"Where Paradise is Just a Howl Away"

Biting, Chewing & Resource Guarding


Puppies, regardless of breed, bite and chew. This is how most baby animals play, with each other and with objects around them. All babies want to inspect things by putting it in the mouth.

Most pups learn that chewing a stick or bone is fine, but chewing on one of their littermates or parents is not tolerated. Biting is acceptable up to a point. If the pup bites too hard, its littermate, mom or dad will let it know, vocally and physically, that too much pressure was used and that will not be tolerated. Thus, the puppy learns not to bite that hard. At least at that moment. 

A pup will need constant reminders of how much pressure is acceptable. Adults have a bite pressure of 1500 pounds, so bite inhibition must be taught at an early age.

As an owner, it is your job to teach your pup what's okay to chew and what isn't; and how much bite pressure he is allowed to use during play.

It is important to remember that you are a human, and the pup is a wolfdog. You are not a wolfdog, your pup should mistake you as another canine, and you should not punish your pup as another canine would. Biting back is not a permanent solution; in fact, you should not use any negative training if you want positive results.

If your pup bites too hard during play, flick him on the nose and tell him 'no' (never hit or kick your wolfdog). Then redirect that biting energy to one of his items, be it a bone or a toy. Praise your pup when he chooses to bite the toy instead of you.


Same with chewing. Take away from the pup whatever it is that he's chewing, tell him NO, then show him his own toy or bone. Show him the offending item again, with another firm NO; and then show him his toy again; repeat this action a 3rd or 4th time if necessary; give him his toy when you're done showing him the difference between a "NO" and his stuff. Praise him when he starts biting/chewing the toy. 

Teach your pup "Drop it" or "Leave it". Say this in a firm voice when you see your pup is biting something he shouldn't. With consistent training and reminders, your pup will learn this behavior over time. It could save his life one day.

Resource Guarding:

Some pups try to defend their new found toy by growling or snapping. This behavior is called resource guarding, and it varies in degree from pup to pup. Some pups only decide to guard their food, or a favorite bone. Others feel that anything they have in their mouth at the moment is worth protecting, including an item that does not belong to him; like dad's favorite hat or mom's favorite shoes.

Nip this behavior in the bud. 

Teaching Drop it or Leave it helps tremendously. 

If your pup gets defensive over his food, his toys/bones, or something he is not supposed to have, firmly take hold of the extra skin at the scruff of the neck and pull your pup away from whatever he's guarding (he may yelp or even growl, but he is not doing it out of pain; he's doing it out of surprise). Take whatever it is he is guarding, keeping a firm grip on his scruff, show him the item, say NO in a very firm voice, and then release the pup

If he tries to take the item or food out of your hand, yell NO again. Accompany with a firm flick on the nose if necessary. 

If he's guarding a toy or bone, only relinquish it once your pup calms down, and even then, don't let it go; hold onto it while your pup chews it. This teaches your pup to trust that you won't take his stuff away from him, so he doesn't have to be so defensive over it.

If your pup was being protective over something he wasn't supposed to have, take it away (accompany the action with Leave it or Drop it) and give him one of his items instead. Hold onto his toy or bone for a few moments while he gnaws on it before letting him take it.

If it's food he was guarding, set the dish down again, but keep your hand on the dish. Let your pup start eating again, but keep your hand in place. Move it into the dish and touch the food. If your pup growls or tries to put his face deeper into the dish in an attempt to push your hand out, say NO again in a firm voice. Do not back down until your pup can eat quietly with your hand in the dish and on him, without growing or stiffening. Do this consistently as your pup matures. You should be able to pick up your wolfdogs' food dish even while he is eating, or walk by him while he's chewing a bone without him growling or being defensive.

Acceptable Nibbles: 

You pup will go through a stage in his development called the "alligator" stage. Between 6 weeks to 4 months, your pup will want to grab everything with his teeth, including you, and your constant reminders and redirection training may seem futile. But this stage will pass, and with consistent training, your pup will learn to control his biting pressure by 5-6 months of age.

It is important to know that wolfdogs are naturally mouthy creatures, especially the higher content ones. As long as no excess pressure is used, your wolfdog will likely greet you or others with gentle nibbles on the chin. He may also elect to hold your hand in his mouth, or take in your entire head! But a well-trained wolfdog will know not to put pressure into these friendly nibbles.

Those who don't own wolfdogs or have never been around a true wolfdog may find this thought a bit scary, but those of us who know these animals are aware that this action is just another form of affection!