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Dear Versatile Dog Expert:

I am the proud owner of a 12 week old Pudelpointer. I've had him since 8 wks and love him alot. My question is how 'mouthy' and/or 'nippy' should I expect a pup to be and how do I reprimand him when appropriate. I haven't had a dog in 15 years. We live on 6.5 acres so he has lots of room to play. However, we have two young children (8 and 10 yrs old) and his sharp little teeth and playfulness frequently results in someone getting bitten. It doesn't appear that it is mean or angry behavior, but he has drawn blood - e.g. three stitches in my wife's ear (the pup was going after her earring...)

I want to be cautious not to scare him with discipline. I don't want to jeopardize the trust that I believe has been established.

Can you give me some guidance? What should I do? How long will this last?


He is certainly a playful pup, isn't he?!?

But nipping you could be a combination of things. For one, he is mouthing everything so he could be teething and it feels good to chomp down on whatever is in his mouth. Try a washcloth soaked in chicken broth and frozen over night. This may keep his mind off of the nipping.

Now, nipping (with teeth) is also an act of dominance. Don't let him do this. If he nips your hand, stick your finger (gently) down his throat. After a few of those, he should stop. If he nips any other part of your body, you should try yelping very loud (this is what the mother dog would do). Eventually, if this does not work, you'll need to grab him by the scruff and gently shake him saying, "No!". The scruff is the extra skin between the shoulders. If he is still mouthy after the getting scruffed, then say "No" and roll him next time he nips. Your basically going through the steps of what the mother dog would do if her pup would nip her continuously.


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