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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Puppy Biting & Chewing Q&A

Puppy Biting & Chewing Q&A

Puppy Biting & Chewing Q&A

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Pup chewing pant leg

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.

Pup chewing sandle

  1. My 7 month old pup chews when he sleeps in the kitchen at night and when he is loose in the back yard. What can I do?

  2. Our 9 week old GSD constantly bites and chews on our hands and feet... whatever is available. How do I correct him for doing this?

  3. My 10 week old Border Collie bites constantly. What can I do?

  4. My 7 week old female Boxer puppy has aggressive tendencies. She will growl and bite to the point of drawing blood. I am afraid we got the dominant female of the litter. What can we do?

  5. Read a list of additional emails on puppies that bite

  6. My new pup is afraid of my husband, how can we fix this? And I have a question on house training with pee pads during the day, sense I cannot be there to let her out.

  7. At what age can I use a dominant dog collar on my pup? He is biting a lot and sometimes seems vicious.

  8. I have a pup 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? What we have been doing is not working. What are your ideas on improving the situation? 

  9. I have a pup that likes to bite at me when I try to correct her or even when I'm trying to groom her. What do you suggest I do?

  10. We are having problems with out puppy biting things. He usually stops when we tell him but goes right back to it very shortly. We also are having problems walking him - he doesn't like to leave our apartment. Any suggestions?

  11. I have a 7 month old miniature english bulldog who needs to constantly chew something.  I have tried several items and am wondering what else I could try?

  12. 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. What do you think?

  13. I have a 5-month-old shepherd who is so persistent in chewing on me! What would you recommend at this stage in training?

  14. My pup has a serious temper when she is playing. What should I do?

  15. My 14 week old puppy has a biting problem. I’m trying to figure out if this is aggression or prey drive.  Do you have any suggestions?

  16. Is there a collar and leash you can recommend that my puppy won’t chew off?

  17. My 13 week old puppy is a dominant/aggressive dog.  We are going to get him neutered next week, will that help?  Also, when can I start using the dominant dog collar on him for corrections?

  18. My 6 month old bites me when I put on his leash, what can I do?

  19. My 18 week puppy loves to chew shoes and especially boots. I have some ideas, but I don't know if I would be setting him up for failure? I would love to know your thoughts.


We have a 6 month old black lab that weighs 75 pounds. He has a habit of snapping. He has always been somewhat nervous for a lab but he seems to have adjusted well to us. We do have 7 and 9 year old sons. The dog seems to be playing but it is very difficult for me to tell. The hair on the back of his neck does not stand up as far as I can see. How can I break him of this habit? And/or, how can I determine if I need to get rid of him for another dog? When should he grow out of this habit? Thank you very much.


Without seeing the dog, the first thing I would need to determine was if the dog was snapping or just being mouthy. Some pups are naturally mouthy. They like to grab pant legs or arms or whatever. When they do this it is all in sport and they don't bite down and are not trying to do it as a warning or to cause damage. This mouthiness goes away naturally at about 5 to 6 months of age.

When you say snappy, I assume this is a quick fast snap that is intended as a warning to mean "leave me alone." If this is indeed the case and this dog is doing this at 6 months you have the makings for a serious problem, especially with small children (and their friends).

You need to analyze when a dog is snapping to determine what is going on. Again, without seeing the dog I can only guess, but this could either be caused by a weak temperament which will eventually lead to the dog being a fear biter, or it could be the beginning of a dominance problem. If the dog is protective of his toys and food bowl and snaps when people come near these items, then it is a dominance problem. He is trying to establish pack order and is challenging for rank in the pack. When this happens the dog needs to be strongly corrected.

If this lab is already 75 pound at 6 month you feed him to much. In addition to being unhealthy, he is also already too big for a 7 year old or 9 year old to correct. This means the adults in the house have to do it.

Make the dog wear a short 18 inch leash. When he snaps give him a level 10 correction. He needs to think his life is coming to an end. He needs to learn that every time he snaps he is in mortal danger. The fact is that if you can not correct this behavior with 2 or 3 really strong corrections (ones where he is screaming for his life) you need to give some thought to getting rid of this dog because it is only a matter of time before one of your children is bitten.

In fairness to the dog, your opinion of a level 10 correction and my opinion of a level 10 correction may be 2 different things. Your idea may only be a level 4 to me. I recommend that you get my video Basic Dog Obedience to learn how to train your dog. It shows how to determine levels of correction based on the temperament of the individual dog.

I breed German Shepherds with the goal of producing dogs with good temperament but also dogs that bite people in protection work. I can tell you that this behavior is not acceptable in a pup with good temperament. This behavior is something that needs to be changed and changed quickly. I always say that people need to error on the side of the child and not on the side of the dog.

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I recently read your article 'Bite Training Puppies,' which I found to be refreshing for lack of a better word. I currently have a 4 month old pup who has been mouthy every since I've had him. Sam growls at anybody he doesn't know, but he is fine with the immediate family, he also had a habit of snapping at the heels of strangers. Last month I took my dog to see the vet and my pup started growling at the vet. The vet told me my dog had a socialization problem, and I need to get him socialized as soon as possible, she said he may be a fear biter and if my pup doesn't grow out of it I may need to consider having him put down. What if any are your comments on this?


I suggest you get a couple of tapes that will teach you a lot:

You also need to get a dog crate and crate train your dog. Then when there are times of stress for the dog that you are aware of ahead of time - it goes in the dog crate. She should be in a crate at this time. The same goes when you leave the house.

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Right now we have very big problems to make our puppy quiet, his whining and barking (he has a very loud and sharp voice.) Every time something is against his wish. What should we do to make him quiet?(especially because we live in a block flat with neighbors that want silence!)

Another question is about how to make him stop biting our hands, trousers, the leash, etc. (especially our hands)! And the last question I have is about the fact that he already drags in the leash (he is like 30-35 pounds, he is 4 months and he has a lot of power), and I have back problems and it is very hard to control him, how shall we make him not to drag in the leash?

I am very sorry if I bother you too much, but I trust you extremely much (we have borrowed several books and we tried what they were saying in the books but the result was not the one we expected, and therefore, I think that you know best.)

Thank You,


The best way to control barking is with a No Bark Collar. This may not be legal in your country but it is a great thing. Without that you are going to have to do a lot of work.

Put a prong collar with a very short leash attached to the dog while he is loose in the house. When the dog bites you give him a very sharp very hard correction and then immediately follow this by tossing a ball or a toy that he can play with. If he will not play then given him a very calm stroke on his back and tell he that he is a good boy (he is not biting at the time you give this stroke.)

In the beginning if he fights with you, then you must put a longer leash on him and give a stronger correction next time. Many people do not have the heart for the strong correction this is why their dogs are spoiled and they have such problems with the rank drive of the dogs. Just as important as the correction is the calm praise just after the dog gets the correction. You must show him that you still love him but he must mind you.

