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Thread: 10.5 week old staffy is a biter

  1. #1

    Default 10.5 week old staffy is a biter

    Hi All,

    I posted on here some time ago about a crying puppy in the mornings - thank you for all the advice.

    Max is a 10.5 week old staffy now and a lovely little guy. He has a tendency to bite though. I just wanted to know what other dog owners have implemented to discourage this?

    He has been attending puppy pre school (3 weeks now), and socialising with other dogs. If he gets to bitey then the dogs will growl and he becomes submissive. At home, he bites a fair bit. It doesn't hurt at this stage but we want to nip it in the bud asap. I have stopped games which encourage him to tug. Have provided him with heaps of chewy toys / bones etc. We growl and say "max no" when he bites. Also, when he is really naughty we use a water / vinegar spray bottle as recommended by the vet, which he hates.

    Are we missing anything? Is this a puppy teething phase?

    All advice is appreciated.


  2. #2


    Boss went through a puppy biting stage as well and i found yelping (like his brothers and sisters would have if he hurt them) worked really well. When he would 'nip' as soon as i yelped he would let go and get sooky. I taught my kids to do the same & he hasn't done it since

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Sunshine Coast


    It's just natural puppy behaviour, feels good on his little pinlike sharp teeth lol. I just growled at Oskar everytime he did it as a pup. He does it during play time and we allow him, but then he knows it isn't allowed when it's not play time. I just use the word "gentle"...and he goes from biting to licking lol.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    It is pretty much his age and his teeth. I always go "ouch" and stop any play immediately and walk off and not engage with puppy. Which is pretty much what his litter mates would do if he really hurt them.

    I don't engage in any excitable games if puppy is having a hard time with it's teeth. But I do play tug, I just stop the minute they overstep the boundaries, but only you can really guage if tug is a good game for your pup.

    Just like some kids some pups have a really bad time with their teeth and for those I always walk around with a toy handy ready to divert their attention to it. We had a little bitsa when we were kids who you couldn't even pat without her wanting to latch onto your hands, we tied a toy to a rope and dragged that around, saved the bottom of our trousers too. As she got more and more of her adult teeth the biting stopped, she was the worse pup I've ever had for biting.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I don't know any puppies this age that don't try biting. And you're right, you need to set limits, and now's the time.

    I have stopped games which encourage him to tug.
    Tug is a great training tool and fun for the dog. Just ask him to do something - anything (eg sit) before you offer the tug. If he misses the tug or bites you or re-grips it - take the tug away for 10 to 30 seconds. If you really want to rub it in, play with the tug by yourself like it's the most exciting thing in the world. A few sessions of this and he will be more careful about where his teeth go when getting the tug. Practice "give" and "geddit" in the same sessions... ie "give" (let go the tug) should be part of the fun and not the end of the world.

    When my dog chomped me - I just pushed... until she tried to spit me out, and then I held that for a few seconds and then let her spit me out, then I acted boring for 10 to 30 seconds... ie puppy bites - game over - for at least long enough for puppy to wonder why and notice the absence of fun.

    I tried nose taps - not good, and growling - she thought that was part of the game, and yelping - but the yelp has to be extreme like you trod on puppy's tail and you have to stop playing for a while.

    Most puppies will match how rough you play. The rougher you are, the rougher they will be. If you get too rough - they will stop playing. This is what you need to do. Stop playing...

    If the puppy is chewing on your ankles so you can't move when you're trying to make dinner or whatever - you may need to time out. I used to put puppy in the crate so I could get things done. Really important that the crate is a fun place to be with chew toys (we like cows hooves and roo jerky) and not a place of punishment. It's a place of respite.

    I did use the water pistol for distracting barking dog. I never bothered with vinegar. But I didn't actually need to hit her with the water, just near enough for her to notice and go "what's that?". I do use the Psst noise like the water pistol when I want her attention away from the naughty thing she's doing. And then I give her something else to do and praise for that. She has a fair understanding that psst means - pay attention or I will come get you.

    Biting is part of how puppies explore the world. Is it food? Can I chew it? Can I pick it up? And they use their mouth like we use our hands. To get attention, and to hold things. So you need to be careful about rewarding biting with attention. Hence - stop play or stop the fun.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 06-21-2012 at 11:01 AM.

  6. #6


    Puppys only have their mouths to explore the world with and they have to be taught not to use them inappropriately. Yelping, and time outs are effective if done consistently. With my pups I also used to stick one of their feet in their mouth if they were biting me. They would bite themselves and realize that that hurt. I have never had one of my own dogs draw blood on me.

    As for tug games - no need to stop those. On the contrary, I encourage you to continue tug games. Tug games were the life and sole of a puppys life in the puppy pen with his litter mates. Tug games are the precursor to teaching retrieve along with "give". Important though that you do let the pup win from time to time. Also important that you decide when the game stops.

    Just be careful when he does start losing those puppy teeth. If you pull a tooth out you may destroy his love of the game.
    Nev Allen
    Border River Pet Resort

  7. #7


    We went through this not all that long ago with our pup (who is now 5 months old). It is very normal but yeah, it can hurt. We would yelp when he bit/nipped (even if he didn't hurt us) just so he got the message that it hurts. We would then follow up with a "no biting" and put a toy or something he was allowed to bite in his mouth so that he learnt that it is OK to bite certain things, just not people. We haven't had a problem with him biting in a while now and even when he has his hour of power where he goes crazy, he will now pick up a toy and run around with it in his mouth instead of trying to bite us like he used to.

  8. #8


    My stafffy Jack was a shocking biter when he was a pup. I had pin holes all over my hands and arms. I used his tug toy to teach him to "leave it" i.e let go. Also used the word "gentle" to teach him to mouth rather than bite. Socialising with other dogs that you know is great for teaching pups not to bite too hard and then using whatever techniques you come up with to teach it what is acceptable and what is not. I like playing fighting games with jack, he loves it, so i went down the path of teaching him bite control and also teaching him that kids are not allowed to be played with in that manner.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Gold Coast


    I am having the same problem with my puppy at the moment! At first everything I was doing was not working at all he would just bite no matter what, but consistency is paying off and he is slowly learning.......I tried what everyone else has said and say ouch/yelp when he bites, but when he is in one of his hyper moods this doesn't work so I have to resort to a spray bottle to distract him which seems to be working. I have also found that when training him, if he nips my fingers I say ouch and he will not get the treat until he bites gently......which seems to be working really well. I also let him play with my hands when he is in a calm/sleepy mood and when he licks I say "kisses" and I ignore him when he bites, and he seems to be responding well to that as well............Tug games I find help so i would continue them if he enjoys them, my pup puts all his energy into that instead of biting me, and also my other dog is quite boisterous with him so they enjoy playing tug games together. I think whatever way you want to tackle it will work as long as you keep at it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Its 11 weeks old, its a pup, biting is its job right now. Stress less.
    All pups bite. Its what they do!
    Hang in their with bite inhibition work, and it will stop.

    Bloomin hurts though, those needle sharp razor teeth break the skin real easy!

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