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Categories: Puppy Training

Q. I’m confused about allowing my puppy to have toys in her ex pen. She’s a 9 week old GSD. She also bites me when I try to play tug with her and my arms are all bandaged up. How can I stop her from biting me without damaging her drive?
Hi Cindy,

I?m a bit confused about the rules on puppies with toys. Ed says in several of his videos that the toys are his, and that he doesn?t allow the pups to keep them. Yet in the ex pen video there are toys in the pens that he says he rotates every 2 days. Can I get some clarification on this? My high prey drive GS pup is really getting bored. She?s 9 weeks old.

I am on steroid inhalers for asthma and the skin on my arms is very thin. Due to my pup being so mouthy my arms are bandaged up (I look like a battered wife lol). When I?m playing tug and I take the tug away, she focuses on my bandages, hence more wounds. I?ve watched the tug video and I?m trying to keep her focused on the tug and keeping it moving. But this happens even when we are not at play, if I bend over during walks or any time she gets close to my arms. I made a horrible mistake and reacted to the pain and swatted her yesterday. I try to distract her with toys when she connects to my arm and keep my arm completely still. I?ve tried screaming and it just makes her more excited. I?ve held her up in front of me and told her to calm down and waited until she looked away before putting her down, only to have go right back to my arm. What I?m getting at is when I have a pup with such a strong drive, is it safe to be harsh enough to make her stop, but not destroy her drive?

Thank you so much for sharing all your training information.

A. We don't let puppies have access to our training toys when they are running around (i.e interactive toys we'll later use for training rewards).

Letting pups have items in their exercise pen for entertainment is something that you can allow unless your pup is super possessive and it creates problems for you.

I would be focusing more on engagement with food with a puppy so young, The Power of Training Dogs with Food DVD.

I don't do the type of tug work shown in the tug video until they are a bit older and I have excellent engagement for food. This way you have installed more rules for behavior and you aren’t making problems for yourself with getting the toy back and creating possession issues.

After the marker video, this is the next step for training pups.

If you want to teach some biting skills to pre-teething puppies, I would recommend Foundation of Puppy Bite Work DVD.

Have a harness and leash on the pup so you can control her without making her wrong.

I would read our biting puppies article.

I'd also recommend setting yourself up for success and wearing long sleeves so the pup isn’t rehearsing the behaviors you don't want.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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