Are you guys ready for this one? As a professional dog trainer myself I occasionally find articles on the internet such as this one and help you decide what is good advice and what is bad advice. And I offer you my opinions and my my own personal experience from working with dogs.
So I have not I have yet to read this article but let’s go on this journey together. This is by Ben Randle it was published yesterday. What to do if your puppy keeps biting you by expert trainer Ben Randall! I’ll be the judge of that…
Here we go. Let’s see what Ben Randall has to say. I hope I pray to God it is all good information, and there’s nuance to it so let’s see.
“Don’t be fooled this behavior is cute for a day but will be a problem before
Scare Tactics already man, I don’t know.
“Getting a new puppy is a joy most of the time but it’s not always easy especially if your new pup starts nipping and doesn’t stop. Ben Randolph shares his advice on what to do when reality bites.”
This is this is running like like, like a news piece from Fox News…
“At first it’s all lovely puppy cuddles and snuggles and you can’t quite believe that this adorable youngster is now part of your life. However reality soon bites often quite literally. Your baby shark starts to enjoy sinking his or her teeth into you with alarming regularity. Of course it’s all fun and games an essential part of any young dogs growing up and teething but this biting issue can become a worry you’ll need to nip it in the butt before it becomes a bigger problem.”
The question is how, yes indeed Ben, how are we nipping this in the bud? Is it ethical? Are you meeting your dog’s needs? Let’s see.
“This is exactly the predicament that LF from Warwickshire who shared her concerns via our email address
Dear ben, my boyfriend and I have recently got our first dog a really sweet poodle and Lhasa Apso cross called, Betty. She is now 10 weeks old and a complete Delight in so many ways apart from the fact that she seems to enjoy biting and nipping me. The other day when I bent down to give her a fuss she jumped and bit me on the lip which was really quite painful. She isn’t doing this with malice and I know she’s only playing but how should I handle this?”
First off let me address. A lot of dogs don’t like being bent over. Let that sit with you for a minute. Some dogs do not like being bent over and depending why the behavior is happening in the first place, because we as we all know behavior is very individual.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all policy. So when I’m looking at a client who is telling me about their dog jumping up this is two behaviors, right? Jumping up and biting. These are two separate behaviors. Jumping up and biting the lip is the response to you leaning over your dog.
That is a very scary thing. Put yourself in your dog’s shoes. You’re a little thing. Big tall human leaning over you. You’re looking up like “oh my God get away!”
Some dogs in response that actually jump up onto people to try to push them away because it’s a very uncomfortable situation. And some dogs might become more playful in this interaction. And sometimes they lose control of themselves a little bit and they’re like listen I’m just trying to be playful, that’s a little scary, please don’t do that. And maybe it does turn into a nip. So again it’s all very individual.
Let’s see what Ben has to say.
“I can honestly say with all puppies that I have bread and trained myself over the past 30 years or so, thanks to my BG training regimen?”
What? Did he just did he tell us what BG means?
“Which I have been developing for decades now.”
So he’s already full of himself, okay.
“I hardly ever experience this, however, I do see the issue on a daily basis with my clients new puppies and young dogs.”
So he’s establishing his dominance already as if to say “I am the expert.” I do not like that vibe. All right so he’s established, Ben has established his dominance and his abilities. Well no abilities demonstrated yet, but he’s established his dominance.
“So I have to ask why is this happening with them and not me. I believe that it’s because in most cases they have enrolled in a puppy pet class where the….”
Ben…has your 30 years of experience taught you nothing?
“I believe that it’s because in most cases they have enrolled in a puppy pet class, it involves constant primary with food, and lots of over excitement and play. Often these courses also advocate for playing tug of war and chasing games with your dogs. New owners are told to buy a tug rope tug from the pet shop and teach their puppy to play tug in a bid to keep them occupied and burn off energy.”
Fantastic thing to do by the way! Fantastic way to burn off energy.
“Let’s talk about the trouble with this advice however. Is that when you don’t have a toy with you your feet hands and trousers and sometimes even your face become a tug of war game.”
Let’s be honest it’s probably not going to work for the majority of dogs out there. A lot of dogs don’t even like playing tug! When I see this kind of information out there I am reminded of one dog in particular, who had resource guarding tendencies, that I was puppy raising. And the dog would tug with you, but if you didn’t understand dog body language you would have you might have thought that the dog likes tug! No, no, no, here’s what happened.
