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Puppy aggressively bites ankles on every walk

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:21 am
by fafamama
Hi all,

Our black female Chow chow is almost 4 months. Her name is Fa Fa. She has been a dream in almost every aspect as a pup. However, on every single walk we take her, at some point she will start to grapple my leg and start to bite it quite aggressively. I have tried every method suggested here and on the web. i.e. ignore her completely for a minute or two, tell her "no" sternly, letting out a loud "ouch', pick her up and carry her for a block or so (recently she started going for the face if I pick her up), and distracting her with treats. All of this snaps her out of it for a bit but as soon as we start walking again, she'll grab the leg and sink her teeth into it.

There is no growling but it's definitely not play biting, which she stops as soon as she gets a stern "no". It's much more determined and aggressive. I have no idea what's triggering it as it appears to happen quite randomly. Sometimes at certain locations, sometimes when she's bothered by her lead, sometimes when my coat gets her attention and she'll start with trying to jump and bite the coat.
I'm really worried that this will continue as she gets larger and gets her adult teeth.

She does not do this to strangers, but will sometimes try and catch their clothing.

Has anyone had this issue with their Chow Chow? If so, how did you over come this problem?

Here is a picture of her:


Re: Puppy aggressively bites ankles on every walk

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:17 pm
by Boogie and Linda
My Boogie did this when he was a puppy. He would attack our legs and ripped most of my daughters pants with his razor sharp puppy teeth. We had to continue the very loud ouch and then ignore him until he settled and then start again. It was very tedious and we would barely make it around the block. We also took him to puppy training. He never did learn to walk well on a leash but he did stop biting our legs. Oh, and someone recommended getting bitter apple spray. If you decide to try it, test it first. My daughter sprayed herself with it and it turned out Boogie loved the stuff and he was all over her. Lol

Re: Puppy aggressively bites ankles on every walk

Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 1:44 pm
by Sirchow
Puppies bite, chew, nibble and hold everything as part of play, learning about the world and teething. My Bramble was horrendous as a baby but when she got her big teeth she stopped of her own free will. Distraction is the best way till they learn better and their teeth come in. Lots of rewards are needed. Sometimes you can keep back a small portion of their food and carry it in you pocket at all times and as soon as your pup starts make them sit, give a paw, lie down what ever works and then reward. If you do the same thing every time, and this can be done with jumping up too, distract, praise and reward, they begin to learn different behaviours. It may take a while till they get to walk far, If you only get to go a hundred yards without biting then count that as a good start. It will be worth it. Also use chews and toys can be used in the house as distractions and avoid stimulating mouth play with tugging toys and over exciting your pup.

Re: Puppy aggressively bites ankles on every walk

Posted: Fri May 01, 2015 6:18 pm
by Rory's Dad
I agree with Sir Chow, and btw nice to see you posting Sir...always a pleasure.

But to second the input, puppies will be puppies, and its up to you to teach proper manners. The description sounds like an attempt for attention. As a pup, any attention is good (kinda like bad press is still press). Turn that into positive reinforcement. As Sir Chow said: distract, redirect, reward. You need to teach that the nipping is not a desired behavior. Once the correct behavior is followed, they get rewarded. Treats are good, verbal encouragement, etc.

My newest pup is a bit of a reacher. Not so bad on the nipping, but will jump up and lunge for ANY treat. We have had to work with him to relax and wait. He knows when the treat is coming. Our dogs show, so I need him to be at my knee for leash walking, but can't have him up on his hinds. It's all about patience and correction. He gets no reward if he leaves the ground. We will walk and recircle until done correctly. I have his attention with the treat in hand and can wait for him to understand. If his teeth scrape my fingers, then its a fail, and we start over.

My 3 year old completely understands this process. Holding boiled chicken in my hand, he will wait until he is told 'bait'. Then he gently accepts it from my hand. No chomping whatsoever. I think I could have my fingers in the other side of his mouth and I wouldn't get a scratch. He is completely focused on getting his reward on my terms.

Re: Puppy aggressively bites ankles on every walk

Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 6:28 pm
by Kylea
My chow puppy Dolce went through a terrible phase like this at about the same age as yours. It lasted for I believe a couple of months but it felt like so much longer. Out of nowhere he would wrap his little front legs around one of mine & hold on while biting. It was quite stressful & like you, we tried all of the methods. I ended up buying a pair of rubber rain boots (that were ok to get inevitably damaged) & would wear them anytime I took him outside. These were a tremendous help! Puppy teeth are very painful & after buying the boots, I never felt them. They also allowed me to have more patience in my response & in working with him on this issue. I highly recommend investing in a pair, but most importantly, keep up the training methods you've already been utilizing. Even though it seems daunting, it will end. It is just a puppy phase.