The Puppy Trap

“Canine College, this is Sandra, how can I help you?”

Hi, I have a puppy and we need him to stop biting! He chews everything, chases the kids, jumps up and I just can’t take it anymore.
She will not stop jumping on me. She constantly bites and scratches me. I have a feeding tube, I can’t have her do that.

Pretty much every third phone call is about a puppy that is biting and sometimes it’s very hard to stay professional because that’s what puppies do.

A lot of times we get calls about families with two small children, a third one on the way while the pregnant mother is also disabled and waiting for a surgery. With all of that, they thought it would be the perfect time to bring a puppy into the house because the mom wants a Service Dog. Or just families with small children and then two weeks after getting the puppy, the kids get scared of the puppy because they are being chased around the house and bitten.

Puppies are supposed to be fun, cuddly, clumsy and cute. They are not supposed to be chasing and biting, but that’s exactly what they do, especially with small children.

Children are fun, they scream, run, wrestle, they are the perfect target for a puppy that is bored out of it’s mind. So chaos ensues. In these moments we trainers often wonder “Why? Why would you bring a puppy into all of that? Why now?”

Its true, its never a perfect time to bring a puppy into your life, but there are times where it is best to choose an adult dog, or no dog at all for the time being.

So when is not the right time to pick a puppy?

  • 6 months pregnant with a husband that is ready to deploy. You are literally by yourself with a newborn and then having an infant animal on top of it. Do you really want to raise two babies? One of which chases and bites – A LOT? Or think about being 9 months pregnant, you just got ordered to be on bed rest and you have to take the puppy out every three to four hours for potty breaks?
  • You got orders and will be pcs’ing soon. Your orders are for Italy/Hawaii/Korea/Germany. Flights can cost upwards of a $1000 for your pets (it cost me $2000 to fly a puppy from Germany to the USA in November 2021) and the military does not cover shipping costs. It’s not just overseas orders, many families have a hard time finding a new place to live when they PCS half way across the country. Most duty stations have somewhat the same pet policies. Just be aware that it’s not easy to find rentals with dogs, let alone, Doberman, Rottweiler, German Shepherds and Pit Bull Terriers. Know your host country’s laws. In Germany you cannot import Pit Bull Terriers or their mixes for example. So do you really have the money to take a dog with you? Buy a house? Pay pet deposits?
  • You are disabled with small children, upcoming surgery and want/need a service dog. Listen, I get it. I am disabled too. But right now is not the time. If you can hardly handle your small children because you are exhausted and in pain, you are only adding more stress to your plate. A puppy is not the answer. It takes two years and a lot of money to train a service dog. The dog will not be of help to you. On the contrary. Especially if you are already suffering financially due to medical bills, only having one income and raising two small children.

Puppies are hard work, not cheap and go through developmental stages. You are raising a baby predator. They chase, bite, and destroy. They need mental and physical stimulation. Often times we don’t even give them enough time to potty train and expect adult behavior out of a baby.

So before you get a puppy, evaluate your situation before you commit to bringing a baby predator into your life and if you do, find a trainer right away and start with classes. Manage your puppy, give them a physical and mental outlet and I’m not talking about sticking them in a backyard. A backyard does not provide a physical outlet in itself, unless you like them digging holes all the way to China.

Physical exercise is a mix of play, chase and fetch in small increments. A Flirtpole is a fantastic tool that gives high drive breeds a mental and physical outlet. They can chase, grab and pull and you can implement rules from the beginning and implement self control games.

Mental Exercise can make up for the lack of physical exercise if you can’t get them out due to weather. You can train them to do a trick, use puzzle games, or enrichment toys such as treat balls, licky matts, stuffed frozen kongs, or slowfeeders filled and frozen. Hiding yummy treats around the house, playing hide and seek, chewing on bully sticks, shredding a cardboard box etc. all that can help to fulfill your dogs needs of chewing, sniffing, shredding, searching, and training.

If you don’t know what chews or toys to get, we have a great list here!

Teething puppies are especially bitey. They pretty much chew on anything and everything. That’s because teething is painful. Their gums are inflamed and teeth are pushing through. It’s very similar to teething human babies. Luckily teething in puppies does not last nearly as long as it lasts in babies. Give them frozen carrots, watermelon, ice cubes, frozen washcloths (only supervised), bully sticks, trachea, Nylabones, etc.
If you don’t know what chews or toys to get, we have a great list here!

Arousal or Overtired? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not your puppy is over-aroused or just tired. In both cases, the puppy needs to be taken out of the situation and put up. Don’t feel bad to utilize your crate. We manage toddlers, why wouldn’t you manage your puppy? We have cribs and playpens for toddlers, you can have the same management tools for your puppy. As long as they are not abused, there is nothing wrong using them. That is where your stuffed frozen Kongs, licky matts or slowfeeders come in. A frozen carrot or simply a Kong Wobbler filled with treats. That way your puppy does not look at the crate as punishment and will soon go to sleep.

Puppies and Toddlers or young children… there is no easy answer. Supervise! Supervise! Supervise! Keep your puppy on a leash, because toddlers and young kids run and make high pitched noises. That’s when your puppies prey drive kicks in. This is where you have to remember that we are not in a Disney movie. Puppies are baby predators. They are hard wired to chase, tug and bite. Puppies WILL bite! So you have to control the environment and use common sense. Exercise, Train, Enrich, Manage!
If your puppy is biting your feet or chasing the kids, don’t push them away. They’ll only turn it into a game. Grab the flirtpole instead, redirect your puppy and then put your puppy up with a stuffed Kong.

Mike Suttle/Bill DotsonDetection Dog Workshop

Cost (non-refundable): $300 for Working Spots
$100 for Audit Spots
Mike Suttle (
Bill Dotson (

October 10th to October 13th LEO Workshop
October 14th to October 17th SAR/Nosework/Service Dogs/ etc.

REGISTSTRATION FORM:  Detection Dog Workshop Registration Form(PDF)
Detection Dog Workshop Registration Form (DOCX)
Please email the registration form to or send it to our physical address.

LEO Workshop
Focus: Narcotic, Explosives and HRD Detection. Officers will have to bring their own Explosive and Narcotic Odors. We will provide large and small HRD Source.

SAR/Nosework/Service Dogs etc.
Focus: HRD and any type of Odor Detection whether it is Nosework, Bed Bugs or Peanut Detection Dogs. Handlers will have to provide their source. We will provide large and small HRD Source and have Nosework Source available.

Topics for both Workshops Include:

  • Operant Conditioning
  • Scent Wall Training
  • Building and Capping Drive
  • Dog Selection
  • Odor Recognition
  • Commitment to Odor
  • How to develop a final trained response
  • Building a reward system
  • Troubleshooting

Both Workshops are limited to 15 K9 Handler Teams and 15 Observers

Please contact Sandra King to book this Seminar.
Phone Number: 315 486 7464
Payment is due upfront