With this question I'm hoping someone with experience in this field and might be able to suggest how to treat behaviour of uncontrollable biting with a dog puppy.

Me (25 yo) and my mom just got a Border Collie, Blue Merle puppy two weeks ago at age of approximately 3 months. Previously, this dog was with another owner where this puppy was staying outside with other pups, however now we have him inside the house most of the time. He looks healthy (digestion, fur, teeth, general behaviour) and we also try to provide him with a healthy lifestyle.

The problem discussed in this thread is his excessive biting when someone is playing with him. I know he is a little puppy and his teeth are growing, and possibly he's in that phase where gum itching takes place, however I think his biting cannot be controlled. For example, initially when trying to calmly play with him, he shows his excitement and usually cannot hold back to burst forward to play. I kind of like it that he starts licking and all, but that licking soon turns into mild biting, and if I continue to calmly pet him, he starts biting more and more. Eventually also biting clothes, slippers, or if he is ignored, he starts biting literally everything he sees (even the floor sometimes). No gesture or raised voice prevents him from stopping or at least calming a little bit. Only if he is separated in some other room, he eventually cools down.

Might not be a good idea, but I tried slightly hitting his nose or butt when he is in the peak of his energetic biting. However, he understands this more or less as a game and continue to rip apart everything that he encounters. Please note that I would never go as far with hitting as hurting him in any way. The only reason of hitting him slightly would be to show him something like "Hey, this is the limit! You shouldn't pass it!".

Here, I would like to add that he has plenty of soft toys to play with (my hands sadly included as well ) and he often gets some natural dog-like snacks for biting. And currently, I'm waiting to get him vaccinated so then I can take him to long in-nature walk which I'm sure he will love. And maybe he will have a bit less energy for biting during the day.

Also, he pooping and peeing a lot (like +15 times per day of peeing would be a reasonable value) This feels more reasonable. However, I hope he will learn to control this over time and also somehow let us know that he needs to pee/poop, so then we could let him outside to do his stuff. Now, pee puddles are everywhere and we have to watch our step as if we would try and cross a minefield!  

I'm hoping to find any good book on this type of breed that would explain how to raise them and possibly how to teach them some fundamental as well as more advanced stuff. I'm sure this all is possible, since they are said to be very intelligent breed.

Here are few pictures of him:




  • Border Collies are dynamite in form of dogs. So much energy! I got mine some exercise ropes that he could pull and play when bored, and got a good mileage out of it... until he got strong enough to break said ropes.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


It's hard to diagnose this kind of behavior from afar, so I'll mostly list some tips that come to my mind in random order.

The breed is infamous for being extremely high energy and high maintenance. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep in difficult terrain for hours at a time. This resulted in high intelligence and high energy in the breed. In urban lifestyles they often lack an occupation that challenges that intellect and burns that energy, so when they get bored they find other activities to occupy themselves, including biting.

As soon as he applies any amount of pressure on your hand, you should redirect his biting to a toy. You can both play with the toy, but you will not be his toy. If he doesn't stop biting your hand, you should never slap his snout, but instead lay your hand around his snout gently and guide it away from biting your hand. For my own dog I found out that making her sit is a good way to calm her down if she goes crazy and plays wildly.

To occupy your dog there are different options available. First, get or DIY one or several "puzzle feeder", "slow feeder", "food dispenser toy" or "snuffle mat". Your dog should only get food via these feeders and not in a bowl. That way your dog has to work for his food and has some easy and rewarding challenges in his everyday life. We have some examples in our post Alternatives to walking a dog and there are many different options available online and in local shops.

Obedience training can also be a fun game and most Border Collies love it because traditionally they were bred to follow human commands. Cut or break some dog treats into very small pieces (to avoid overfeeding) and give your dog one piece for every command he follows. That way you transform dull training into a fun and rewarding game. Once he knows the basics like "come here" and "sit" you can gradually teach him new tricks. If you don't know how to go about teaching your dog tricks, I suggest watching some video explanations online.

Physically demanding games are a good alternative to herding sheep, but most of the time the humans don't want the same workout as the dog ;). Games like fetch or Frisbee can be a great option, but you have to teach your dog from the very beginning that the next ball or frisbee is only thrown if the last one was put close to you. You can even start playing a game of fetch with a soft toy in your house if you don't want to go outside.

  • This is a great answer! I want to emphasize obedience training. I recommend enrolling in a class to learn the right techniques, and get pointers for continuing training after the class. Remember, especially with dogs like border collies, training is a lifelong practice!
    – Gwendolyn
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 17:20

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