody would just say, "redirect and stay calm," and he will grow out of hitting your pants legs, above all, don't hurt him physically.  So endlessly we did this.  By his 9th week the neighbor's full-grown cattle-hardened Australian shepherd came over and Charlie wanted to play with her.  Well, by the third day he was drawing blood on her ears and when she would yelp to tell him he was hurting her he would appear to get more excited and go at her harder.  This mirrored our own experience as well - if you tried yelping or a shrill "Ow!" it only made him come back at you harder, I believe you call this a "driven" pup.  By the 10th week, the Australian shepherd RAN when she saw him.  We have a fence in between us, but that same dog used to come over for YEARS and HOURS of daily rough play (enough that she would yelp several times a day) from our 90-pound GSP and always came back for more.  Now she won't come near this pup. She runs the moment she sees him, even with the fence in between. He is dying, he wants to play with someone really badly.

So far I can't find a dog that will resocialize him by playing hard back.  The ones I've tried will play a few minutes and run, he's that rough.  I can control him with a water spray, but last night he wanted to "play" and I was 200 yards from my water spray, big mistake, he went for my inner thigh, arms, hands. I was dripping blood from four separate places on my arms within seconds. He's turning 14 weeks old and I'm concerned.  In all other ways he is good and well-behaved, but when he goes to play he attacks like the stereotypical pit bull or like a bulldog, with this intense bite and hold routine.  This is with constant corrections, but remember, the only corrections that work are a leash and a water squirt, and as last night proved, you can never, ever not have one or the other.  I am confused by everyone's contradictory information telling us we weren't hard enough on him, or were too hard, etc.  I see it as part his high prey-drive, part a serious problem with early pack socialization, and part my lack of experience with this type of temperament. 
I can certainly see how quickly this pup learned when I did not have the spray gun.  I am frankly a little confused - is this vicious behavior or is it the non-aggressive play behavior you describe in your "teaching puppies not to bite" podcast, or is it behavior seen in fight dogs, where it really isn't about anything we can always control except by the strongest of means.  One breeder told me he is teething and will grow out of it. In the UK people say no way, this will only get worse, and I am pretty confused.  Loud noises, clapping hands, shaking him by the cheeks, these things stop him momentarily, he will look at you and think, then come right back at you and he is FAST. My feeling is that this is a dog that will always have to be very very closely watched, controlled, and guarded.  Others disagree with me and tell me he is just disrespectful and that I  have not been "tough" enough with him.  Still others say you will do more damage if you do that.  I can tell you, it is a mistake not to stay calm, it pumps him up.  I feel I have been calm. 

Now if we were average handlers I would agree with everyone's natural assumption we screwed up from the beginning, but remember our past level of experience with very seriously mouthy and dominant-type dogs. When I read your correction article I realized we had been doing those things intrinsically for years, adjusting to the responses.  What this feels like is that when we tried to correctly manage the correction to his behavior we always felt like we hit a wall either way, and it didn't feel like you could connect.  He bites and hits MUCH HARDER than any other puppy we've ever had. Sometimes you would almost have to knock him out to make the point, yet, ding, spray a little water and he's gone. This makes me feel it COULD have been a moment of error, and if so, I would definitely accept that happily because it would mean an easier fix. But now we are no further along, we have a dog we cannot play with unless we have a squirt gun or a leash on him. I realize I may not be successful in making this point, but what it felt like to us was that this dog never listened or processed normal socialization signals about playing, because even when other dogs gave him those signals it was as if he did not recognize them, as if his psychological and pain threshold was much higher.  A better way to put it was that he can seem so focused on his own biting that he really doesn't seem that much focused on interaction.  Sometimes it seems like he isn't playing to bond, but as if the act of biting itself is the major satisfaction.

The breeder says she has never had a pup like this and doesn't know "why he would be acting that way" and denies it could possibly be a socialization issue.  She will take him back only for retraining with her plan being to "whack him on the nose until he gets it."  That does not sound like an appropriate plan.  I recognize his drive, and it's a beautiful drive, but it IS high and intense. Actually I really like the dog and feel some folks would pay thousands of dollars for a dog with this kind of drive.

In summary - you can direct him to another item, but he will ATTACK it, then drop it and hit you without a moment's notice.  He responds to a squirt from a water gun, but it hasn't transferred in four weeks, he knows when you have it and when you don't.  I feel this is a cue issue but I was wondering if you have ever seen a pup like this that didn't take normal negative feedback from day one based on experience with all the dogs you've worked with, litters, etc., or if this is just highly unlikely.  I am at a loss to know what to think or entirely where to start, he does crate and he sits and downs and heels and etc., he is not food aggressive or otherwise aggressive except during play and his temperament test showed very high drive. I have used an e-collar in the past (same model your wife does) but there are far more Doberman breeders saying NEVER to do this than there are saying it's okay.  So finally, my question is - have you applied your methods to Dobermans over the long term or do you know anyone who has long enough to tell me if I could use the negative reinforcement of an e-collar without long-term consequences?  Do you have any comments, critiques, or suggestions as we reach the 4-month point with Charlie? 





