My pawrents went through a really hard time with me when I was biting as a puppy. Out of nowhere, suddenly every time we went for a walk I liked to dig my little teeth into my pawrents legs and not let go! Apparently it hurt like hell!
My parents tried most things: standing still, turning their back and ignoring me. Squealing like a dog, clapping or making a loud noise. I just held on strong and kept tugging away. They tried to hold me away from them but it just felt like more of a game, and I could reach most wrists. Then, they tried placing me at the other side of the wall or gate. Now this worked – I couldn’t get at them but I found a way round this – open spaces like in the middle of a field where there is no getting away from me. I win!! Or so I thought. Actually to tell you the truth I can barely remember these incidents and certainly wouldn’t have wanted to cause any pain. I even caused my own pain, as at one point I cracked a tooth trying to bite off a buckle from a welly boot still attached to my pawrents leg.
I had entered into phase of over stimulation. I’d got myself so over excited that my hyperactivity was resulting in me behaving erratically, running around and chewing or biting things I wouldn’t normally show interest in. It was like I had been possessed and nothing could coach me out of it. During these times we can appear to be aggressive and some people mistake that we are biting because we are fearful. In my case it was just that I was over excited and had become mouthy and nippy. We play bite with other dogs all the time, I just didn’t realise I shouldn’t do this with my fellow hoomans; they don’t like it. And if you bite too hard sometimes they’d cry, especially that one time I pierced their skin.
Toning down the stimuli is the solution but sometimes this is difficult when you don’t know just what exciting things on a walk may cause it, or you’re not familiar with the signs from your dog.
Understandably, my pawrents were at their wits end and didn’t know what to do. They begun to investigate getting professional help and started sharing their challenges with other dog owners. Listening to similar stories from some friends and colleagues they heard about one solution they hadn’t tried that may have potential. Some remedies for one dog won’t necessarily work for another, as we’re all different, so it’s trial and error.
The answer in my case was a can of compressed air. Yes you read correctly – not hot air but compressed air in a tin! When I entered into the phase of overstimulation, my parents were able to refocus my attention and get me out of my fixated state by letting off compressed gas into the air. It made a hissing sound that shocked me. I suddenly woke up returning to the adorable soft puppy that I was, and wondering what the hell had just gone on. But it worked a treat. It kept me, my pawrents, and potentially others safe from any unintentional harm. It took 2-3 weeks for me to outgrow this stage and allowed my pawrents to notice the tell tail signs of the beginnings of my over excitement. This allowed them to stop, sit me down, and stroke me for 5-10 minutes to avoid my hyperactivity before continuing on our walks. Everyone was happy and to think I’m such a friendly softy today. I will only lick you when I’m excited and potentially hit you with my very waggy tail; unintentionally of course. The excited tail can’t be tamed and who’d want to come home to a dog with no friendly, so happy to see you, waggy waggy tail!