Puppy Biting, It Hurts!

Our experience with Gnasher Max!

We have had the unique experience of having a 17-week-old puppy in my home. Now having a household of dogs is not unique at all but we don’t often have puppies. One of our lovely clients needed someone to look after their puppy and events unfolded and we have the pleasure of looking after Max.

Now Max is fabulous, I won’t have a bad word said against him. He loves a cuddle, responds quickly to his name and is easily distracted.

So, when he does get into mischief, which generally means someone left a bedroom door open or did not pick up their stuff. Max being Max will investigate. Max is a dog, without opposable thumbs, means that said item /object travels into his mouth, is moved, taste tested and flexibility tested with his teeth.

Swapping said item out of his mouth for one of his toys is easy. Why? Because we have trained swap since he first started in class.  When we swap, I always recommend playing with the new toy with him for at least 20 seconds , we do this to ensure he forgets  about that said item, which remember made me,  get up and move over and interact with him and when I put the item away  on to a table, he will leave it alone for good.

He really is a sweetie.

But the biting of our hands! I had forgotten this …. those razors, I mean razor-sharp teeth, that graze your skin. Ouch, I had forgotten them. Now that means if I don’t remember it …. It does not have to last long. BUT that is very different from saying he will grow out of it!  IN fact, i can professionally say this is not going to happen and the pup does not grow out of it . Add on that sounds a long and painful joourney!

My standard advise in puppy class is to make sure you always play with your dog through a toy and a large long one at that.

 So why am I feeling those teeth?

Timing is the answer … What, what do I mean by timing? What has timing got to do with teeth?

Having had the privilege to spend time with Max and truthfully blocking out my diary to be with him and rostering the kids on to be with him. We as a family have made time to observe Max.

We have not spent every moment playing with him. In fact, one of our aims was not to do that since Max would go home to his owner, sans other dogs and kids and someone in and out all day.

What did we find out?

1.Max is super bitey or well we prefer to say Max is Gnasher Max when he is tired. He will get chompy, we give him several larger toys to chomp on, big toys I mean pillow size and he is out within 3-5 minutes.

2.Max is super bitey, Gnasher Max when he needs to go to the toilet. Often, he will wander off and toilet outside ( yeah ) but other times he will come over and sit by me, looking adorable and I will stroke him. He will love it for 1-2 minutes maximum and then he will turn into Gnasher Max.

Sure fire, if I ask him to follow me or accompany me outside I will get a movement or wee.  Now since I am outside and delighted he has toileted, I or we play with him, chase the ball, find the ball in the flower bed, shake, tug, he will relax and chew his ball, chew on the grass and settle down to more cuddles, belly rubs and then I or we  can wander off to sit and watch him,self-entertain or play or snuggle with the other dogs.

Now if for some reason, I am playing with him and Gnasher man returns …. There is only one other answer to his needs. He is hungry.

Word of advice, never walk Max hungry …. He is will chomp on his lead.

Return home, feed him and set off again. No chomping, NO Gnasher Max, Happy Contented Max.

Often owners tell me that when they get home from work or when the kids return from school, they get Gnasher Max at their homes. I would take the time to test our findings. Nothing like a little bit of excitement to make you want to pee. Nothing like company to want to make you play, nothing like play to make you tired.

The kids have loved having Max, they have loved his joyous nature and gangly limbs, his cuddles, and understanding that his needs, drive his teeth. That they can manage this, that they can see in his eyes, he is tried. They can test if it is a full bladder or empty stomach

Most importantly, they realize that Max is not mean …. Not a bad dog …. Not dominant …. Not stubborn ……

So, if you have a Gnasher at home ….   I hope our findings help and remember these words a wise trainer once told me

“Your dog is speaking to you all the time. remember to listen with your eyes” …. Pat Miller

For more training advice on raising your Puppy to be a Happy Contented Dog

Check out www.letsgofido.com.au

Or contact me, louise@letsgofido.com.au