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My 9 week old cockapoo, Lily, sometimes bites my feet. Most of the time it's just a playful, mild bite, and I tell her "NO, bad lily!". And she does back off most of the time. but a couple of time she has bit me like my feet was one of her kong toys! it hurts, and sometimes she just doesn't listen.

I'm trying hard to train her and get her to get used to my commands, but it's a hard process. She often gets distracted or just doesn't listen to me. What can I do?:(

P.S. Lily isn't always misbehaving. If one thing I've improved about Lily is that she stopped crying in her crate after 1 night. After that night, she's been sleeping in her crate quietly. I heard some puppies cry in their crate for 1 month before they get used to it. So, if I can train Lily to get used to her crate, I must be able to train her to behave.
 

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Hi Dominix,

There are quite a few threads about this (I started one a couple of weeks ago!) so you're not alone!! If you search on the puppy pages you'll find lots of advice as well as some useful links about mouthing.

Noodle nipped at my legs and ankles too (and anywhere else she could reach) and sometimes drew blood. I knew it was normal puppy behaviour, but wanted her to stop ASAP before she did it to anyone else (esp small children) and also so that I can wear shorts, skirts and dresses in this lovely weather without looking like I've had my legs mangled...!!!

For me, time-outs worked. Every time she bit me, I said "NO" in a very firm, loud voice and gave her a chance to back off. If she bit again I shut her away (in our vestibule by the front door) for a few minutes. She would always calm down and when she was let out she was always apologetic - but inevitably would start again once she got all excited. Over a week the number of time-outs got less and less each day and now I just have to say "no" in a firm voice and she knows to stop (but she does still try to test me every now and then! She is a puppy after all! Now she uses a soft mouth - but I'm not too keen on that either. But at least it's a vast improvement!). It literally took only days for her to understand.
 

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Hi Dominix

You've got a really cute little puppy. We are breeders and with every puppy that leaves here we give a leaflet answering all the questions buyers have every asked us about young puppies it's an 'idiots guide' to puppy ownership. The whole thing is too long to post here but if you would like a copy just ask and I can e-mail it to you from [email protected]. I have copied part of it below about the psychology of dogs that might be relevant.

Julia

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Puppy's Place in the Family
The reason dogs are such good pets and fit so well into human society is that they are social animals by nature. Their greatest psychological need is to be part of a group. Whether it's a family of just you and puppy, or a boisterous household full of children and pets, in order to be happy your new puppy must feel secure about her place in the group.
If you watch puppies at play, you will see a lot of growling and tussling. There is more to this play fighting than meets the eye. Those little guys are already deciding who is going to be "top dog". Whether you realize it or not, something very much like this play fighting is happening at home between your puppy and the rest of the family.
To be confident and secure what puppies need most is a master they can depend on. For your dog to have a happy life and be a pleasure to own, at least one person in the family must become such a master. Dogs have no mental concept of "friends and equals". Somebody has to be boss. Assertive puppies will grow up trying to be boss, which won't make either one of you happy. A submissive puppy may spend its entire life fretting and worrying, never sure what is expected. Everything usually works out just fine automatically--puppies find their place in the family without much trouble and everyone is happy with the arrangement. If, on the other hand, you have a strongly assertive or unusually submissive pet there are some things you should keep in mind:
Working with an assertive puppy
Assertive puppies tend to immediately investigate new people and objects. They are quick to begin play fighting activities with people. When they want to be petted or fed, they are insistent and demanding. These puppies fall easily into the role of family protector because they think the people belong to them. This is well and good, but because dogs cannot really understand human society, there is soon trouble. They may try to defend you from everyone, and biting the UPS man because he invades your yard is not ok. Biting the children is not ok. The most serious problems happen when grandchildren are involved. Perceived either as an outside threat or a competitor, it is not unusual for grandchildren to be badly injured by big assertive dogs.
The training techniques used to establish your teacher-learner relationship are especially important. Remember that your dog will be much happier in the long run if he earns praise and pleasure by obeying you, not by demanding it.
It is especially important for you to be master. Do not allow your dog to nip or bite at you in a friendly way. If a puppy play bites stop the ‘game’ Immediately by holding the puppies mouth shut until he/she pulls away. Do not stimulate your puppy by waving your arms and acting excited or by playing tug of war. Do not become what your puppy perceives to be an equal and competitive playmate.
 

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Hi again Dominix

It's a several months since I closely ready our idiots guide. I've just re-written the last paragraph so have posted the new version for you below.


Julia

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It is especially important for you to be master. Do not allow your dog to nip or bite at you in a friendly way. If a puppy play bites stop the ‘game’ immediately by holding the puppies mouth shut with a little pressure until he/she pulls away. Combine it with a gruff ‘No’ if you like. You may have to repeat this two or three times if an assertive puppy comes back at you, do it with a little firmer pressure each time. You must make the puppy choose to step away from the encounter and you become the ‘older grumpier dog’. Do not hold a grudge, when you win the moment then let it go. The next moment can be back to normal. Do not stimulate your puppy by waving your arms and acting excited or by playing tug of war. Do not become what your puppy perceives to be an equal and competitive playmate.
 

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Excellent advice Julia! We have a 10 week old pup who has bity playful moments. If needed I'll try the 'holding the mouth closed' thing. I haven't heard that advice before but can see it could work well. I'll let you know if I use it and how it goes ;)
 
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