When you get a Cocker spaniel puppy, biting is one of the many things you will have to deal with and you had better deal with it as soon as it rears its ugly head.
So just how do you stop a Cocker Spaniel puppy from biting? When your pup next bites you, yelp loudly so that he knows he has hurt you and say ‘NO’ firmly. You should also stop playing with your puppy and turn your back on him for 30 – 60 seconds and ignore his approaches. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
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Cocker Spaniel Puppy’s Will Bite – It’s Natural
If you have recently welcomed a Cocker Spaniel puppy into your home, you will no doubt have noticed that he can be a little bit nippy. Don’t worry. It’s what all breeds of dogs do so you aren’t alone.
Your cute little pup isn’t being aggressive, his actions are perfectly natural and normal for a young puppy. He could also be displaying extra nipping and biting if he is entering the teething stage.
This is how they play and discover and explore their new world. This is fine but they need to learn to do it gently and with what’s known as a ‘soft’ mouth. They also need to learn that human limbs are off-limits.
When your pup starts displaying the telltale signs of nipping and biting, you need to nip this behavior in the bud. You have a very short window of opportunity to do this.
The average Cocker Spaniel puppy will start to lose his baby teeth around 4 – 5 months old to be replaced with his adult teeth.
Once he has his adult teeth he may not be biting and nipping because of teething, but if you haven’t taught him the ‘soft’ mouth and he still likes to play bite aggressively, you and your valuables could be in a lot of trouble.
Time For Bite Inhibition Training
If you’re new to the dog training world, you may never have heard of ‘Bite Inhibition.’ So what exactly is it?
Bite inhibition means a dog’s ability to control the pressure of his mouth when biting. To make sure that there’s little to no damage to the person or object that they are biting.
Teaching Your Puppy Bite Inhibition
Have you ever been bitten by sharp puppy teeth? It bloody hurts doesn’t it so you need to make your young Cocker Spaniel pup understands this and you need to do it straight away.
As I mentioned in the opening section, as soon as your puppy bites you, you have to make him aware that he’s hurt you. Yelp loudly and say ‘NO’ firmly.
You can be as dramatic as you like here just as long as you make him aware that he’s hurt you. Turn your back on your pup and ignore him for up to a minute. Avoid any advances he uses to try and get your attention.
Your pup may think your reaction is excitement which in turn will excite him. Now is definitely the time to turn your back and ignore his advances.
Once he has calmed down, you may turn around and play with him again. If he bites again, repeat the above, always make sure you make him wait for up to a minute before giving him any attention.
Now maybe a good time to introduce some of his toys to chew on rather than your fingers and toes. If he’s clearly intent on chewing something, give him something that he’s allowed.
If he nips you again, repeat the yelp and the firm ‘NO’, then give him one of his chew toys or even maybe a bone. This sort of training can help him realize that if he wants to chew, bit and nip, your fingers aren’t allowed but his toys and bones are.
Generally, one out of the two methods above usually work, maybe not straight away but certainly with a little practise and definitely a lot of patience.
However, if he persists with the nipping and ignores the toy or bone substitute you gave him, then you have two options.
You can either do the loud yelp and firm ‘NO’ once again but this time completely ignore him. Go about things as if he isn’t there.
The other option is to put him a room on his own and again ignore him. Obviously this needs to be a safe pave for him where he can’t do any damage to your belongings. Make sure there are no electrical cables that he could chew on etc.
Do not put him in his crate. Remember, proper crate training involves making your dog think of his crate as his own little retreat, his den even. It should be a place where he wants to for a little escape from the kids or just for a break. He should never associate his crate with punishment.
Like all dog training, these methods will need repeating, probably many many times before it eventually clicks with your pup.
But if you follow these steps every time he bites and nips, he will soon realize that his little play times are ending as quickly as they started and will figure out the reason why.
Your pup will continue to bite, especially as he’s teething but he will learn how hard he can nip you without you turning your back on him and stopping his fun time.
This is when you step up the firm ‘NO’ training. Even though he is still biting and nipping you, he’s doing it with a softer mouth which is great but it’s still not perfect.
What you need to do is exactly the same as what you have been doing. Yelp and say a firm ‘NO’ as soon as you feel his teeth, even though he’s not hurting you.
This will eventually learn your pup that even during his fun time, your fingers are not to be touched by his teeth at all.
We used to have a show Springer Spaniel and one of his favorite playthings was a gardener’s glove. He would play pull with it just like you would with a rope.
If you put your hand inside the glove and showed him, he would very gently nibble the end of the fingers until he was sure he wasn’t biting you, then he would slowly pull the glove off before trying to tear it to shreds.
We went through quite a few of those gloves….bless him.
So my point here is to constantly repeat these steps so your pup knows for a fact that he’s not allowed to nip and bit you or chew any of your belongings. He will eventually learn what he is allowed to chew and those will be his chew toys, bones etc.
