I answered a similar question in my blog recently.
The question was:
What did you do to get over the nipping and teething phase?
My answer was:
Shiba puppies are SO MOUTHY. More so even than most pups. Snickers drove me insane as a puppy. He played so rough with my daughter - practically chewing on her - that she almost started to hate him for awhile there. It was a bad scene. To make it worse, when we weren’t there for him to chew on, he chewed on the walls, the baby gates, his toy box, the furniture, etc…
Luckily, he didn’t bite ME much. When he did, I gently grabbed his muzzle or the scruff of his neck, gave him a little (very little) shake and told him no (very firmly). That didn’t work for my daughter though, because he didn’t respect her enough to listen to her correction. We had to come up with a way for an "equal" to stop him; he thought of her like a littermate, so our solution was for her to act like one! Whenever he bit her, she would YELP like a hurt puppy and then turn her back on him and ignore him for about 10 seconds. It worked like a charm. His puppy brain completely understood and he had totally stopped biting her in about a week.
Unfortunately, the teething was much harder to deal with. The only real solution - especially when we weren’t home - was to protect everything that we could and give him plenty of safe things to chew on. If he chewed up something important to us, that was our fault for leaving it where he could reach it. (The crate is your friend when you can’t be there to supervise.)
One good aspect about the chewing… it really calmed him down. I found LOTS of good things for him to chew on - bones, tendons, rawhide - and he would chew them like a baby uses a pacifier. Whenever he needed to calm down, he chewed! He still does actually. :)
Another great tip that I didn't include in that post is redirection. Puppies explore everything with their mouths. When she is just exploring and being a puppy, give her a toy to bite/chew instead of your arm. You want her to bite and chew the right things while learning not to bite people.
You are right about the growling/submission/dominance advice being BAD advice. People who think training a dog (especially a PUPPY) is simply a matter of dominance and submission do not understand the concept. To be an actual leader, you need to be respected by your dog, not feared. Shiba Inus are especially smart and independent which makes it even more important that you form a bond of trust with your dog instead of trying to make them bend to your will out of fear.
Bite inhibition is crucial for a dog to live a long and happy life as a companion to humans. Snick's bite inhibition is amazing. It is so good, in fact, that recently when he was startled by another dog and turned to snap at them but my hand was in his way he STOPPED in my snarl/snap so he didn't take the chance of hitting my hand. I've accidentally bumped him when he's sleeping and had him react the same way; he'll wake up ready to take on whatever dog disturbed him and immediately stand down when he realizes it was me.
I suggest focusing on building your bond with your puppy. She is not too young to start basic obedience and leash training. Start teaching sit and shake. Reward good behavior with treats. Take exploratory walks outside together. Let your dog how you how wonderful the world is for a puppy! Hand feed her a few times a week at least. Spend time doing nothing with her - just take a nap (if she'll hold still that long). The more you bond with her, the more she will listen to you and want to please you. Above all, be gentle, consistent and fair in your corrections, so she is completely clear on what you want from her.
I got Snickers at about 9 weeks old also and, honestly, there were a few times I wasn't sure if we'd survive his puppyhood. He's 5 1/2 years old now though and he's the most wonderful canine companion I can imagine.
I hope that helps some!
jenna & snickers
· 1 decade ago