You should get the videos titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Basic Dog Obedience. You must learn basic training skills if you want to have success with this dog.

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Hi I have a question regarding my 3 month old German Shepherd. I read some of your answers about a dog being 'mouthy' vs. being truly aggressive. My dog is mouthy and bites our pant legs and socks etc. However when we tell her 'no' a couple times she then barks at us, and when my husband tells her 'no' she barks at him and sometimes growls when he tries to correct her. Are we not correcting her enough or do you think this may be a temperament problem?


Your dog identifies your pant legs and socks as PREY ITEMS. Read my web site articles on this subject. Get a puppy prong collar and leave a short line on it. Also put a lot of toys around for the pup to play with. When she bites you say NO! If she growls then correct her with a calm firm voice NO YOU WILL NOT DO THAT! Do not sound mad, sound calm and firm. Many men have big problems with this (its testosterone problem I think). As soon as you correct the puppy you immediately kick a toy away or get a toy to stimulate the biting into something that you want it to play with. This will change the pups attitude toward you and it will stop this behavior.

You should get my video titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. It has 2 hours of good information and is not a lot of money.

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I teach a puppy kindergarten class. I have a question from one of my students about their dog that I cannot answer, and I am looking for some advice. They have a 12 wk old golden retriever that is showing some dominance. Today it bit the owner in the back of the leg and broke the skin. They were in the front of the house playing, and decided to go to the back yard and play. She started walking and the puppy went after her and bit her in the leg. Also, the puppy seems to play at home very fiercely. When he is playing with a toy, he grabs it and shakes it violently, and growls while he is doing this, and it isn’t a play growl either. In class the dog does fine. He is very good with others and seems to listen. Although the owners did say that he listens more to the husband than the wife. They are expecting a baby in a few months and are extremely worried. Do you have any suggestions?

Also, when they went to the breeders, they did see the father, he was out in the yard playing. But the breeder wouldn't take the mother out of the kennel to show them, so they only saw her and didn't get to meet her.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you can help.


This may be dominance, but is more likely strong prey drive.

Get a prong collar on the dog right now, and start them working the dog on the prong, this will establish leadership.

If the dog had environmental problems (afraid of stranger sounds, slippery floors) this would be an indication of a real problem. It does not sound like this so it’s just strong prey drive. It actually sounds like a good dog.

Once the dog has had obedience (if they are up to it) it should be fine. Tell them to leave a ton of toys around for him to play with. Practice taking them away, trade for a treat or another toy so he learns he does not have to fight for his toy. He will get something else that’s as good if he gives it up. They do not have to take the toys away a lot, only 2 or 3 times a play session.

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Our puppy is very, very mouthy. It grabs my kids, my arms, my pants. What should I do to stop this?


Many puppies younger than 4 or 5 months are very mouthy. They bite pant legs, arms, rags, kids, etc. Puppies do this to establish pack structure in their new family pack (your family) or they do it because something has triggered their "prey drive"

They are not doing this because they are mean and in the vast vast majority of pups this has nothing to do with human-dog aggression.The fact is that 99.9% of these puppies are probably have a pretty sound temperament.

When a pup grows up in a littler it instinctually establishes its rank within the litter (or pack) by biting littermates. I have graphic video of this on my DVD "Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog" The web page for this DVD has a 22 minute streaming video that demonstrates this. Go watch it.

When a pup bites in "prey drive" it is instinctually biting something that moves. If you would like to read more about "prey drive" go to the articles I have written on my web site on the Drives of Protection Training. Even if you have no interest in protection training you will learn what "prey drive" is from this article.

This mouthiness often goes away on its own when most dogs are 4 to 5 months old. But if you have a little 10 week old alligator that can seem like an eternity. Puppies can be taught not to bite the handler or family members by simply screaming "NO, or PHOOIE."

Some pups need to be picked up by their cheeks and firmly scolding. You do this while staring directly into the pups eyes until they submit (this can take some seconds). I demonstrate how to do this in my DVD YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS to 8 MONTHS .

Dogs are instinctual pack animals. If you read the article I wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING you will understand why pups do this.

By using your head and a very limited amount of force or pressure you become the unquestionable pack leader. This helps control any later dominance problems with the dog.

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I read your article on "Dealing with the Dominant Dog" about a year ago. At the time, I thought that perhaps you were a little heavy handed. I have since eaten my words...more than once. I had asked my mother to search the net for articles concerning GSDs. That was the one article that she decided that I needed. (Indicating her feelings about the breed, apparently). At the time, I filed the article in my "K-9" file after reading it. It did not apply to the(AKC) female GSD I had at the time. I had rescued her from a neighbor who had neglected and abused her (apparently) for two years. She was a phenomenal dog in every respect except one. She simply could not cope within a multi-dog household and attempted to kill one of our smaller dogs. After 8 months of trying, I reluctantly gave the dog to the breeder she had originally come from. I had an opportunity to have one of her pups, and now own a beautiful little male (I'd have taken a female, but they were all spoken for). He is bright and I suspect he will be a terrific dog with the proper handling. He is currently 3 months old.

However, the other evening, we had one of those scenes that can make or break a relationship between an owner and a dog. He had raided an older dog's food dish when she'd gone to get a drink of water. I told him "out" and he obediently dropped the mouthful of food and scurried into his kennel. I turned my back and he slipped behind a piece of furniture to try again. I grasped him by the scruff. He began to "cry," which he does at the first sign of any correction, usually ending in an assertive bark, if he thinks he's won. I reached for his muzzle to push his head to the floor. He bit me. I yelled "NO!" stuffed him into his kennel, and went off to clean up the bite. My husband retrieved him shortly after that, showed him his crime(my blood soaked finger) and scolded him as well.

Ed, I've been bitten before by larger, older dogs (worked in a vet's office...) but this little pill drove his teeth into my forefinger and left a bite that that required a tetanus shot and antibiotics (skipped the stitches because I play guitar). While I'm not inexperienced with dogs and have a little know-how, I am a little rattled. He was not reacting aggressively, as I know aggression, but was probably panicked.

However, I am now a little confused as to how to deal with him. In our short (5 minute) training sessions in the last couple of days, he has snapped at me once in response to my grasping his collar (accidentally pulled hair) and I have had to take a tougher, but less physical approach (training collar) and he does seem to be responding to this. I don't want a "beaten" dog, but I have four children and other (not accidentally well-behaved) dogs. I have a Border Collie that I track with. I have a passion for the four-footed, but I don't want to be stupid. I would appreciate any and all suggestions on disciplining GSDs. He seems to be calm and bold by nature. I like this and I'd like to see that continue. I dislike admitting to this, but I am nervous around him now. I don't want that to continue. I very badly want this to work.


These problems are 100% handler problems and not dog problems. You (not the dog) have created a bad situation.

