When Puppies Attack – Your Pants!


A common complaint from new puppy owners is that their puppy seems to want to play tug of war with their pants. Perhaps they are grabbing your sleeve or your shoes and socks – either way, it is important to know that this is generally a normal puppy behaviour, it is just not one that we dog owners appreciate.

Here are my top 4 tips for dealing with rambunctious clothes grabbers:

1. What does your dog want?
Dogs either like to create movement (terriers make rats move) or to stop movement (Border Collies make sheep stop running away). If your dog wants you to move then stopping means he is not getting what he wants. If your dog wants you to stop, then you keep moving and your dog isn’t being rewarded with you stopping. Figure out what your dog wants and you can make sure you are not accidentally rewarding your dog.

2. Give ’em something else to do!
If your dog grabs your pants when you are walking down the hallway, throw a toy for them to follow, have a tug ready to play with. Your aim is to redirect the puppy onto playing with things that are allowable while minimising playing with things that they shouldn’t play with.

3. Put them somewhere else!
We can not underestimate the value of a playpen or a crate for young dogs. If you have come home from work exhausted, puppy play can be pretty annoying after the first minute. Set yourself up so that if your puppy is annoying you, you can give yourself space and your puppy a space of their own. Don’t just pop them in their and hope for the best – go back to tip number 2, give them something to do to get rid of that excitement

4. You can’t bite my pants if you are…
Find something else that you can reward, and it is even better if you reward them with something that is incompatible with biting your pants. Sitting, for example, Heeling (walking beside you with the head looking up) or Touch (where the dog touches your hand with their nose) mean that the puppy is not able to practice a bad habit while they are being rewarded for a good one.

Remember that while you may get upset or cranky with an exuberant behaviour, but you should always be proactive and follow the 3 R’s of training – Remove, Redirect, Reinforce. 


About admin

Jen Higgins is a Dog Trainer and Behavioural Consultant covering Ipswich, the Western Suburbs of Brisbane and the Lockyer and Brisbane Valley. Her interest in Animal Behaviour extends to many fields of science including Neurology and Ethology as well as Zoology and Behavioural Science (Psychology).