My 15-week-old silver Labrador is our pride and joy, but she just won’t stop biting. What do you suggest?
– Frank, Oro Valley, Arizona
Puppies teethe around four-months-old and need teething toys and lessons from you on what’s acceptable to put in their mouths.
Don’t use your hands or arms to play with her, and never punish her for this normal behavior. Instead, correct her and offer her toys to teeth on instead.
When she sinks her teeth into you, give a short “yelp” to interrupt the behavior and then say, “let go.” Praise her and give her a treat if she lets go. Some training experts say you should go “quiet” because prey also yelps when you bite. But, I have found this usually does not work for a puppy who is wired at this age to listen.
If she doesn’t let go, shake a can of coins or purchase a Pet Corrector, which emits a compressed air sound, to get her attention. If this still doesn’t break her grip, squeeze very gently just behind her nose/mouth area to unlatch her grip. Then give her a toy she can chew on. Over time, she should learn to play with her toys, and not your arms or hands.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal