Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

My New Puppy Is Biting Me So HARD And Is Infatuated With My Hands!

by Susie
(San Antonio, TX, USA)

Aussie, Heeler, mutt??  I don't know.  Cute??  YES

Aussie, Heeler, mutt?? I don't know. Cute?? YES

I recently adopted a puppy, Dakota, from a shelter at 8 weeks old. I've now had her for 2 1/2 weeks and she's a gem and I love her. Because she is a shelter pup, I am going on assumptions of her breed, but I see a major Aussie look to her (??).

NOW for the issue and background: I'm doing crate training and she seems to have taken to that very well. She's doing wonderfully with potty training and most commands. When we go to the door, I say "door" and she sits and waits patiently for the door to open. When I tell her to sit or come, she complies MOST of the time. When we are outside, "come" isn't as interesting as crawling under my deck or chewing dry leaves, but she's improving. Leash training has been better than I expected, but I know she's an unfocused puppy.

The problem we're facing is that she is aggressively biting my hands and arms. My hands have been swollen for more than a week now, and I am covered in scabs. I joke that I'm going to start convincing friends and coworkers that I'm not in an abusive relationship! My pup goes from playing to "I MUST EAT MY MOM'S HANDS RIGHT NOW!" or "I HAVE ONE MISSION, AND IT IS TO LITERALLY ATTACK THE HAND THAT FEEDS ME!" I've yet to find something that will help Dakota calm down. I've tried several ideas I found online: giving her a chew toy, whimpering like a hurt pup and turning my back, crating her during her "beast mode" to simmer her down, praising her sweet behavior, using the commands we've worked on, flat out stomping out like a 2 year old (she tends to cock her head at my bizarre behavior on that one), and at some point I end up looking at the clock and thinking she needs to be crated because she's overly tired. If any of these approaches were working, I wouldn't be writing this post (with puffy swollen hands). DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IDEA, OR 12???

We are starting puppy obedience classes at 4 months, but I don't want to deal with this until then. I'd like to nip this behavior now so that my girl and I are enjoying all of our time together. Of the things I've tried, the "overly tired puppy needs sleep" is my most effective device, but I feel like I'm forcing her to sleep too much. Telling her "NO" seems to rile her up. When she's in the mode, she will rear back and growl and bark at me (generally when I'm on the couch and I tell her "off" so as not to let her on).

Please help! I want to have a tight bond and teamwork when in and out of the house with her. I can't imagine ever going to a dog park, out for a long walk or run, or "pet-friendly" patio bar like this. One more thing... she was the only pup from her litter that was turned in. I have NO idea what her story is other than being turned in solo. Was she able to play aggressively and learn her boundaries with siblings? I don't know. Was mom around to scold the "beast" out of her? No clue. Total mystery as to what the first 8 weeks of her life were. With bruised hands and ego...HELP!!!!

Comments for My New Puppy Is Biting Me So HARD And Is Infatuated With My Hands!

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Similar
by: Neil Coy

I have a five year old Aussie and see so many similarities to your problem. Age has certainly improved Jasper's attitude but many times he still shows anger at being corrected. Super intelligent but a wide streak of stubborn. In particular when he gets something in his mouth that he is not supposed to have. He threatens to bite when corrected. When he was younger he actually would bite. If anyone provides a solution for this would you forward the information to me. neilicoy@yahoo.com

Puppy Biting
by: Nonnie

She's teething. Get her some teething toys. When she bites you tell her "no", firmly, and get one of her teething toys. She will make the connection.

She looks and acts like a border collie
by: Anonymous

I have a black and white border collie and your dog looks and acts very much like my border collie. They can be very stubborn and have a willful mind of their own. I would research border collie behavior. The only thing I can say is I have had to be very dominate over my dog or she takes advantage of any opportunity that she can. By the way my dog chews on hands, fingers, wood, wood wall trim, rocks, our fireplace brick, the dog is just weird. She barks at me unexpectedly for no reason. But I love her and her quirky ways. I would love to get a handle on the chewing. Mine is 8 months old.

Puppy biting thoughts
by: Anonymous

I never had the problem with my dog chewing items around the house, except kleenex and paper, so I may not be of help. But, I did have every textured toy known to 'dogkind' available to my pup. I also gave her ice to chew on. She loved it as a puppy through her first year; now she's only interested in it sometimes. So, it makes me think it soothed her teething pains. We also allowed her to chew on the towels we used as additional bedding. Somehow, she knows the difference between her towels and ours. An old cotton sheet torn into pieces offered her something to shred.

As far as stubbornness and dominance, in our case our dog responds better to quiet and gentle (and sometimes firm) directions. Loud or too forceful orders used to cause her to balk and react poorly. In a way, it's as if she seems to think of herself as part of a team, although she recognizes that she is the low-positioned member.

She does follow my hands as they give her directions. And, when she was young, her mouth usually followed her gaze; so, I often ended up with scratched hands. She has grown out of this behavior, so perhaps there is hope for your young puppy. Sorry I can't offer any immediate help.


reply
by: Anonymous

Our 9 month old aussie tore my boyfriends arms up, he stayed so scratched up from our puppy biting and clawing at his arms. My boyfriend would play with the puppy and the puppy was just playing back...the puppy didn't do it to me. I would redirect his attention to a chew toy, or bone filled with a treat. I would also give him a firm no and not let him touch me if he couldn't do it gently. Try to stay away from putting your baby in the crate as a form of punishment...the crate should be a place they enjoy and not associate it with being punished.

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