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Categories: Puppy Biting/Chewing

Q. How should I react to my 5 month old puppy who bites and growls at me when I correct him with a verbal "nope"?
Not sure If I should call it defiance, but my 5 month old malinois puppy has gotten defiant and bit and growled at me when I tried to correct him with a verbal "nope" command when I went to pick up a bag of trash. Typically the "nope" command works well. He started to drag a bag of trash that was sitting inside the fence that I was about to take out. I think he may have just gotten amped up into thinking it was a game of play because it seemed like he thought it was more of a fun game like tug judging by his general demeanor. He was really excited. His bites were hard and I want to figure out how to address it in the future so it doesn't become a problem since he's only 5 months old. He is a very well behaved puppy with the exception of this, which has happened a few times now. He does great with his obedience and typically has good play manners when I initiate play sessions. I could be overreacting, but I want to make sure I react in the right way so I don't enable this behavior.

A. Did you have him on a leash or long line at the time of this incident?


No, just outside running around in the backyard. He isn’t usually out with me when I take care of the trash but I had one bag that wouldn’t fit in the bin. He started showing interest in playing with the bag so I attempted to correct him to leave it alone and then just take it out. Should I have just put him up immediately before trying to take it out and not even let the behavior happen? He’s never unattended unless he’s in his crate. I don’t allow him to be alone in yard. We are typically playing if we’re out in the yard or doing little mini obedience sessions.

  Follow-Up Response:

Yes, it's more of a management issue at this point in his development. If you have him out running around with you I'd suggest always have a leash or long line on him so you can quickly interrupt or block the biting behavior. The less he's allowed to practice the excited biting behavior the better. (I've bred Malinois for over 20 years so I know how quickly they can overstimulate)

Try to see situations that could escalate and put him away or leash him up so he's not rehearsing the behaviors you don't want. You may want to revisit the Michael Ellis Puppy video for a refresher. It may get worse before it gets better, typically around 7 months most of my puppies really start thinking they are hot stuff so if he's used to being leashed all the time now it will make your job easier as he starts to push the boundaries
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