To begin with you should not have fed 2 dogs at the same time. The dogs should be fed separately and alone. So you created this problem with the pup sneaking over to the food. What do you expect? The pup would not have gone there if he wasn't hungry, and how fair is it to put pressure on a 3 month old pup for going to food (this makes no sense.)

You got bit because you put the pup in "fight or flight." Three month old pups do not bite through aggression, they bite when they are in "fight or flight." You put him there, you got bit and you are blaming the dog - this makes no sense. I won't even attempt to explain how to stop this because it never should have happened because the food should not have been out there.

Your husband going over and pulling this dog out of the crate to show him what he did was also not the smartest thing to do. It accomplished nothing - NOT ONE THING - other than to panic the dog. Pups do not and can not understand a correction several minutes after doing something wrong. Any book on dog training is going to tell you this. He reacted as a result of his temper and nothing else. It only accomplished scaring the crap out of the pup.

As far as his snapping when you grab his collar - this goes right back to the "fight or flight" from before, he has learned that he is in deep trouble when you grab him like this - he does the only thing he knows has worked in the past (snap at you.)

If you want to make this work you are going to have to learn something about dogs. It does not seem that your time at the vet has taught you enough about raising puppies. If you want to learn, get my video Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and Basic Dog Obedience. If you are not willing to make the effort my suggestion would be to find a home for the dog where someone knows how to work with pups.

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Dear Ed,

We have a 10 wk GSD that has so far shown no signs of dominance. My question: is it OK for her to chase my two kids ages 7 and 9 around the backyard? She is mouthy so the kids try to stay just out of her reach. Everyone is having a great time with this but my husband thought it might not be a good idea. I was thinking it was fine but that maybe we should correct her if she puts her teeth on them. Or should we just let her outgrow her mouthiness? I have your video Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and just ordered Basic Dog Obedience.

Thanks for your time.


I think you make a test and see if she bites down hard. I think its OK for her to play with the kids at this age - maybe what they should do is take an old towel rolled up in a tube (or a puppy tug like we sell) and run with it, then the puppy can focus on biting that when it catches them - rather than biting the kids.

This starts by teaching the pup that it's fun to play tug of war with the towel or tug - (put it on a short string or rope, a dog leash works fine) make it bounce around until the dog grabs it. Like in the puppy video. Good Luck and thanks for your business.

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I have a question for you. When I am working with Tasha I have to correct her, because she will try and bite my hands, or even try to jump on me. When she gets her fingers pinched she gets madder and really bites at my hands. This especially happens if I have to correct her after inappropriate behavior towards other dogs. I know this is training oriented, but I have never encountered this before, this is a recent behavior, and I am not sure how to approach dealing with it. I need your advice. I know I am missing something and am tired of getting my hands nipped at.

Your advice is appreciated.


Read the article I have written titled How To Raise a Hard Puppy.

Get a pinch collar on the dog and use it when it does these things, use it really hard so that it fears this correction. The dog bites your hands because you have been doing what I call, half-assed corrections. If you had been pinching hard enough she would not still be jumping up. I can stop any dog from jumping in one or two days (max) but I really pinch hard - followed by a lot of praise right after the pinch and then when I call them and they come to me and don't jump I praise a lot. They learn that they get praise and attention when they don't jump.

I also think there is someplace in my writing or video where I say, "pinch between the toes." This is wrong - the pinch needs to be on the bones in the feet. On an older pup - wear gloves so you do not feel the bite. Biting the hands is the secondary problem caused by poor corrections. Fix the first problem and the second goes away.

The same goes for encountering other dogs. You need a prong collar and give a stiff correction. If the dog turns and jumps on you the correction needs to be twice as hard. When you do this, it may cause the dog to act hectic for a second and come harder. This means additional hard Pop-corrections. This is also followed by praise for being quiet and praise for when you see another dog and say "NO" and the dog listens to you.

When you stop and think about it, your corrections have not been hard enough if the dog continues to act aggressive when it sees other dogs. If they had been she would not still be doing it because when it's done properly the dog will respect the command and fear the results of not minding more than the desire to go after the other dogs.

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I received and viewed your "puppy" video. Thanks, it helped, although I already knew most of it from having a Doberman and GS years ago, though the refresher was appreciated. However, I now have an 11-week old Rottie. He is friendly, outgoing, and learns quickly. However, when we walk by, he will "latch on" to our pant legs or legs if we have shorts on, the jeans will rip as he will not let go until the command of "no bite" is given. We want to stop the original bite. We hadn't planned to do anymore than obedience training with him. I don't believe the biting of legs will be used for personal protection training though you never know. Any suggestions?


What you are seeing is prey drive, if you squelch this too much it will have a negative effect on training. To train with motivation you need prey drive and/or food drive - 65% of adult dogs do not have enough food drive to train with.

This prey grabbing will go away in the mean time you need to re-divert it to something else - a ball on a string. So when he bites the pant legs, you correct the dog (say NO! and correct) but then go directly to a ball on a string with him. If you correct too hard (beyond his temperament) he will not play after the correction. Next time do not do it so hard.

Then when the dog is older you can teach it obedience with a toy as a reward. You can read more about this process in my other articles.

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Thank you for your very candid answers to people's questions. It is refreshing to see someone with a concern for the safety of both the dog and the people in the dog's life. It is not often that I hear the honest answer of "put the dog to sleep."

After reading some of the serious concerns of your writers, mine may seem a bit trivial. In November, my husband and I adopted a two year old , 130lb female English Mastiff from the Rescue League. In the previous home the dog was raised with children and had absolutely no problems. The dog was put up for adoption only because the owner was diagnosed with terminal cancer and, due to treatments, could no longer give the dog the attention it needed.

I have two concerns.

A month ago our neighbor was walking his Yorkie Terrier. Gracie, our dog, saw the dog and ran to it, actually breaking her collar, and began sniffing at the dog. She then began to put her head down and literally toss the dog into the air as she raised her head up. At one point she even pounced on the dog. I firmly told her to stop and she listened and allowed the man to walk away with the dog. The dog was unhurt.

Later in the month we took her over to my in-laws to meet their yellow lab. The yellow lab is extremely friendly and not very bright. I was leaning over petting our dog when the lab came bounding out of the home (I now know what a stupid mistake it was to let the intro. go that way). Gracie saw the dog coming and immediately pounced on her and pinned her to the ground. She placed her jaws around the other dogs back and held her down but did not bite. I pulled her away (now that I read your article on dog fights I know that was also a mistake). I told her to sit and then I began to pet my in laws dog while telling Gracie that it was "Ok." From that point on Gracie and the dog were fine and we took them for a walk together.

