Does your puppy pull at your pant legs until they tear or bite your hands until you bleed? You’re not alone!
Many think that this is the Aussie’s herding abilities manifesting poorly, but it’s more a smart, high energy, any-kind-of-dog problem. Dogs and puppies have the instinct to pull, bite, and tear things (after all, in the while, that’s how they get dinner). Your dog will use that instinct by directing it to play – with you and with your things, especially if it’s moving.
How do you stop it?
1. If you’re ready to join your puppy in playing (and making this choice is always better than the alternative!), simply redirect him or her. Grab something that IS okay to pull and bite on and then . . . pull and get your puppy to bite on it! This teaches your pup that certain things are good to play with and other things are not. If your puppy isn’t instantly interested in the item you’re offering (a soft, braided rope, a canvas or rubber toy, for example), move it around and make exciting noises! It’s prey and your puppy wants to catch and eat it (that’s why many dogs will tear stuffing out of stuffed animals, same behavior – watch that they don’t eat the stuffing as that can cause problems).
2. If you’re not ready to join your puppy in playing, a firm “No” should do the trick. The key is “firm.” Most people you see with pets don’t mean it. You have to mean it, like the puppy has done something awful. Something that will jar him or her from doing it again, or at least take a pause. Say it once. If the puppy pauses and thinks, try offering the toy above to him by tossing it and encouraging him to chase it while you return to your busy life. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have hopefully set up a pen or crate to confine your puppy to places where he or she can’t get into trouble – if you’re not going to play, and you don’t want trouble, that’s your best bet.