My siberian husky is 9 months old and keep on nipping at me, how can I stop him from nipping at me?

I have tried time out, spraying water in his face, the can full of coins trick. Also given him frozen carrots, string beans and peas, Ice. HELP!!

Asked by Rodolfo Franco, Dog Trainer in Bergenfield, NJ

1 Answer

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During their adolescent period, many dogs seem to take a backwards step in their training and start ‘acting up’ or displaying behaviours that you thought you had left behind in puppyhood. It can be disconcerting but it is important to realise this is often a normal stage in their development and there are many things you can do to get them back on track.

First of all, ask yourself, ‘are they getting enough exercise?’. Large breeds especially will have a lot of energy at this stage and biting behaviour in particular can be related to boredom and frustration. They should be getting at least an hours off-the-lead exercise daily, which is a big chunk of your time but is what you signed up for when you got them. Also, they will need a great deal of mental stimulation as well. Make sure you attend training classes and do play games with them. ‘Fetch’ is a popular option for many dogs and a good way to expel energy. If you struggle to get out of the house or the weather is bad, indoor games can be similarly effective; consider scattering treats for them to find or using puzzle balls and games.

However, you shouldn’t be encouraging too much, or indeed any, rough and tumble play. This will only teach your dog to mouth and jump at you, which can be fun when you are up for it, but not so much when you want quiet time or simply want to put their collar on! Try playing with a tugger toy instead. This will let you have a fun time with your dog while training him to only pull on toys in his mouth, not your jumper or hands. If he does nip you, whether accidentally or deliberately. Tell him ‘no’ and stop the play for a few seconds so he can learn the rules of engagement.

If you simply cannot stop this habit then I would seek advise from a properly qualified dog behaviourist. Even if the nipping is not malicious, it is not acceptable, to you or anyone else, especially children or visitors to your home. | 05.19.16 @ 15:12
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.26.17 @ 12:48
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