Also, our daughter is learning how to walk. Recently, Gracie was sleeping on the floor and our daughter basically jumped on her belly. Gracie lifted her head and let out a bark and went back to sleep. I realize that this does not sound like much, but it doesn't need to when it comes to the safety of my daughter. I called the Rescue League contact and explained the situation to her. She told us that we needed to respect the dogs boundaries. I know she is correct. We were allowing our daughter free reign with the dog. Because she is so large, a couch potatoes, and very people friendly, we we're assuming that our little girl could not harm her. We are now very careful to not allow our daughter to be a nuisance to her.

However, I wanted an opinion from someone who seems a little more objective. I got the feeling that the rescue league would rally around the dog no matter what the circumstance. I have grown attached to the dog but wouldn't hesitate to return it if there is a need. Do you think we have reason for more than the normal concern for the dog/child relationship?

If not, what should we do about her and other dogs. We walk her with a prong collar but she still gets excited when she sees them. She listens to my sit command and I am able to control her but only because she lets me. She outweighs me by twenty pounds.

Should we take her to obedience classes so she can be around other dogs? Now that she walks well with my in-laws dog should we continue that?

Again, thank you for your availability. It is appreciated.



It sounds like you have a very nice dog.

You need to control your daughter more than your dog. Children need to learn respect, just as dogs do. There is no excuse for a child to jump on a dog like that. In my opinion the child gets told NO just like a puppy gets told NO. If she does it again she gets a swat. There are limits to the torment that a dog should be expected to take from kids.

If the prong collar does not work on the walks (with other dogs) get an electric collar - the Tri Tronics Companion works just fine. (You can find it in the list of training equipment on my web site.)

You do need to train this dog in obedience. The goal of the training is to establish better control - not to make a dog get along with other dogs. Obedience also establishes pack leadership.

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

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I know you are extremely busy, but you are the acknowledged dog expert from so many different circles, and I am running out of ideas on what to do with my dog, so forgive me for taking your time... I adopted a rott/shep mix when he was 6 mo old, and have had him for a year and a half. As you have probably already guessed, he is a fear biter. We have been to several different trainers, and he is somewhat more comfortable around children after our follow up trips to the park, but he is still snappy/growly to adults both in my home and outside. There is a field across the street where I let him off to run, and 90% of the time things are fine -- he comes when I call, and his on-leash obedience is acceptable, but sometimes there are other people there, and he will run up to them, growl and circle them. I don’t want to take away his exercise, but I don’t want him to bite anyone either... I noticed that you tell people fear biters can only be handled with strict obedience, and I also noticed that you sell electric collars on your site. Do you think it is a bad idea to resort to an electric collar so he can run, but if he gets too close to a stranger I can correct him from afar? Will that just teach him to associate strangers with negative punishment?

Also, I have a younger 8 mo. GSD (actually a puppy from one of your bitches, Fritzi) who is sound, but someone told me he will learn those bad habits from my older dog, is that true?

Also, for off-leash obedience, what do you think of using the electric collars for both dogs?



If I were you I would not allow the dog off leash without an electric collar. The mistake in what you are thinking is that the dog should not be corrected for coming near a stranger but rather for not coming when called.

If you get a collar you need to be sure that you understand obedience training and the correct steps for obedience training first (not all obedience classes teach this). You also need to understand how to train with a collar. We have videos on this.

The fact is that you have a liability and unless you take steps to have 100% control all the time, the dog should not be off leash.

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I have a 7 month old male GSD and I have a problem with him chewing on things. If anything is left outside or in the kitchen, were he sleeps he will chew it up. I have completed your basic obedience video and we are continuing to train him. But I don't know how to stop him from chewing things up. I have been giving him corrections when I catch him in the act, but those times are few and far between. Can I correct him for chewing if its the next day when I find something chewed up.

I also was interested in training him in search and rescue work, but didn't
find a video on your sight for beginners.

Thank you for any help you can lend.



You can try Bitter apple - but the fact is I would make a dog sleep in a dog crate and stay in a chain link kennel when its outside. You add stress to your life and your dogs life by trying to fix a problem that you create by leaving a young dog loose when it should be confined.

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Additional Emails About Puppies That Bite/Chew

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 web site., 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 Cesar Milan 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.


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QUESTION on Puppy Chewing:

I am a first time dog owner, and I was directed to your site by the breeder I purchased my now 9 week old german shepherd puppy from. I just ordered your 8 week to 8 month video for my puppy, in the meantime I have questions I need answers to. I want to know how soon does a dog start showing dominant behavior? My puppy (Rex) constantly bites and chews our feet, toes, legs and whatever he can get his teeth into, I know this is normal for a puppy by reading diff rent articles on your web site., and I have given him toys to chew on and everything, but he just prefers me or my husband. I want to know what is the correction we should use for this? We have popped him with our hand before, but I just don't want him to be afraid every time he sees our hand, because he drew away from me like he was afraid a couple of times after that type of correction ,and we were only petting him. Like I said I am completely new at this, but I love my dog and have always wanted a GSD, but I do want a well trained dog.


The article I wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING will help give you some ideas on this. I recommend that you read it.

I assure you the odds are very much against this being dominance. The fact is it’s a really good sign. It indicates a level of prey drive and I use prey drive in training. It's an issue of channeling this drive into other items. Teaching the pup that your puppy tugs or orbee balls are more interesting prey items than biting you and/or your husband.

You will get good ideas in the DVD you just purchased. If you wish to learn more about using prey drive in training I recommend the DVD BUILDING DRIVE AND FOCUS. You can read about this on my web site.

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QUESTION on Biting Puppy:

When you say puppy prong collar are you referring to something different than just a normal prong collar that is small enough to fit a puppy? My 10 week old border collie is biting near constantly and through most every correction given to her. I've tried the basic ouch!, a low growl, scruff shaking, picking her up by the cheeks, pressing down on her tongue lightly but firmly, pushing my hand into her mouth to force a gag, pushing her away, holding her down, taps on the nose. All result in her coming back and biting harder. if I step up the force of the correction she steps up the bite pressure and begins to bite wildly in the air. It doesn't seem to be aggression just what you call prey drive, but that doesn't help the one inch gash she put into my hand the other day. So.. thinking about a prong collar.


Border collies are high drive, extremely intelligent dogs that need a lot of mental exercise as well as physical activity.

Instead of giving corrections, why don’t you give the puppy something positive to do with her energy and prey drive?

Read the article I wrote titled Training With Markers. There are three phases of training, the learning phase, the distraction phase and the correction phase. We use markers to introduce our dogs to the LEARNING PHASE of training.

Very young puppies can learn all kinds of behaviors when using marker training and they LOVE it.

I would also 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 it's simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog.

You should also consider the 4 hour 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.