As soon as I dropped the toy he would run away and he would stay away. This dog did not enjoy tug. And if you would continue that game he would become, I could easily see it becoming leading into biting and guarding behaviors around a person. This dog a hundred percent did not trust people with toys. And grabbing it from the dog’s mouth…and I feel like this is where a lot of this advice has its roots in. Because they kind of understand, these trainers kind of understand the surface level of why these arguments are here, but they don’t actually look into it deeper and understand. No this could be resource guarding behavior.
It took two three months of me like oh here’s a toy let me trade, here’s treats, lots of trading, lots of giving the toy right back after the food trade. And after two three months the dog was perfectly fine. We actually were able to play tug!
Reiver was able to play tug with this dog and I never saw any resource guarding, nipping, biting behaviors from this puppy. I did take the time, I took the dog’s feelings into account and I was able to read those subtle behavior changes. Tug was not good for this dog.
Did it become something that the dog enjoyed later on? Absolutely, a hundred and ten percent.
Anyways. Not impressed so far. Let’s see what else Ben has to say.
“Therefore I strongly believe that is not wise to play tugging or chasing games with your dog even if they are going to be a pet and not a working dog. Avoid these types of games as I like to interact far more with my puppy and I call them more structured way in terms of building your foundations for life. I also want my puppy to sleep and relax for a high percentage of time so that it learns to switch off in all sorts of situations.”
You’re not gonna have a problem with that because puppies sleep. But you will have a problem with is if you do only play exciting games and you don’t teach them how to naturally settle, you don’t teach them how to chill out a bit more, you don’t start like maybe you’re just too energetic and your body is very spazmatic in the way that it moves. It pumps your dog up really easy right?
Yes it is very important to teach your dog to have an off switch per se. Some breeds are naturally more difficult to teach an off switch to than other breeds.
“Therefore whilst I am pottering around the family home doing my normal household duties I like to see my puppy asleep in the bed in the kitchen, totally relaxed, not bothered by I or anyone else is doing.”
First off Ben, hello I raise service dogs for a living. Hi how are you?
I do not allow my service dog puppies in the kitchen, period. Especially at an early age. We will do different kinds of exercises in the kitchen such as loose leash walking, sits-downs-stays, looking at your, paw pad stuff, and heeling practice. All those things but I only do structured interactions in the kitchen.
If you’re just letting your puppy around the kitchen you’re going to teach it to jump on the counters eventually. Especially if you have some hot roast that came out of the oven that you’ve been making and put on the edge of the counter. You’re going to teach your dog to counter surf and to jump onto counters and steal things off of it.
That is a basic rule that I have for all of my people going through my program, is that you’re not allowed in the kitchen. They’re not allowed in the bathroom. That’s also how they could learn to open trash bins and start foraging in the trash bin. That’s not a good habit either. That’s a highly reinforcing behavior because the reinforcement always changes. Same thing is never in the trash can.
So already like, I’m not super impressed with that advice. Do you want them to relax? Absolutely. You might want to change location from the kitchen to the living room. Or keeping a leash on you with a carabiner so that they’re attached on your hips so that you can focus on your puppy. It’s a full-time job raising a puppy, it’s a full-time job.
“I’ve been perfecting my BG (Bush Foundation) methods for nearly 20 years and know that the best way to have a happy and chilled out puppy is to teach steadiness and restraint at meal times.”
I was really hoping for this to be a good article, I really was. I can tell you haven’t updated your methods for 30 years. This is why continuing education is so important.
I am surprised that basic needs have not yet been addressed in this article. Where are you teaching your dog to find food, and to sniff, and use snuffle mats and exercise appropriately?
I feel like Ben has taken the stance that “oh your dog’s just over exercised, it doesn’t get enough sleep, which it all can be very, very true again. This depends on an individual situation with which each person, each household and each dog. I feel like he’s totally skipped over enrichment! Because enrichment is also a very pivotal part to teaching your dog, especially scent-work based enrichment, can be a very pivotal part in teaching your dog to chill out and use their brain and become mentally tired not just physically tired. I’m surprised that hasn’t been addressed by him.
I’ll let you know if I find a better article with puppy stuff. Maybe I should just write my own, honestly. Sorry for that disappointing trip guys. Not what I was expecting. Well guys thank you so much for joining.