I have been reading your material online and it is very interesting. I have a question I about an 11 week old puppy I got 2 weeks ago.  It is a Chihuahua/Pomeranian  mix.  I was wondering how many times a day I should feed him and how much. Also at what age do I start obedience training him? He is actually doing well with the crate but a lot of people tell me that these dogs get snappy and I do not want him to bite so since he is so small do I let him play bite or not?  It would be greatly appreciated if I could get some input from you if you have the time and recommend any videos you think would be the best for a small dog. 

Thank You,



Mr. Frawley:

I just found your website and I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

We have a 16 week golden doodle puppy, who will likely get to be about 60-80 lbs, and we are wondering if we should invest in a dogtra 175 collar for him?  Here is why.

Recently the puppy has been showing his teeth to my 9 yr old daughter, 7 yr old son, and my wife (who is 5 months pregnant and really can't bend over to grab the puppy to correct him) when they take him out on a leash to go to the bathroom and when they play with him in the back yard.  Also, they said that he growls at them at times when he shows his teeth. It seems to me that he is trying to establish pack rank because that behavior is not that prevalent indoors.  Ironically, he does not really display that behavior to my 4 yr old daughter.  We have been grabbing him by the back of the neck and have shaken him pretty firmly.  But, he has not changed his behavior for the rest of my family.  I believe, however, that I have established myself as the pack leader because he does not bite at me and he seems to obey me much better than the others.

I just found your website and read some of your articles on puppy training and really appreciate your knowledge and insight.  My 9 yr old daughter tried some of your suggestions this morning concerning grabbing the dog by the cheeks and looking him in the eyes rather than a good shake.  And according to my family, the dog did not respond.  I must admit that I was not there to witness this.

Two other points.  My wife has never had a pet, but she has read some puppy training books.  I grew up having dogs and my family has raised several litters of shar pei in the past when I was younger, so I am pretty familiar with dogs.  Perhaps the puppy has responded to me a little better because I have more confidence?  Also, we have a prong collar that I have used to walk him a couple of times.  He walks right next to me with that collar on and I don't do anything to get him to do that.  (By the way, great tips on fitting a prong collar!) In other words, I don't pull on the leash while we walk and I don't give him any slack in the leash.

With all of that information, should we continue training him by telling him "no," grabbing his cheeks, and trying to distract him?  Or should we use the prong collar with the kids when they take him out?  Or should we invest in a dogtra 175 e-collar with the baby on the way?  We don't want to change his personality, but we want to make sure that these problems are nipped in the bud (forgive the pun).

Your quick response would be much appreciated!



Hi Ed,

I recently got a 7wk old Boston terrier/Pug mix who's now 8wks.   She's a beautiful puppy but she tends to growl when biting on my socks or pants, when i tell her to stop or try to take her off me she tugs even harder with the growling.  I've thought her to sit and and she listens to me most of the time.  Obviously she does not see me as the leader of the pack.  I plan on getting your DVDs on puppy 8wks to 8mths DVD as well as the establishing pack structure DVD.

Do you think this could be a dominance/aggressive issue later on?  How can i correct it? She does it more to me than my husband. I don't want to make mistake of not properly training her now.  Everyone says she'll grow out of it as she's just a pup but I think otherwise.



Its been about a week now I got bite by a six month old german shepard. It is my friends dog and it is not the first time its bitten me. It has bitten her mum the dog trainer. So I will tell you what happened, I went to another friends house, she has 3 german shepherds and my other friend had her dog there as well. I walked in the house and I was behind my friend. So as I walked into the room her dog didn't show any signs of biting.It just barked once then it had dived to me and bit me on the side. My friend pulled the dog off and it was still trying to bite me. After about half an hour, everything had calmed down and the dog went back to normal and he came and licked me. Do you no what triggered his behavior?
p.s I went to the doctors and had it packed and also had a painful tetanus.


How are you doing Leerburg and family,

First just wanted to say that I have bought a few of your DVDs to include puppy 8 weeks to 8 months, basic obedience, how to raise a working puppy, and a few more.

