Virginia Simpson and Chance

Ask The Trainer

Puppy Biting and Nipping


We have a 14 week old German Shorthaired Pointer. He is biting and nipping at us (pant legs, arms, shirts,whatever he can grab).  This happens 2 or 3 times a day. The more we use a loud "no" or "ouch", the more he comes back at us with barking and biting. Walking away or standing still does not work-he just keeps coming-and trying to divert with a chew toy doesn't either. I am now putting him in his crate for a timeout for each episode, which he balks at, so I beleive he knows he's misbehaving.  Will he outgrow this or is there something else we need to do?  The trainer at our vets told us to put a pinch collar on him, which we did, and use when he bites at us.  However, we didn't care for that and are not using.  I thought he was just too young for that (it did help with his pulling when walking, but still not using). Will interaction with other pups/dogs help? (from Wilmington, OH)    ~ Joy Cooper



Hi Joy,

Your instincts were right about the pinch collar.  He is a little young to be using that equipment just yet.  However, having a  short leash on him when he is out of the crate and under your supervision would be very helpful with this.  If he starts this behavior, you can give a verbal “no” or “eh eh” and scoop up the leash and hold him away from you. Then just hold as still as you can using a gentle tug and release movement with the leash until he sits down and looks at you. Then you tell him “good” and release him.  Might have to do that a few times in a row, but just stay patient because he will get the picture if you are consistent and don’t get overly excited about it.  If you don’t have time for that, there is no reason in the world why you can’t put him in his crate to give him time to settle down.

Exercises to do with him that will help with this problem from occurring in the first place is to teach him “stay” commands.  As pup, you can start out merely by tethering him to you with the leash.  For example, while you are sitting in front of the TV or on the computer.  Put your foot on his leash and hold him there for 15-20 minutes.  Usually after 5 minutes, he will just lay down and go to sleep.  Then you start working on “sit and stay”, “down and stay” and a place command where you can put him on a place mat until released off.  These commands all build on spatial control which are leadership exercises, and you just don’t put your mouth on the leader!

Make sure you have plenty of appropriate items to chew on around, and keep trying the toss off and away maneuver too.  Plenty of exercise for this breed!  These guys will run miles!  Obviously he’s not at that age yet, but he will be a very active little puppy with what looks like endless energy.  So, make sure he’s got ample opportunity to run around outside and play fetch and other fast moving games.

Signing up for a puppy class would be a great thing for him. The other puppies will help teach bite inhibition and keep him well socialized with other dogs.

Thank you so much for you inquiry and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Virginia L. Simpson, CDT
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
4955 Creek Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242