This morning one of Snick’s "anipals" (that’s what the animals on Twitter call themselves), who also happens to be a Shiba puppy, asked:
@Snick_the_Dog what did your parents do to help you get over your nipping and teething phase?
This was not a question that Snickers or I could answer in 140 characters or less (not to mention that I was at work and Snickers doesn’t actually know how to type without my help). I knew I’d answered this question before, so I searched both blogs, but I couldn’t find it. Then I searched my GMail. Ah ha! Luckily for me, this blog entry pretty much wrote itself.
Shiba puppies are SO MOUTHY. More so even than most pups. Snickers drove me insane as a puppy. He played so rough with my daughter – practically chewing on her – that she almost started to hate him for awhile there. It was a bad scene. To make it worse, when we weren’t there for him to chew on, he chewed on the walls, the baby gates, his toy box, the furniture, etc…
Luckily, he didn’t bite ME much. When he did, I gently grabbed his muzzle or the scruff of his neck, gave him a little (very little) shake and told him no (very firmly). That didn’t work for my daughter though, because he didn’t respect her enough to listen to her correction. We had to come up with a way for an "equal" to stop him; he thought of her like a littermate, so our solution was for her to act like one! Whenever he bit her, she would YELP like a hurt puppy and then turn her back on him and ignore him for about 10 seconds. It worked like a charm. His puppy brain completely understood and he had totally stopped biting her in about a week.
Unfortunately, the teething was much harder to deal with. The only real solution – especially when we weren’t home – was to protect everything that we could and give him plenty of safe things to chew on. If he chewed up something important to us, that was our fault for leaving it where he could reach it. (The crate is your friend when you can’t be there to supervise.)
One good aspect about the chewing… it really calmed him down. I found LOTS of good things for him to chew on – bones, tendons, rawhide – and he would chew them like a baby uses a pacifier. Whenever he needed to calm down, he chewed! He still does actually.