When we brought our dachshund puppy Django home in 2015, he had 28 razor sharp puppy teeth. Like a human baby, Django explored the world by putting objects into his mouth. Although we (Mike and Steph) always tried to direct Django's chewing energy towards puppy-safe chew toys, Django would put things in his mouth and chew on items he wasn't supposed to. Since Mike and I were a part of his world, he inevitably started nipping and biting our fingers, hands, and toes.
While mouthing is completely normal during puppyhood, it is important to let your puppy know what is and what is NOT allowed to be chewed on. Why do puppies gnaw on everything? How do you keep your dog from biting you? Are there outdated training techniques you should avoid? When should you seek professional help for your four-legged friend?
We spoke to Denise Harmon, the founder of Brooklyn-based dog training and consultant company Empire of the Dog, for tips on preventing puppy nipping and biting. Here is everything you need to know.
“Your puppy has a biological need to chew. It's actually something that he needs to do and should have an outlet for his entire life,” says Denise Harmon. “You should give him four to five hours per day to chew.”
Here are three reasons your puppy bites:
When your puppy bites you, he is not challenging your “alpha” dog status. He is just playing and does not know that his bite strength is between 250 and 325 pounds per square inch. Here is what you should do when your puppy bites you or other members of your family:
If you find that puppy-style yelping or verbal corrections do not work, you can switch to a time-out procedure. Here's how this works:
Herding dog breeds (e.g., Australian shepherds, border collies, and Pembroke Welsh corgis) are more likely to try to gather, herd, and protect their humans and other household pets. They are also most likely to nip at your feet and socks.
If your dog nips at your feet or ankles when you are walking, teach him the “find it” command. Whenever he ambushes you, immediately stop moving. Then toss a high-value dog toy or dog treat on the ground and say, “Find it!” Throw treats until your puppy is either too tuckered out to nip at you, or you can redirect his attention with a durable chew toy.
One more tip? Fill plastic containers with bite-sized treats. Place them in every room of your house, so you always have access to a treat when your dog starts nipping.
Do not let your child play on the ground at your dog's eye level. According to the CDC, 64.9 percent of dog bite injuries among toddlers are to their head or neck. For extra security, exercise your puppy for at least 5 minutes for each month of age before allowing your puppy and small child to interact.
Consider using a dog-friendly playpen or gate to separate your puppy and child as needed. Supervise play sessions, so you can step in if things get out of control. Consider using a flirt pole or stuffed Kong dog toy to create a positive association between your child and pup.
Consider hiring a certified dog trainer if your puppy:
Some dogs are aggressive because they have a medical condition. Before you find professional behavioral help, check with your veterinarian to make sure your puppy is in good health.
If you have any questions about nipping or biting or want to share one of your own puppy experiences, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
Also, if you are in New York City and looking for a very talented dog trainer, consider Empire of the Dog in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We did obedience training with Denise Harmon when Django was a puppy and highly recommend her as a dog trainer and training consultant. She's an incredibly skilled, experienced, and talented trainer for dogs of all ages and breeds.
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While searching for high-quality, nutrient-rich dog food for our 14 lb long-haired dachshund Django, we (Mike and Steph) have tried almost every fresh dog food delivery service on the market. We prefer dog food brands that do not have artificial flavors, fillers, or preservatives. They also should be made with high-quality animal proteins and vitamin-packed fruits and veggies.
After discovering Raised Right earlier this year, we have been layering it on top of his small breed adult dry dog food. We feel great about feeding Django Raised Right because it is made with single-source animal protein, omega 3-rich oils, non-GMO herbs, and superfoods. Raised Right has also teamed up with carbonfund.org to combat climate change by reducing its carbon footprint. That is a cause we can support because our dog accessories and apparel small business, DJANGO, was built to give back to the environment.
Here is an unbiased and comprehensive review of Raised Right’s homestyle, human-grade fresh dog food. All opinions are based on our personal experience feeding Raised Right to our celebrity wiener dog Django.
CBD oil is a popular natural remedy used to treat common canine health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, in humans. Because your dog has an endocannabinoid system, CBD dog treats can help him with health issues like anxiety, inflammation, nausea, and joint pain.
CBD dog treats, also called hemp dog treats and dog relaxants, are specially designed with your pup’s size and weight in mind. Smaller dog breeds like French bulldogs or Welsh Pembroke corgis will need a lower dose of CBD than larger dog breeds like collies and Labrador retrievers.
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we list 15 of our favorite CBD dog treats and chews on Amazon. They not only come in dog-approved flavors but are also packed with powerhouse ingredients that are scientifically proven to reduce pain and anxiety.
There are a lot of reasons you might want to put your dog in daycare. If you have an unpredictable schedule or work long hours, you may have to leave your dog at home for large chunks of time. Maybe your puppy is hyperactive and needs more hands-on attention and stimulation throughout the day. Perhaps you have a dog that has separation anxiety, and he needs more opportunities to socialize with other pups and learn to play without you around. Doggy daycare can provide dogs with exercise, playtime, mental stimulation, and, if applicable, special care.
But what exactly is doggy daycare, and what type of doggy daycare is best? Do doggy daycare centers have health and vaccination requirements? How do you find a reputable doggy daycare in your area, and how much does it cost? Will your dog thrive in daycare?
Here is what you need to know before you enroll your dog in daycare.