Tips to Stop a Puppy From Nipping and Help With Potty Training

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 6, 2017

Edamame is a nine-week-old Goldendoodle puppy who was recently adopted and now lives in downtown Santa Monica. His guardians have never had a dog before so they booked a puppy training session with me to make sure they get stated off on the right foot and help with his nipping and mouthing.

Edamame was almost comatose in one of his guardian’s lap while she petted and stroked him. when I arrived for the session.

Because the two sisters who adopted Edamame had never had a dog before, the first part of the session covered basic puppy behavior as many of the things Edamame was doing were concerning to them. After assuring them that his vocalization while chewing was normal, I went over the benefits of setting up a puppy play pen to keep him out of trouble and give him room and time to run around.

His guardians had been limiting his access to the apartment, keeping him on their laps. But this essentially bottled up his energy which can have a cascading effect on behavior. Basically they had given him a case of cabin fever.

His guardians wanted to work with him on some basic training, but because of all of his pent up energy, he wasn’t able to focus for long. I am including a video I shot with another puppy a week or so ago so that his guardians can repeat the training once he isn’t so full of energy.

I also strongly recommended his guardians look into local puppy socialization classes. Not only will this help with his basic commands, the socialization experiences with other puppies his age will be invaluable.

Because Edamame is in his Critical Socialization Period, I made sure to stress how important it is to get him plenty of experiences to ensure he grows up well adjusted and confident.

I recommended that they download the Critical Socialization checklist included in the above linked post and to sort the list based on the experiences that he is most likely to experience in his daily life.

To help the guardians avoid creating situations that result in Edamame developing a negative association of the experiences on the checklist, I spent a couple of minutes going over how to expose a dog to new things that may be challenging.

Its important to not force a puppy to experience things and allow them to move away when startled or scared otherwise they may develop an issue around it in the future. I also made sure to stress that the Critical Socialization is a fear period where its important to not expose your pup to things that may turn bad.

Later we spent a little time going over some potty training tips but because it was so dark out I couldn’t shoot any videos. I promised to share one I shot with a different client and you can watch that video below.

Taking Edamame out on a regular basis will put him in a position to succeed when it comes to eliminating in the proper place. Puppy potty training is all about recognition and timing. The more often your puppy finds itself outside when it needs to go, the easier potty training is. So taking it out once and hour and the times a pup is more apt to need to go will speed up the process considerably.

The last major issue we addressed was Edamame’s mouthing and nipping. This was causing his new guardians quite a bit of concern so I shared some secrets to put a stop to the mouthing and nipping.

The three puppy training tips I share in the above video will give Edamame’s guardians different options to use to prevent or stop a puppy from nipping.

We wrapped up the session with Edamame’s guardians picking my brain on a variety of topics related to raising a puppy. I suggested they pick up a book on the subject due to their unfamiliarity and to call or text me with any questions they have moving forward.

Finding Edamame a puppy class will help greatly to reduce a number of his unwanted behaviors like nipping. Additionally the social interactions he will get during the classes play time period will allow him to develop social skills which is a skill that will pay off richly for the rest of his life.


  • Prioritize and sort the Critical Socialization Period checklist and work like crazy to introduce Edamame to as many experiences as possible before he hits 12 weeks.
  • Use the gradual exposure approach outlined in the video for any challenging experiences that Edamame has difficulty with during his Critical Socialization Period.
  • Avoid forcing Edamame to do anything (like pushing him off or his butt into a sit.
  • Check out the free puppy training tips detailed in the Quest Ed section of the Dog Gone Problems website.
  • Find a local puppy socialization class that uses positive reinforcement and incorporates socialization / play time.
  • Practice passive training; petting Edamame whenever he engages in any action they want to train him to do (while saying the command word only) at the same time.
  • Set up a puppy play pen and put Edamame in there when he can’t be supervised.
  • Take the puppy out at the specified times and once an hour to go potty.
  • Take Edamame to non traditional dog locals like Lowes and Home Depot to get him some experience meeting and interacting with new people.
  • Have new people ask Edamame to sit before giving him a treat or pet to train him to Mand instead of jumping up on new people he meets.
  • Carry around an appropriate chew item when at home so they can use it to redirect Edamame’s mouthing and nipping attempts.
  • Set up a bigger potty area on the balcony or puppy proof it so Edamame has enough room to move around to find a good spot to eliminate.
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This post was written by: David Codr

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