Well I think this is my impatience but if not I know you could answer the question.
I bought a 3 month old German shepherd from Dragon Czech German shepherds out of Arizona  and we have had him for about 5 months and the whole time we have had him he will not go around other people at all. He loves me to death and likes my wife and lets my daughter hug him and just chills when she is around  but if anyone comes over which happens a lot he runs to the back of his kennel and is scared to death of them and they don’t even look at the kennel. Also when I am walking him outside he is scared of people and runs the other way if they get close. What can I do to make him neutral to other people. I agree fully with not letting people pet or touch him and when the kids in the area come around and start yelling cause his is getting bigger I tell them to go away because they are scaring my dog.  Am I heading in the right path? Please let me gain some of your wisdom.


Mr. Frawley,

I have watched and used your DVD's on Basic Obedience Training, "Your Puppy, 8 weeks to 8 months", and the one about bringing a dog into the family pack. I've also perused the website, and haven't found an answer yet for how to correct part of our dog's behavior.

We have an 8 month old female German Shepherd. She's crate trained, and usually is fairly calm in her crate. The exception is when our children walk by. She barks and jumps around in her crate any time they walk within her view (or hearing, if we've covered the crate with a blanket.) We've tried keeping the kids away from her when she's not in the crate...we've tried working with her and the kids together...she still barks and throws a fit.

She's also fairly "mouthy" still. She nips at my husband and I, and at the kids. She seems to be a fairly "hard" puppy, since none of the corrections are doing much good. We've had her on a prong collar, but even corrections with that didn't seem to help with the nipping.

Can you offer any suggestions, or even point me in the right direction? I appreciate your help.

Thank you,


Dear Ed,

I am writing about my 7 month old female Golden Retriever puppy.  I live with my Mom and Dad who are both 80.  This is our 4th Golden.  Since she was 3 months old she has displayed dominance over myself and my Mom, which includes biting.  This mostly occurs when playing with her.  For instance when I throw the ball across the yard, she growls while running to get it, picks it up and comes charging back at me trying to bite me.  At nighttime while my Mom sits watching TV, out of nowhere she will approach her and try and bite her.  She often growls while playing with her toys, but at no time does she growl if I try to take the toy away.  This can be done easily.  I often get in her face while she is chewing bones or eating treats and she is fine.  I just watched your Dominant Dog DVD and I tried using the prong collar for corrections, but she just tries to bite the leash and jumps up to bite my hand, stomach, leg etc.   She is very intelligent and obeys all commands such as sit, come, stay.  She walks on the leash like a pro without pulling etc.  She is never aggressive toward people or dogs we come in contact with on walks or with other family members that come to visit.  She is very affectionate, giving kisses, licking your face too.  It is difficult for my Mom at her age to be able to give her corrections.  And I cannot be in the house 24/7.   She is not dominant with my Dad except on rare occasions.  We just had her spayed 2 days ago and I was hoping this would help, but I seem to remember you stating that dominance could become worse in females after that is done.  We utilize a crate, but only for her to sleep in at night.  I recently have been crating her when she starts to bite me, and leaving her in there for about 5 minutes.  Sometimes she comes out and continues to bite.  Is the crate the right thing to do?  She wears a leash around the house all day and night except when sleeping so I can make corrections, but it doesn't seem to be working.  We had a trainer come in for 4 sessions when she was 4 months old,  and he told us to keep the leash on, and make quick jerking corrections, which are not working.  I know she's a good dog, but this biting is driving us all crazy.  My parents would never dream of giving her up.  We just lost our other 2 Golden's within four months of each other due to cancer and they just cannot live without a dog.  I know she's a good loving dog but I need help in fixing this problem.  I just purchased your Dominant Dog Collar last week but have not received it yet. Is that the right equipment to use?  I would appreciate any assistance you could give me in this matter, or if you have a recommendation of a good dominance dog trainer in Northern NJ that we could bring in to assist us.

Alice B.


I have a 6 month old lab mix rescue named Abby.  She is very stubborn and strong willed. After purchasing your great videos about establishing pack order and basic obedience and working on dominance with her she has improved on most things and follows most commands, but one thing seems to be getting worse.  Out of nowhere she will jump and lunge for me and my husband while we sit on the couch.  If we are standing, she'll jump and lunge at us as well.  She shows her teeth and bites down hard, not like normal puppy mouthing.  Lately she even gives a bark or growl-like noise as she does it.  We tried correcting her with a choker on a long line however, her tail wags the whole time and our commands of "no bite" with a strong pull correction do nothing to stop her. We are now considering an electric collar, which I am not sure is the best solution.  Can you suggest any other techniques?  Is this a sign of a more serious aggression problem?  Like I said, I
 am a fan of yours and would love to hear your ideas.



