Behavior – Puppies that play bite + are aggressive with food

Dear Your Own Vet,

I just recently got an 8 week old Cocker Spaniel Puppy. So far he is doing really great, however he loves to bite when he is playing. I understand that this is what he did when he was with his brothers and sisters, but because his little teeth are sharp when he is playing with my kids it hurts them. So I am wondering what is a good constructive way to teach him that he can not bite.

My other question is, I used to have a dog that was aggressive around her food dish, so I am wondering is it best to feed an animal all alone where he can not be interrupted or should I keep feeding him in the kitchen where he might have to deal with getting interrupted every once in a while?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!


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Puppies that play bite - what to do!

All puppies play bite but this behavior needs to be controlled

Dear Samantha,
Thanks for contacting me about your puppy. You are quite correct that this is the behaviour that your puppy did whilst with his brothers and sisters. However, he now needs to learn bite inhibition and what he is doing is sore!
In the litter when one pup hurts another, they squeal, so you could try a yelp when he bites and when he pulls away get him in a calm state and then praise him. You need to have some toys available and get him to bite on these, so that he learns that toys are what he needs to put his teeth on.
I do not agree with him being fed in a quiet place. Put his bowl down and have him on a lead. After a few seconds, gently pull him away from the bowl and pick it up. Count to 5 and then put it down again. Praise him for being calm when the bowl went away. He needs to learn that anyone can take his bowl away. Once in a while  when you take the bowl away you could put it down with a tiny tidbit in, so that he learns that when his bowl is taken away, it will comeback with something nice.
I would suggest that you get this puppy into a good puppy socialization class as soon as possible. You and the puppy will learn a lot.

Dogs that are aggressive with food

Your dog should never be aggressive with people round his food


Kathy Clayton

Accredited Companion Animal Behaviourist &Professional Dog Trainer

+2711 783 3042  +2782 454 1750

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