Posted by: My Personal Vet | July 16, 2010

Ouch, Ouch, My Hands Hurt!

A Lesson in Bite Prevention and Inhibition

By the end of week two, I was exhausted. All of the midnight (and 2am and 3am and 4am) potty breaks finally caught up with me and then…the teething started. Dexter seems to have an uncanny ability to decipher between approved and unapproved chewing items. He’s an expert at finding the best stick in the pile and yet (surprisingly) chooses to leave my wicker couch and micro-suede chaise alone. I almost shouldn’t talk about it…I might give him some good ideas…

Unfortunately, at this point in time, my hands seem to land in the “approved” category. Why chew on a toy when Mommy’s meaty digits are right there?! I tried to grin and bear the pain of razor-sharp puppy teeth through the week, attempting to shove squeaky chew toys in place of my fingers, and then it happened: I broke down. I melted into a puddle of tears, stomping my feet like a 3 year old, “MY…HANDS…HURT!”

Clearly, it was time to consult Dr. Sharp. She quelled my initial fears right away…just because he’s trying to eat me alive, doesn’t mean that hes going to grow up to be a mean and aggressive dog. I also didn’t want to spend all my days yelling “NO” at my pup. Granted, I was certainly prepared for some chewing; he is a puppy after all. Much to my surprise, she said that “it’s better that he bites a little bit than not at all.” I’m sure that she could hear the confusion rattling around in my brain at that point and so she guided me to the holy grail of positive training:

Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training website:

In order to access the full article, you have to sign up but considering that the information is priceless and the cost is nothing, I highly recommend it. The site is full of great information about training dogs, cats, and other animals too!

I have to say that these tricks have worked great with Dexter! He’s not perfect, but far more often than not, we can play and roughhouse without finger casualties and I can actually see him really think about what he’s sinking his teeth into.

Get yourself a clicker and try it out!


About the Author: Joanna Doubleday

Joanna came on board with My Personal Vet as Practice Manager in August of 2009. She brings with her a crazy Tonkinese cat named Bella, her Catahoula puppy Dexter, and over 10 years of     experience in customer service and business management.  She has worked in a variety of settings including several years in both healthcare and hospitality.

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, she’s passionate about giving back to her community. She has done work on My Personal Vet’s behalf for Second Harvest Food Bank and the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce since joining our team.  She is also continuing her education at Cabrillo College in pursuit of degrees in business and health services.

Have something you’d like her to write about? You can email her at


  1. You might be interested in, Ian and Kelly Dunbar’s site. Ian is giving away two of his books on line: What to do BEFORE You Get Your Puppy and What to do AFTER You Get Your Puppy. The Assoc of Pet Dog Trainers exists because of Ian Dunbar, DVM.

    • Thanks Jackie! We’ll put that on our recommended list. It’s so good to get them off on the right paw!

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