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My wife and I have two kids. We have a son (7) and a daughter (4). They desperately wanted a puppy and we came a cross a seven week old female boxer puppy. She is adorable, but has aggressive tendencies. She's very playful, but she will start growling and bite to the point of drawing blood from the arm. I'm a little concerned that she may hurt one on the kids. First thing in the morning she's fine, she wags here tail and is excited to see you. However, as the day progresses, it's like she turns in to devil dog. When you pick her up by putting your one hand underneath and between the front legs, she will growl and try to reach around to bite you. I'm fearing that we got the dominant female of litter. What do you recommend ? Do we need to find a new home for her. I even thought about buying a muzzle and putting it on her when she bites. Is this a good alternative, or will it just make her more mean ? I'm 39 years and grew with Boxers and found them to be lovable companions, but I've never seen this. I've attached a picture and you will see why I hate to let her go.

Your advise would be greatly appreciated....


Your pup is not aggressive – what you are seeing is prey drive – this is not aggression. Although it is still annoying and can still draw blood – in effect the dog is playing just as it plays with its mouth with littermates. It's your job to raise the dog in a manner that teaches it to live with humans.

You can go to my web site and read the Q&A’s on puppies.

I would recommend you purchase the video I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 25 years I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup. Read the description of the tape 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 my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience -The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you wont train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

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I have read dozens of Q&A responses on your web site and several of your articles in search of what to do about my puppy.  I have a 11 week old, 2 pound, Cockapoo that I have had since she was 8 weeks old.  I am sure that in my quest for raising her to be a good, well behaved, puppy I have probably confused her so I want to make sure that whatever I do from here on out is a final approach!  Here are my 2 main problems with her:

(1) I think she may hate my husband.  Recently when he swooped her off the ground to cuddle her, she turned around and bit his hand – hard!  She pees on him nearly every time he picks her up (she never pees on me!)  She also runs and hides from him behind the washer and dryer and won’t come out!  He is a loving guy and loves animals…he wants to love her but she is making it really hard!  Please help!

(2) Like I mentioned above, she bites.  I read online that there are 2 types of biting in puppies (1) playful – chewing, and (2) pre-aggressive – snap and release (often out of fear, anger, etc).  I think my puppy does both types.  I hold her snout and say ‘No’ firmly when she does either bite and I have also started something that I believe you may refer to on your web site as the alpha roll (I roll her up tightly in a towel and hold her to my chest (where she can’t wiggle free) and watch TV for 30 minutes a day).  She is so little (2 pounds) and her bites don’t really hurt (I just think they are a bad habit) so I am not afraid of her reaction to this.  Is this a good idea?  What should I do about the biting? 

I also have an additional question about crate training.  I go to work at 8:00am and might not get home until 6pm (10 hours in crate).  80% of the time my husband is home at 4:00pm (8 hours in crate).  I thought this would be too long to leave a puppy in a crate and we live out in the country (so can’t have a friend drop by to take her out) SO I am currently leaving her in the laundry room with a pee pad (which she uses 80% of the time) during the day and doing the crate training in the evenings, weekends and at night.  Should I be doing the crate training during the day?  Using the logic I have read my 11 month old puppy can physically only hold her bladder for 4 hours.  I don’t want her to become accustomed to going to the bathroom inside the crate during the day.  Help! 

Finally, do you have a preference on the type of crate?  Wire ‘cage’ vs. carrier style? 



Hi Keri

It sounds to me like maybe your pup is intimidated by your husband. submissive urination is a normal dog behavior that subordinate pack members exhibit to let the dominant one know they are no threat.  maybe if he toned it down a bit and waited for her to come to him instead of looming over her she would become more accepting.   Men tend to intimidate puppies just because of their deeper voices and larger size.  I would probably keep a light leash on her though, so she can't go under or behind things.  Following our puppy groundwork is what I recommend for all puppies, no matter what their size.

I have a couple recommendations for you.  I would get our puppy DVD , we give this to all of our puppy customers and never get a question on how to raise a pup.  You can purchase it with our eBook on House training Solutions.

We also just finished a DVD on Pack structure for the Family Pet , and it is excellent. It covers how Ed and I live with our dogs, you can read the description on the web page.

We go over many details on crates in the house training ebook, but I personally like the plastic airline type kennels for my puppies.

I hope this helps.



Can you tell me at what age I can start using the dominant dog collar. I got a puppy that is out of control with the biting. He has been like this since he was 6 weeks old and now he's 16 weeks old. I have your DVD's on pack structure and puppy training 8 weeks to 8 months and nothing seems to help I had to put him on a choker for self preservation. Please help he acts at times like a viscous dog. I don't know if its my fault in this training process or what, would a prong collar work? I have to something, he going to be a big dog.
Thanks in advance.



You can use a dominant dog collar at 16 weeks, as long as you use it properly. I would also give this puppy something else to bite, besides you!

Redirect him to something he is allowed to have and start teaching some obedience with markers. Puppies that do this are usually full of drive and energy and they are looking for something to do. Biting us is fun because they typically get a big reaction out of us.

You can also start doing the drive and focus exercises as outlined on this DVD It's a great way to drain extra energy and give the pup something to do with that drive to bite.


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?


I would be using our groundwork program with this puppy, and establishing firm leadership through this method as opposed to holding his mouth closed and putting him in his crate. It’s not working and most likely is the reason he is cowering in his crate.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

I don’t know which videos you already have, as I could not find you in our database.  Here is what I recommend

 Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months
Basic Dog Obedience
Pack Structure for the Family Pet

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.

Neutering at 4 months old?  I would not recommend having that done at such a young age, when you neuter dogs too young they are perpetually immature. Unless there is a medical reason for having this done so early, I would question any veterinarian that would suggest this.

I hope this helps.


Hello Ed,

I have an almost six month old female German Shepherd that I purchased for my first working dog with high prey drive. She is not my first dog. I have a 12 year old shepherd too. They are never together. The pup loves food treats and she also loves to play ball. According to your videos she is a hard dog. When corrected she sometimes grabs your arm or hand in her mouth with a look like so what are ya gonna do about it? She has never growled . She has always been mouthy but we were able to redirect with toys and by grabbing her by the cheeks and saying no when she was young.

Concerning behaviors in order of severity are:

1. Increasing grabbing my hands and especially my arms into her mouth.

She does this when she is corrected with a pop of the leash on a "sit," "down," "during grooming," trying to pet her, especially her head, trying to hook up her lead, any time that I bend over or squat at her level i.e. to brush her. (She bites at the brush too). I have tried grabbing her by the scruff, telling her no, popping her lead. All of these things stop her momentarily then she is at it again.

After watching your video, I tried turning away from her when she tried biting at the brush and my hand. I  had crossed my hands over my chest. She tried to get her mouth around my elbow and then my knee as if to say "keep brushing me" but she doesn't seem to really like to be brushed and never has.