The end goal is to have a well-trained pup. Repeating these steps will eventually end up where your pup will stop play if he mouths you, even if it’s by accident. He knows he’s not allowed to touch you like that and if he does you will stop playing with him.
If he does touch you by accident, reassure him then carry on playing.
The average time it takes to train a puppy like this is roughly 4 weeks. I’ve read books, online training methods, blogs and been to classes and 4 weeks seems to be the typical length of time.
However there will be the exception, some may learn slightly quicker, some could take a few weeks longer. Each Cocker Spaniel is different but they all will get there eventually. The key to results is patience, consistency, and repetitiveness.
Which Other Methods Can Stop A Cocker Spaniel Puppy From Biting?
The training methods I have discussed so far are the most commonly taught and the ones generally though to give the best and fastest results.
There are several other methods that people use and have gotten positive results from although I haven’t tried them myself.
Let’s have a look at some of the other common training methods.
Use Of A Choke Collar
Ok, straight off the bat I’m going to say I hate choke collars. Unless you are a trained professional then I strongly advise against using one of these.
The idea here is that whenever a Cocker puppy bites, you pull on the choke collar. This is very unpleasant for the pup, uncomfortable, actually painful is a more accurate word.
The puppy will realize that whenever he bites he will get the horrible painful choke collar treatment therefore he will eventually stop biting.
Personally, I think this is a cruel way to train a puppy. I am friendly with two professional dog trainers and even they refuse to train with a choke collar apart from in the most extreme circumstances which usually involves adult dogs, not puppies.
Grabbing Them By The Scruff Of Their Neck
This type of training is simple enough. Whenever your pup nips you, grab him by the scruff of the neck. I’m sure you know what this means but just in case you don’t, the scruff of the neck is the loose skin on the back of a dog’s neck.
The reason this training works is because the pup’s mother would do the exact same thing whenever he bit or misbehaved.
If you want to try this method, hold him by the scruff of the neck until he pauses momentarily, then give him a chew toy when you think he’s ready to be let go.
This method is pretty easy to do, to be honest. You don’t need to do anything other than hold him until he stops riggling. Don’t hold too tightly and certainly don’t shake him around. Repeat this until he stops his nipping.
Holding The Pups Mouth
The next time your pups bites you, put your thumb under his tongue and hold his lower jaw with the rest of your fingers. This will make him unable to bite you. Hold for 10 – 20 seconds then let go.
I have a friend who swears by this method but I’ve never tried it. While I can see how it would work, personally, the last thing I would want to do is put my hand in the mouth of a puppy with razor-sharp baby teeth who is already trying to bite me…..maybe I’m just a wimp.
Spraying Your Pup With A Water Gun
Water gun, water bottle, whatever you have that sprays water will do. This method is simple enough. When your pup bites, spray him in the face. Obviously this won’t hurt the dog but it will definitely annoy him.
The idea with this method is that you enough him enough so that he stops nipping you.
Anti-Biting Spray For Hands
This deterrent is similar to those used to stop humans from biting their fingernails. Spray the bitter-tasting liquid onto your hands and fingers. The spray is meant to be particularly disgusting for dogs and they will quickly stop biting you.
I have done a little research into this method and while it does seem pretty effective in stopping your fingers from getting bitten, it doesn’t stop your dog from biting other things it shouldn’t. I wouldn’t fancy putting this spray all over my house….it would cost a fortune.
How To Stop A Cocker Spaniel Puppy From Biting – Conclusion.
If you have read this far, you will know there are many options you have to train your Cocker Spaniel puppy to stop biting and nipping you and your family members, not to mention chewing on your belongings.
I’ve outlined my favorite method but whichever method you decide to try, there’s a few do’s and don’t’s which apply to all the training ideas I have gone over.
Do be consistent in your training. Stick to one method and repeat it over and over until your pup understands.
Do ensure all family members are following the same training method. Using different training from one day to the next will only confuse your pup
Do praise and reward your pup when he responds to the training and gets it right. Once he realizes that you approve of hat he is doing, this will only help reinforce his positive behavior.
Don’t play rough with him until he’s fully trained. Again, this will only confuse him and rough play will encourage him to continue to bite and nip.
Don’t smack your pup when he nips you. You don’t want him to be scared of you which is usually what happens when a pup is smacked.
Don’t put him in his crate or on his bed if he bites. Those are his safe places, his retreat, his den. They should never be associated with punishment.
Don’t allow him to ever get away with biting. As soon as you start his anti-biting training, you must reinforce it at all times.
Consistency is key when it comes to any form of dog training. Pick a method that you think suits you and stick with it until it finally clicks with your puppy.
Here is the link again to the online dog training Review I have mentioned.