We've bought several of your DVDs and searched through your website, but can't seem to find an answer to our question. We have an 11 week old rottweiler that comes from Police/protection working bloodlines. We got him to be a protection dog and our family dog (we realize we will have some sort of middle ground here). Our problem is trying to take him outside, especially to go to the bathroom. He doesn't want to come with us and pulls back on the leash. We have to go down stairs, then past grass area (not where we want him to pee/poop, but where he tries to get to, pulling on his leash) and another 25 yards to the poop/pee area.  Often, food will not entice him, especially after eating, (which we know is when he's supposed to go outside). When we try to pick him up to carry him to the bathroom spot, sometimes he will growl and try to nip at us. Should we just drag him by the leash & collar? Do we need a prong collar? Does he need more time to "get it"? (we've had him for about 3 weeks).

Thanks very much for any help you can be.



We have a 3 1/2 month old rat terrier mix.  While it seems we have broken her of her "mouthing" biting she is aggressively biting more frequently.  When she has been aggressive with me (growling, etc) I have taken her by the scruff and told her "No" or "Settle down" in a very stern voice.  We have 4 kids ages 4-11 and she has bitten each of them several times and in an aggressive way at least once.  Sometimes they have "deserved it" because they were bothering her at inappropriate times but just now she bit my 4 year old while he was petting her.  He was gentle as I witnessed the whole thing.  I got a hold of her to tell her no and she bit my finger enough to draw blood.  This is the first time she has lashed out at me.  Earlier tonight she was calm on my lap and when my 6 year old daughter petted her she bit her also.  When she has gone to the vet he has commented how sweet and social she is.  She goes to the bus stop and has not bitten the other kids around her.  I keep her on a pretty short leash while we are there. She is on a 3 foot lead all the time.  From what I have read,  it looks like we may need to bring this do back to the shelter we got her from.  What do you think?  Would obedience classes really help this dog?   I appreciate any thoughts and advice you may have. 
Thank you,



First let me say thanks for all the work you have put out  there - I have bought five DVDs and other stuff, and am still getting  through them, they are great so far.

Now to my problem: I have a 15 week old GSD female. I have been reading on your site and now listening to your dvds. I have had a biting problem from her for weeks now. I am doing all the stuff you said to be the pack leader: I control her food, toys, she is always on  a leash, and I go through doors first. this dog has had some major correction from me for biting and she is not only ok, but still biting. when she bites and I leave her alone it does nothing. when she bites and I tell her no or hold her nose she barks and growls at me and tries to fight me back. once I get her to settle down by holding her cheeks or scruff, the second I let go she will lunge at me. I have picked her up many times by the scruff and put her back in her house. Sometimes she seems to be getting better and trying not to bite, and I always give her other things to bite on. That is not the problem, 
since I know that puppies are mouthy and nippy. The problem is her response to me when I tell her no. and today was the first time she growled at me when I gave her food and then sat there for a minute 
petting her. Now I am at a loss.

I spend lots of time with her even though I am slowly adjusting her to be an outdoor dog. I take her for walks and play with her and spend time training her. I know in your DVD you said not to give her too much exercise now, but before I would sit on a bike and let her run a bit, now I just sit on the bike and let her go at her own pace - and this is for no more than 15 minutes, but I do it to make sure she is exercised and not behaving like this out of boredom. she does not do fetch, so throwing things does not give her exercise, and if I play with her for a while outside she becomes horrible and hyper and keeps lunging at my legs, and it really hurts. I have a five year old who she is always biting her clothes. I do not allow them together alone and the dog is always leashed although I put the leash on a line and give her room to move around outside. she comes in the kitchen a couple times a day, on a leash, and I can get her to settle and chew on her toys as long as the rest of the family are not around. if they are around then she gets out of control again. over all she is a good  dog, and she is learning most of what I am teaching her. But she is way too aggressive in play. Oh ya, now when she starts to get in her biting mood, I can tell her sit and she will although she keeps barking this high pitched bark at me. Sometimes when she is in the kitchen I use a spray bottle of water to correct her, and it works except that she growls and barks and tries to attack the bottle until I put it away.

Anyhow, my question is: i live in IL and if Ii could drive up to your kennel could I do a consultation with you? I would like you to see the dog and assess her. I wanted a dog to become a guard dog since me and 
my child are home alone a lot while my husband is out on the truck. I wanted a dog that would protect her and her friends if need be while outside playing. Now I am not sure that I can let this dog free around kids after reading through stuff on your website. I would also like you to observe how I interact with her and tell me what I am doing wrong. I don't think I am being a pushover with her, but I am worried that maybe I have been too tough with her - could that make her aggressive? And why is she still acting dominant when I have clearly laid down all the boundaries you mentioned.

I do still have to watch the rest of the videos, it is a slow process right now, so I will continue doing so. But meanwhile I really would like to know if you will do a consultation, how affordable your fee would be and when would be a good time.

Thanks. And I hope I do not end up in your dumb and dumber section:)


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