Today, when grooming her I tried something different (usually I groom her in the laundry room at ground level), I  took her outside and put her on the upper tier of our yard which was at my upper thigh level while I stood on the lower patio level. Amazingly enough, She stood quietly (I was in shock) and let me brush her with only trying to wiggle away twice. She did NOT try to grab my arm today which was the first time ever since bringing her home(we have several kinds of brushes and all have same result). Maybe I have solved part of the problem but I would like to stress that THIS MOUTHING OCCURS THROUGHOUT MOST OF MY INTERACTIONS WITH HER DURING CORRECTIONS AND TOUCHING HER.

2. She drags me on walks even in our 1 acre yard.

One week ago, I started using your technique of "slow" and then giving a pop on her lead  (I only have flat collar on her with leerburg 6 ft lead). She is doing a bit better but still drags me frequently. Sometimes when I give her a pop she comes back to me and jumps up to grab my arm. Other times she will come back and then go ahead.

3. She wants to chase cars that go down our dirt road very slowly. We live in a very rural area.The only time that I have ever even heard this dog bark was when our neighbor drove by us on the road. She went to the end of her leash barking and jumping like crazy. I finally had to tell her to sit while pulling up on the lead. She actually choked herself and calmed down however the car had already gone.

I asked my Schutzhund/trainer and breeder how to deal with the mouthing on my arm. By the way, she is biting a little harder than before but it still doesn't hurt AND I don't want it to! He said to grab her by the collar and smack her on the nose. I have not done that. Please let me know how I can stop this behavior.

Should I be getting the Dominant Dog Video  also?

What I have done:

1. I have recently purchased 3 of your videos. Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months, Developing Pack Structure (EXCELLENT), and Basic Obedience. I have just ordered and will soon receive a quick release stainless prong collar, dominant dog collar as backup, martingale lead (hope this resolves the hookup problems out of crate), soft dog treats (I was using lamb lung), bait bag, 20ft training lead (I was using a 20ft small cotton cord), orbee ball on rope as an extra.

2. The dog does very well in the crate although she came out of the crate like a race horse. I solved that after seeing your video.

3.  The rest of the family are completely ignoring her presence although they are very sad about that. My husband and son are a HUGE distraction to her.

4. I have stopped playing all games including ball reinforcement. I have stopped all obedience (which she was doing pretty well with).

5. I am working on her being calm and submissive in the house. If I praise too much she goes nuts. She appears to be much like your dog "Dama" in the video.We are working on going out of the doors and gates AFTER me.This is hard for her but in one week she has improved. Also, we are working on being calm in the house and she will now lay on her place for a few minutes at a time. She is getting the idea about me going first through the doors but still wants to "fly" through.

6. Since watching your video and for the last 7 days, she has spent a lot of time in her crate, out to go potty, in the house for a bit when calm and on gentle walks then back to her crate. This is much less activity as we were letting her hang out in the laundry room where she could see us thru the baby gate, run in the yard and play ball multiple times a day in the yard for about 20 minutes as well as 15 minutes or so twice a day of obedience training. She was also allowed to play in the yard by herself for a couple of hours at a time (I know, a big mistake). My husband is concerned that she is "in the crate" too much. I told him that it is going to take time to establish that I am the boss. It does seem to be working.

Do you have any other ideas about the mouthing? I am hoping the prong collar will resolve the car chasing and pulling on the lead.  I have reviewed your web site and haven't seen anything specific from you as to the mouthing. Maybe I have just missed it.

Thanks for your time. Also, thanks to your staff for such excellent service. Have a Great Day.



First of all thanks for your business, we really appreciate it.

I think the prong collar will solve the mouthing and the pulling on walks.  I would pop her with the prong, with a firm no.  I would not smack her on the nose, like the trainer advocated. 

I would also use marker training with her, to give her something to do IN PLACE of the mouthing behavior.  I have found with high drive young dogs just a correction isn’t always a great way to maintain a good working relationship so by giving her something positive to do instead she will eventually start to offer the good behavior and the other stuff will become less and less frequent.

Read the article Training With Markers.

I do think your young dog may be showing some dominance so I would recommend our dominant dog video at some point.  You also may end up using an ecollar for the car chasing and refining your control off leash.  I would suggest the Electric Collar video now, so you could begin to study the info before you actually need to use it.


We have an 11 week old puppy.  He appears to be very dominant.  We think we are having problems establishing our pack structure with him- we have watched all your videos but can't seem to find a solution.  We are crate training him and he seems to have picked up on housebreaking pretty quickly.  The problem is that he has a mind of his own.

One of the problems is when he is biting something.  We will tell him to stop- and he will stop.  But then he will wait a few seconds and try to go right back and bite it again.  Sometimes we have to tell him five or six times to stop biting an item.  My husband will eventually get to the point where he will yell and shake the puppy- and that usually works.  But we would like to avoid having to do so.

OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM is when we walk the puppy on our block.  We take him outside and he will go to the bathroom- usually within 10 feet of the front step of our building- we live in a city.  But once he goes to the bathroom he will turn to run back to the front door of our building- he wants to go back inside the apartment.  He loves being in the apartment.  The strange thing is that once we get the puppy off our block- and walk him a block or two away from our apartment- he is absolutely fine and walks like a normal dog on a leash.  But once he realizes that we are turning around to head back home he will pull and strain on the leash to get back home. 

If we are walking the puppy on our block and don't want to go back inside the apartment, but instead walk him down the block, we will have to drag him down the block.  We have tried to POP, POP, POP the leash as you recommend (with multiple pops) on your videos, but he still resists.  We have a flat collar on his neck.  Is it time for us to use a prong collar?  Frankly it is VERY annoying having to fight with the puppy every time we want to walk him down the block-as we end up having to DRAG him down the block.  It is not a pleasurable experience.

When we POP, POP, POP the leash it will sometimes work- and the puppy will walk with us for a while- but then after about 30 feet he will hang back again and we will have to repeat the procedure and POP, POP, POP the leash again.  Additionally, when we POP, POP, POP the leash he will sometimes growl.

What do you recommend?



Have you done marker training with the puppy?  Try to give him something to do that he thinks is fun, instead of making it all about popping on the leash.

Read the article I wrote titled Training With Markers.  There are three phases of training, the learning phase, the distraction phase and the correction phase. We use markers to introduce our dogs to the LEARNING PHASE of training.

Being reluctant to leave home is a totally normal issue with puppies of this age, and it will evaporate as he gets older if you don’t make this a big issue.

Use the marker training, and once he understands that (which should only take a day) then start marking any step away from home with a YES (or clicker) and reward.  Make it a team effort instead of you just dragging him away from his security of home.

I don’t know which videos you have, but I would recommend Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet (if you don’t have it). You said you have all of our videos (which is a LOT) but if you could tell me which ones you have I would know whether to make any additional recommendations. 

For biting, redirect him to something he is allowed to bite.  We have a section on puppy biting on the web site. Yelling and shaking him is only going to damage the relationship with the pup.  If you can’t deal with it, put him in a crate.


