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Question Of The Month


March 27, 2013, 9:06 AM
Q: My 10 week old Morkie was very quiet the first week. Week 2, she is now biting my hands, clothing, hair, and will charge at my face on the ground. I have been picking her up, looking her in the face, and dangling her feet to show pack leadership everytime she does it, along with saying "no"firmly, but she just won't stop. I am eliminating any play that engages rough behavior. I do not know if time outs will help. I'm not sure if one or any of those is what I should be doing. What is the best way to stop this behavior? Thanks :)
A: This is a common situation. The steps you have taken identify the problem behavior but they lack impact, there has to be a consequence that is rememberable. You might try adding a period of shunning. After a LOUD (needs to slightly frighten her) "NO" you pretend that she doesn't exist, the only eye contact is a menacing stare and a few words carry the same tone. She needs to feel that you don't like her anymore (just for a little while). Start with maybe 10 minutes and adjust accordingly. If you try a timeout it also needs to be rememberable, often putting her in her crate is not effective since many puppies like their crate. You can use another room or even a leash to restrain her where she can see you but she cannot interact with you. Most trainers say that you should not use your hands for reprimand since that involves the object of her action. I have had quite a few puppies in my lifetime and still the most effective reprimand is a quick, firm but not harmful thump on the nose and shunning. Diverting the play to another object, like throwing a toy can work for some puppies but that is only after a firm reprimand. As with any training attempt your response needs to be immediate, consistent and result in some sacrifice for your puppy.