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How Can I Stop My New Puppy from Biting & Pulling My Older Dog’s Ears and Feet?


Dear VetBabble,

I have a new puppy who tends to bite my older dog and pull her ears. She also chews on her feet. How can I stop this? Is this normal puppy behavior? Also, how old should the puppy be before I start worrying about this behavior?

Understanding Puppy Behavior: Nipping, Biting, and Chewing

Dear reader, it’s completely natural for pet owners like yourself to have concerns about their new puppy’s actions. It’s essential to understand that young pups tend to explore the world around them using their mouths. They nip, bite, and chew on everything they find – including other dogs and their feet. This behavior is a part of their learning and socialization process.

How To Manage Your Puppy’s Biting and Chewing

Although these actions may seem worrisome, rest assured that your puppy’s behavior is entirely normal. However, there are ways to manage and redirect this behavior to create a harmonious living environment for both your new puppy and older dog. Here are three sections to help you out:

1. Redirect Your Puppy’s Attention

If your puppy starts biting your older dog or chewing her feet, redirect her attention onto a more appropriate object, like a chew toy or puzzle feeder. This method not only teaches your puppy what is acceptable to chew on but also helps protect your older dog from unwanted attention. Remember to praise and reward your puppy for engaging with the toy, reinforcing the positive behavior.

2. Teach Your Puppy Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition is a vital skill for your puppy to learn, allowing her to control the force of her mouth when playing with others. To teach bite inhibition, follow these steps:

  1. When playing with your puppy, if she bites too hard, let your hand go limp and say a high-pitched “ouch.”
  2. Disengage from playtime for 20-30 seconds before resuming.
  3. If she bites hard again, repeat the process.
  4. Gradually decrease the pressure you consider acceptable, so your puppy understands the limits.

Combining this technique with positive reinforcement will help your puppy understand that gentle play is fun and rewarding, while rough play is not.

3. Ensure Both Dogs Have a Safe Space

It’s crucial that both your older dog and your new puppy have a safe space in your home where they can retreat when they need a break from each other. Provide separate beds and play areas, and always monitor their interactions to ensure that both dogs enjoy themselves and aren’t overwhelmed by the other’s presence.

Addressing Other Behavior Concerns

It’s essential to address any other behavioral issues your puppy may develop to ensure the well-being of all family members, both human and furry.

For instance, you may want to teach your dog how to walk nicely on the lead without pulling, which can be a crucial skill for an enjoyable walking experience. Additionally, it’s essential to learn how to stop your dog from jumping on guests to ensure a pleasant visit for everyone involved.

Moreover, if your pup is being bothered by flies or tends to lunge at other dogs during walks, VetBabble offers helpful resources to manage these situations.

In conclusion, it’s essential to remember that patience and consistency are crucial in helping your puppy develop proper behavior. Always use positive reinforcement and pay close attention to your dogs’ interactions to create a happy, healthy home for all.

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