with ewa

I received an email with a question about biting:

“Hi Ewa,
I hope you don’t mind me emailing you for a little advice please. I have a miniature schnauzer nine week old puppy who keeps snapping at my husband and teenage son. I have both your dvds which are excellent! And we have started the training steps and trying to stay positive but do you have any other advice you could offer to help us with his constant biting and snapping.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.”

My answer:
“It is normal behaviour from a puppy at that age. 9 weeks to about 13 weeks are the worst in my experience. After that you normally will see a gradual decline although chewing shoes, furniture etc will most probably still be on the agenda until full set of grown up teeth are in place, around 6-7 months old. Sometimes longer.
At this very young age, they are “finding their own feet” and chasing everything and biting/tasting a lot of things (including humans!) is normal. They do not do it out of aggression in the same meaning as if a grown up dog was to bite and growl. That is important to understand and to trust. So even if your puppy is growling and biting it is no need for thinking that you have puppy who will grow up to become an aggressive dog. Very similar to a human child biting/hitting us or another child as opposed to if a grown man/woman bit/hit another person. It feels daunting at the time but they will grow out of it.

Until they grow out of it, try to not encourage the unwanted behaviour, try and stay calm and clear. Never withdraw hands so that you accidentally teach the puppy that the hands go away if it bites. Instead, try and hold the puppys’ mouth so it can’t hurt you, I also happily add kisses to show that I am not angry I am only stopping the puppy from biting me. Hold the puppy with love but be calm, let go when IT is calm. If the behaviour starts again when you let go, repeat the procedure. All done in calm manners with no aggression of your behalf.

How old is your son? Young children and young puppies often proves to be a challenging combination because the more the puppy bites, the more animated and fun the child becomes in the puppys’ eyes. For the puppy everything is about hunting-, chasing- and wrestling games at that age. All to instinctively prepare for life. You as a grown up will have to be around and never leave the child and puppy alone together. That counts for the grown up dog too by the way.

Make sure the puppy has plenty of chew bones and toys.

Some people find it useful to squeal when puppies bite hard. The purpose of that is to try and communicate that it hurts. Perhaps that is the result or maybe they simply break what they are doing due to the sheer noise interruption. The person still needs to stay calm since big movements, running and lost temper normally agitates the puppy even more.

I am glad you find the DVDs useful and that you are enjoying them.”


Soon I received an answer which told they were grateful for the advice and that the problem now were getting better.

For more advice on how to train your puppy buy my Puppy Training DVD here in my webshop.

All the best! Til next time, enjoy the outdoors with your dogs!