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Categories: Puppy Training

Q. When my 10 week old pup is playing with other dogs she gets really wound up and we have to hold her down or grab her by the scruff to make her listen. She screams and tries to bite when we do this and it can take a long time before she settles down. How do I calm her down so she doesn't feel like she needs to bite? She doesn't bite in any other situation & I don't like scaring her.

I have a 10 week old female lab (born Aug 26th). When she is playing hard with other dogs and I need her to calm down and listen I try to stop her by holding her back, or grabbing the scruff of her neck. Sometimes she will stop other times when she is really wound and I stop her by getting a hold of the scruff of her neck and pick her up by the scruff of her neck she will twist around and snap at me or my husband. We pick her up and hold her in that position close to our bodies until she stops screaming and squirming. Sometimes it takes me 10 min to get her to stop, my husband is able to make her stop much sooner and she submits and then lays down. I have to literally almost be over top of her to hold her down and I try to stay calm and tell her no. But I am afraid that dong that will just ignite the fight or flight feeling and she can?t "flight" when I hold her like that so she seems to fight. She never bites or growls in everyday activities, and very rarely gets our hands when we are playing with toys. So don?t think she is aggressive but maybe trying to test her dominance with me? How do I get a hold of her to calm her down when play time needs to be over without having to pin her down and scaring her to feel like she needs to bite?

A. I would suggest changing your approach. Holding a dog or puppy down is only good for damaging the relationship between you & your dog. Management, supervision and interrupting her before she escalates to an overexcited state is the key.

Please don't do this to her anymore. I would recommend using a leash & exercise pen and crate, so you don't have to put your hands on her in a negative way.

We have a lot of reading material on leadership for puppies & how to deal with biting, etc...

I'd also highly recommend the videos Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Establishing Pack Structure with your Puppy.

You may want to check out our search function, which is located in the upper right corner of every page of the website. typing in your key words will bring up a lot of articles, videos and Q&As that will help you too.

Cindy Rhodes


Thank you for such a quick response. :)

I spent a lot of time reading page after page on your website. We got her at 6 ½ weeks which is very young, so I knew that we had to be careful about how we train. I tried a lot of new techniques last night, such as being calm, assertive, and projecting positive energy. We did some training last night with treats, and making her sit before we did anything and she did well. I am looking forward to going home and spending more time with her. I also bought a shorter leash and used that for when I took her out to go potty. I initiated the play time start and end, and tug-of-war start and end. When she started getting out of control I put her in her crate for about 45 – 60 min and when I went to get her she listened pretty well. I really didn’t like having to hold her down like that I knew there had to be a better way because the last thing I want is for her to be scared of me. I only did it a few times and each time made me more upset. Thank you for confirming my feelings and helping me find better ways to train my pup, Jasmine.

I really, really, really love your website and will be referring friends and family to it.

Thank you very much!!
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