I have a question about dog chew bones.  I have a 7 month old miniature english bulldog who needs to constantly chew something.  I have tried several items (nylabone, kongs, beef bones, beef hide).  She's not interested in the kong or the nylabone, she loves the beef bones but they give her blisters on here chin and around her lips, and she is obsessed with the beef hide.  She gets them soft and chews long strands that unravel.  Is there anything else out there that I could try.  Will the beef hide digest in her stomach and pass?  I wouldn't mind using those if I knew her intestines wouldn't be blocked. 



We don’t recommend rawhides; they can cause blockages and are quite unhealthy for dogs.  Some of them are treated with chemicals that are toxic, believe it or not.

I would try stuffing a hollow toy with some kind of mixture and freezing it, to keep her attention.  We also have several treat toys that occupy dogs for quite some time.

The Everlasting fireplug is a favorite with my aggressive chewers here, besides putting the flavored inserts in the ends, I stuff the middle with different healthy treats and it keeps them busy for a long time.

I do use beef knuckle bones with my dogs also, but with very aggressive chewers there is a high risk of tooth breakage.


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,


One thing that jumps out at me is that this puppy is on your lap, and that needs to stop. You are giving her a “power position” by allowing her to be up there. She needs to be on a leash with her feet on the floor or in a crate.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

The first sentence in this article says it all: "You can feed water and love your dog and he will like you but he very well may not respect you." 99% of all behavioral problems are a result of dogs not respecting their owners. This happens as a result of poor handling and/or poor training.

This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure.. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on my web site.

Your puppy is trying to run the show here, which is why she is biting you and your family but not the vet or strangers. Dominant behavior is usually shown to pack members (you and your family) that show weakness or act like followers.

I am going to make some recommendations on reading material and videos.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months

Look at some of the articles on this page

Q&A on Puppy Biting/puppy Chewing/ Puppies that bite their owners and their family member

I hope this helps.



Hi Cindy,

First, I would like to compliment your company for always providing quality products that arrive promptly and provide guaranteed satisfaction. I have purchased many of your products, in addition to some of your DVD's on training.

My question is a common one; however, I desperately need your perspective! I have a 5-month-old shepherd who is well-trained thus far for a puppy (marker training and basic commands). However, the exception to that statement is that he is so persistent in chewing on me! I redirect his focus with your teething and training toys & bones, as well as using Bitter Apple on my hands. Unfortunately, even after a lot of exercise, he continues to be a mouthy (yet otherwise well-loved) puppy. What would you recommend at this stage in training? The holes in my hands are pleading for any new ideas...

Thank you from a loyal customer,
Los Angeles, CA


How are you dealing with the biting now? Have you corrected him? He’s obviously enjoying it or getting reinforced for doing it, as pups usually outgrow this by 5 months old. The fact that he’s still doing it makes me believe he’s feeling like this is a big game and he’s in control of it.

Have you tried redirecting him into another behavior, like a down every time he shows the intent to bite at your hands?  If he’s laying down, he can’t reach your hands.

If redirection doesn’t work, then I have no problem giving a puppy an appropriate correction for biting me. This comes down to a respect issue. I look at it like this "What would another dog do to this puppy if he was constantly biting them?" They would give him a swift correction and that would likely be the end of it. How strong you are with the pup, depends on his temperament. My now 16 month old puppy was horrible about biting me as a young pup, and I finally just got tired of it and gave him a strong correction.  When he backed off, I said GOOD and asked him to sit (or anything you KNOW he’ll do) and then use my marker and gave him a reward. Since you’ve allowed this to go on for so long, you may have to get after him a bit more but make sure you aren’t just buying into his ‘game’. A lot of puppies like the physical stuff. We think we are correcting them but in reality we are simply egging them on unknowingly.

That’s why I always try to redirect with a toy or with an exercise the puppy likes to do.  Interrupt the pattern. If you know there are specific instances that he’s most likely to start biting at you, try to be ready to interrupt him the split second you see it in his eyes. Don’t wait til he already has his mouth on you.



Hi, I recently bought an 8 week full beagle pup. She has a serious temper when she is playing with us. She will actually hiss like a cat, show her teeth and draw blood if she gets us. I'm concerned I’m playing too hard with her that’s why, but even if she’s chewing a wire and I try and get her from that she will really growl. Not all the time is she mean but I’m afraid she will never get out of this behavior. She will let us put our hand in her dish with food. And kiss us and play but one minute she’s doing good then next she’s biting, growling and her tail is under her. Please email me back. Thanks.


The key to successfully raising a puppy is by controlling the environment (so she can’t chew wires) and teaching her good follower skills.  Your puppy is simply interacting with you like she would interact with her littermates.

I would read this "The Groundwork to Becoming Your Puppy's Pack Leader."

I would recommend Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

We also have a number of free eBooks that may interest you. 

There is one on puppy biting.

I hope this helps.


Hi Cindy,

My question is related to a 14 week old German Shepherd Puppy, who has a biting problem.  He is constantly chewing on hands, feet, arms, etc., and occasionally nips at the face. I can’t figure out if this is an aggression problem or an over stimulated prey drive that needs more of an outlet. Regardless, it needs to stop before he gets uncontrollable. I’m trying everything (e.g., stiff correction, redirection, treats for positive behavior, exercise, putting him in submission, etc.), but all of these seem to only have a temporary effect. I’d raised many GSD’s and never had a puppy with this much drive/aggression. There has been progress... just not as much as I expect. Am I on the right track… just need to be consistent and more patient… or are there obvious things that I’m overlooking? 

Thank you.


It’s not possible for a puppy this young to have real aggression. This is simply very strong prey drive.

I’d use marker training and get this pup engaged with me in a way that he can be reinforced A LOT for good behaviors. This training will also give him an outlet for all of the energy and drive he has. I’d also keep this puppy on a leash at all times, and would not put myself (or anyone else) to be bitten. So much of successful puppy raising is managing their environment and access to situations and people. I try not to let my puppy repeat and practice behaviors I don’t want.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

We also have a section on puppy biting on the website. Learn to use the search function (located in the left hand corner of every page on our website). Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.



I purchased a sensation collar from you a couple weeks ago. My border terrier had chewed it off within a few hours. This is an ongoing issue. Finding leashes etc that he can’t chew off. Do you have any recommendations for leashes and collars that are resistant to a pups chewing? I have ordered and used a number of your products and appreciate the consistent quality and advice on the website and in the newsletter.



I wouldn’t put anything on this dog that he could reach to chew (harness, leash) unless I was supervising him.  If he isn’t on a leash WITH you and you are in a position to supervise him then he should have any reachable equipment taken off and he should be placed in a secure crate or kennel with an appropriate item for him to chew. So much of raising puppies is management of their experiences and environment. 

You can try using Bitter Apple spray on your leashes and harnesses as an adjunct to interrupting him when he chews in your presence but I would not rely on that for prevention.

I hope this helps.  



