Adventures in Puppy Training: He Likes the Taste of Flesh

Digger has been super well-behaved and I have rarely had to say “No!” to him. Until he started biting fingers.

What’s strange is that he didn’t do it at all for me and Dan the first few days we had him. Then I had a girl friend over and he bit her fingers a couple times. That same night, my brother came over and you would have thought Dig hadn’t eaten in days because he was ALL OVER my brother’s fingers and arms. And it wasn’t like he was just nipping at them — he was sinking his teeth in on them and not letting go.

Another girl friend of mine — who also has a maltipoo — came over a couple days later and it was the same story: finger-loving fun for Dig.

I was so embarrassed. I completely realize that biting fingers is probably a normal puppy behavior thing, but Dig had been so good with me and Dan — he hadn’t bitten our fingers at all. Instead of sticking with that same awesome behavior, here he was mangling the fingers of our friends and family. I had to keep saying, “He never does this — I don’t know what’s gotten into him,” which is what people usually say when it’s something that always happens and they’re trying to pretend it’s a new thing. So if I had been my friends or my brother, I would have been thinking, “Suuure, Lindsey. Yeah, this seems like a totally new habit. The way he’s ripping my fingers out of their sockets completely feels unnatural to him.”

So I did some research about how to get your puppy to stop biting people’s fingers. I’m supposed to say no, then I can either replace the finger with one of his actual chew toys, or the person who was bitten can say “Ow!” and pretend to cry so that he sees the person was hurt. None of this has worked so far. He seems completely heartless, or my friends and I are just really poor actors. He apparently prefers the taste and texture of flesh compared to the plush stuffed-tomato with built-in squeak and denta-twist chew bone.

My friends reassured me that it was OK and that they didn’t think any less of Digger, but I don’t believe them. I’m pretty sure my brother plans to never visit again. My parents and Dan’s parents have tried to convince me that once he passes his teething stage, he will be better and that his current behavior is completely normal.

Until then, no finger — and possibly toe — is safe.

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