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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

We brought home our Vizsla pup, Marla, almost 3 weeks ago and have had a ball. However, I'd like some advice on stopping her nipping us. She gets very excited and nips our hands, feet, legs, faces, anywhere she can get hold of. We've tried saying no firmly, water sprays, screaming/yelping, ignoring her, barking, banging a pan with a wooden spoon, you name it we've tried it but to no avail. She's not fazed by anything at all.

She's getting so rough now that she's drawing blood. We don't know what to do...?

She's 10 weeks old.

Also are there any games we can play with her to encourage independent play and to wear her out a little? She's not interested in kongs, she does play with toys and cardboard tubes. We'd also like to have a few games we can play with her that don't get her to over excited, and start nipping. We've taught her to sit and down.

Thanks in anticipation

Marla's mum and dad xxx
 

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Firstly, congratulations!

I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as others on this site, but I had to reply as we also have a 10 week old V!!

The nipping is a royal pain, and seems to fairly typical, but temporary. We have been teaching ours the 'off' command, it works about 60% of the time, and when it doesn't, we stop play immediately, and sometimes I leave the room to give him a bit of a time out.

It's a work in progress, but your pup will calm down - just keep going!

Re the games, have you tried tying a string to a soft toy? (like a fishing rod) Fez loves this and it really knackers him out!
 

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Hi Marla,
Someone suggested bully sticks to chew on when my pup was young. Those occupied him for a little while and gave me some much needed space! You can find them at pet stores or feed stores. Also, has your pup gotten to play with any other puppies or vaccinated dogs? I've heard that this helps to ameliorate nipping since they get it out with other dogs who teach them some bite inhibition. If you need other healthy dogs, try looking for a puppy class/ kindergarten to play. You seem to have tried a lot, so the only thing I can suggest is to up the exercise & buying bitter apple spray (also at pet stores). Not all dogs hate it, but luckily mine did and when he started biting my hands, i'd spray it on there and he'd leave me alone. sometimes he'd clamp down on my pants because in the wind, I guess they looked fun to chomp on (not funny!) and I'd have to throw a can of pennies somewhere near him to startle him a little bit and redirect his attention. The point is not to scare them but just to get their attention so that you can engage them in another way.

For play, I really liked a hunting game: tie a small stuffed animal to a long stick and spin in circles to get the dog to stalk, point, chase the toy. You can do it slowly to work on their concentration or fast to get them to run around. Make the string longer if you want more range of motion. I also play with a small soccer ball a lot and my pup chases the ball (tries to get it away from my feet). We also explored a ton once he had his second shots and I let him run off the leash in safe areas (sand volleyball courts, fenced in soccer field, and fenced parks early or late (when there were no children).

I think draining some excess energy might help with the nipping. It'll get better!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Mrs Mac and Laurita,

We really appreciate your advice. She is a delightful little pickle! Hopefully she'll grow out of this nipping stage then. It's reassuring to know we're not the only ones with a nippy puppy! Marla seems to listen to 'gently' when indoors, and nibbles rather than drawing blood. However, when outside she has selective hearing and doesn't listen to anything!!!

So far Marla has only met one other dog since moving in with us, a staffy/lab cross, she was afraid of her!!! She'll get to meet my sisters boxer, Ronnie, in a few weeks and another friend has an older lab she'll meet soon. As soon as she has her jabs we'll get her out and about more and meeting more friends!

The hunting came sounds fun, we'll certainly try that.

Thanks again xxxx
 

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No, you're definitely not alone. Mine was a tazmanian devil for the first month or so & now at 5 and 1/2 months, I can hardly recognize him as the little dervish that he was! He still has his hang ups but they're muuuch easier to handle.

Don't worry- getting puppies to listen outside is a huge challenge b/c of all the distractions. Work on getting her to come to you with some nice treats when she does and also work on getting her to sit attentively and look at you outside (with some very nice treats). It takes time, but their attention grows remarkably over time. Work on training and making training fun (for instance the hunting game starts when my pup sits. After he catches the bird, I ask him to sit and then the game starts again) and she will outgrow a lot of those puppy traits.
 

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Just keep redirecting the energy. When Copper opened his mouth, I shoved a toy in it. ;D If he dropped the toy and kept at it, I ignored it. When he came at me again, I stuck my hand in his mouth and squeezed his snout a bit. If he kept coming at me, I said leave it and put him in his crate or sometimes, I would put the leash on him and take him out and run him around! The point is - don't let him keep it up. :) Boy, those were good times! ;D
 
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