I just finished watching your Aggressive dog video with my family (significant other and 11 y/o boy girl twins. We bought a GSD at 6 weeks old. He is beautiful He was the Pack Leader and I liked the way he maneuvered the pack. But shortly after we brought him home he became a dominant aggressive and handler aggressive dog. He is very strong willed. When I discipline him and give him a correction he will pounce, snarl, spit and bark at me with fangs showing. He is very frightening at times. I just picked him up and put him in his crate. We have left his lease on for a day (except at night because I am afraid he will choke).

Should we keep the leash on at night?

Now, he is 13 weeks old and 40 pounds. I can no longer pick him up without injury. The vet and assistant shed some blood over toenail clipping and shots at 11 weeks old. The vet said I needed some serious help from a personal trainer (he will come to us in 2 days).

I have scheduled Rambo for a neutering in 3 days. I fear that if my children are left alone he will bite their hands and they will have a serious injury. His jaw is very strong.

Is it appropriate to neuter at this young age due to this dominance or will he “grow out of it”?

Lastly, all the videos and information that we receive speak of corrections to a dog that is 7 months old. I have just purchased the dominant dog collars from your site but I do not want to use them if he is too young to lift off the ground. I tried the steel choke collar and it caused him more rage and I only used it twice and as soon as I took it off, I got attacked.  I may have used it to wimpy because I didn’t want to hurt him. But, it made me emotionally sick to do it.

So, the 3rd and final question is asking what age can we appropriately use the correction collar?

Thank you,


Since you are dealing with a 13 week old puppy, I would recommend getting your mind set away from giving him corrections and start thinking about showing him leadership through calm, consistent and firm handling and controlling his environment.  Since you have kids, I’ll put it to you this way... did you give your kids physical corrections when they were toddlers for things that you hadn’t taught them yet?  I hope not.  Puppies need to be shown what’s expected, and with the type of puppy you have giving him punishment for his lack of understanding of human rules isn’t fair. Some puppies cower and become withdrawn with this type of treatment, but others retaliate.

He may need corrections later, but for now change your mind set and set yourself up for success.

I’d recommend Pack Structure for the Family Pet. Dogs don’t grow out of dominance, dominance is a by product of the dog’s temperament, personality and how he or she is raised.

It’s highly unlikely that your dog is showing dominance at this point, it’s more like puppy tantrum when you do something he doesn’t like. Read this article on biting puppies. As for your fear about your children, personally I wouldn’t leave ANY puppy alone with kids. They don’t’ know the correct way to react and behave around puppies. Heck, most adults don’t know how to handle a rowdy puppy.

I would NOT keep the leash on at night, I would keep him in a crate without the leash. Anytime he is out of the crate, he should have a leash on and he should be attached to you.

I don’t believe in neutering any dog so young, but that’s something you need to decide. I would wager that his behavior has NOTHING to do with the fact that he’s intact. He’s a puppy.

Instead of worrying about when you can use the correction collar, I might suggest trying to engage your puppy into using his energy for positive endeavors. I’ve raised some very difficult puppies over the years, and all of them simply needed to be shown how to get what they want using their good behavior. It sounds cheesy, but it works.

I would read our article on training dogs with Markers.

I would suggest The Power of Training Dogs with Markers and The Power of Training Dogs with Food.

Watch some of the free streaming video on the website of puppies doing this work, it tires them out mentally and physically and gives them a reason to work WITH you, not against you.

Here’s some links


Puppy Bite:

Mr. Frawley,

Here is a picture of my brother's nose after his brand new 9 week old pup so ferociously jumped up to lick his face. I am in the habit of reading through the Q & A section on your website every night before I go to sleep. The ignorance of so many dog owners is incredibly sad at times but I must admit I find myself in hysterical laughter so often just based on the answers you give them. So when I read about people with "vicious," "ferocious," or "aggressive" 8 week, 9 week or 10 week old puppies that are usually just being puppies using their mouths I gotta laugh. So I felt obligated to send this to you. The pup got him on both sides of his nose and it went completely through!!! OUCH!! We were all able to laugh about it after the bleeding stopped.

I must write you an entirely separate email expressing my appreciation and gratitude for You and Cindy. I have 2 of your DVD's that I received this week. I am watching Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet for the 2nd time right now. My Australian Cattle Dog Pup, Anthem, is snoozing in her crate and I just admire what you do so darn much it cannot be expressed in this short email. THANK YOU!

Your Appreciative Friend in California,

Dog bite to nose


Thank you for your website-it's terrific.
My German Sheppard puppy was very bitey and we used your website's recommendations to curb it.  He's mostly grown out of it at 6 months BUT whenever I put his leash on or off his mouth is all over my hands/forearms.  Not aggressively but very annoying.  I've tried increasingly harder corrections (No! or a hard pop on the leash) and this will work but only for that instant.  The next time he's biting me again.  Any suggestions to help this?  
Thank you very much.


Give him an alternate behavior to do when you put his leash on, like giving you eye contact.  many dogs like the physical interactions that we see as corrections.  He’s mouthing you because he’s excited, so teach him some self control.

When your dog (AND YOU) know and understand markers you are going to be able to tell him the EXACT instant he does something correctly or just as important the exact instant he does something wrong.

Markers opens a level of communication between you and your dog that was never available when we all started training dogs many years ago. We have a free 85 Page eBook titled THE POWER OF TRAINING DOGS WITH MARKERS. It’s on the web site in the list of eBook on my web site. This is the place to start.

I would also recommend you go to the free streaming videos on the web site and watch the lecture of Michael Ellis where he talks about his philosophy of dog training. Not only will you learn a lot you will understand why we are doing a series of training DVD's with Michael.

I would also read our biting puppies article.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q & A’s, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.  Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for.  I hope this helps.

Good luck,
Cindy Rhodes


My 18 week (Chinook) puppy loves to chew shoes and especially boots. We have a boot matt near the front door and he will often try to grab one and run off to play with it. He never has a hold on one for more than a few seconds as I always make him drop it and distract him with something else but I am wondering if I were to give him an old pair of boots as his toy would I be able to teach him to distinguish that these are his and the rest are mine and off limits or should I keep it black and white and make all shoes off limits no matter what? He destroys soft toys and I am constantly buying him more I was thinking a pair of leather boots would be something that could actually hold up for more than a week but I don't know if I would be setting him up for failure? I would love to know your thoughts.



You would be setting him up for failure.

This puppy needs structure and leadership. Why is he in a position to be able to make the choice to take a shoe? I don't allow untrained puppies to have the freedom to practice behaviors like this. it will only become harder to break if it becomes a habit.

I'd read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy's Pack Leader.
Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months
Pack Structure for the Family Pet

We use a leash and an exercise pen to control our puppies movements in the home. We provide safe and appropriate toys and limit access to the things the pup shouldn't have.

We have a section of toys on our website that may be helpful.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it's very likely you'll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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