This is our new puppy McGee. Perhaps you have heard that puppies are adorable to ensure their survival? As in, if they weren’t so darn cute, people would not put up with that exasperating puppy stuff.
McGee nips our hands, legs, feet, socks, shoes and loose clothing. The conventional wisdom to combat this behavior is to say “ow” in a high-pitched voice and walk away for a few seconds, mimicking the response that a littermate would make. It sounds good, but if McGee had our feet or legs in his mouth, he wouldn’t even let go enough for us to walk away. I tried it many times and my husband and son laughed at me. They pretty much refused to make any high-pitched noise themselves. I talked to a senior trainer and did a lot of reading. Just recently I had lunch with Lindsay, the owner of AnimalSense and she said, “keep doing it” (i.e., saying “ow”). From all sources, this is what I came up with:
One day last week, we noticed that he was loosening up enough when we said “ow” that we could calmly remove our body part – and sometimes he stopped entirely! I swear sometimes he lets go and rolls his eyes and says to himself “you humans are such sissies.” Overall, his mouthing is much more gentle (but he still has his moments – he is only 13 weeks right now).
So, keep it up. Puppies are worth the effort.