Puppy biting is probably one of the most common behavior problems. For puppies, the best way to explore the world around them is to examine every new object by putting it in their mouths. Although nipping and mouthing is normal, young puppies may have difficulty controlling the strength of their bites, especially when they are overexcited.
To help inhibit your puppy’s biting, you should teach him to use his mouth only on appropriate objects, such as chew toys. Also, remember to reward your puppy when he uses his mouth appropriately. For example, praise your puppy when he uses his mouth gently to take a toy from you.
Owners can help their puppies learn how to use their mouth gently through bite inhibition training. When they mature, dogs that have learned bite inhibition as puppies are less likely to cause harm if they ever do bite as adults.
How to stop puppy biting?
You should never physically punish your puppy if he bites or mouths you. For example, if you respond to biting by shaking your puppy or holding his muzzle, you will only frighten your puppy or make him more excited, which can make the nipping worse. Instead, you should remove yourself from his reach and calmly redirect his attention to a chew toy.
Your puppy’s nipping and mouthing should taper off sharply once he has finished teething. When your puppy is about three to four months old, his adult teeth will start to replace his puppy teeth. When he is about six or seven months old, your puppy should have all his adult teeth. Try to be patient and sensible during this stage and remember that your puppy will eventually grow out of this behavior.
There are a few simple ways to teach your puppy bite inhibition and appropriate chewing behaviors. First, don’t allow your puppy to tug on clothing or toys when you are playing with him. You can help to discourage tugging by praising your puppy when he releases an object he has tried to tug.
Second, you should attach a house line or a leash to your puppy’s collar so that if your puppy nips, you can use the house line or leash to gently guide your puppy away from you. Lastly, make sure to give your puppy plenty of chew toys – it’s important that your puppy has an appropriate way to satisfy his desire to chew.
When your puppy grabs your clothes with his teeth and tries to play tug-of-war, you must show him that this is not acceptable behavior.
- Gently remove the item that he is tugging from his mouth.
- Immediately give the puppy an appropriate chew toy to redirect his behavior.
If your puppy tugs or chews on his house line or leash, spray the house line or leash, when it is not attached to your puppy’s collar, with a bitter-tasting spray.
The “Touch It” trick helps teach puppies bite inhibition. In this trick, puppies are rewarded for touching your hand and other objects, rather than mouthing them. The “Get It” gem helps teach puppies to use their mouths gently. If a puppy tries to snatch a treat from you, he won’t be rewarded.
The best way to manage your puppy’s biting is to think ahead. Try to anticipate what situations will make your puppy over excited and more likely to nip and remove him from those situations. For example, if your puppy nips at your children when they return from school, put him in his crate before they are scheduled to arrive home.
You can teach your puppy not to bite you:
- When your puppy bites you, immediately say “Ouch!” in a firm voice.
- Stand and turn your back to your puppy.
- After standing still for 20 seconds, return your attention to your puppy.
- You can give your puppy a chew toy to redirect him from nipping you again.
Repeat steps 1 to 3 each time your puppy bites you. If your puppy bites you three times in a row, give your puppy a command that he has mastered, such as “Sit”. Then reward your puppy with a safe chew toy and place him into his crate for some quiet time to chew on the toy.
Learn how to break your dog’s bad habits by following these step by step training videos! Click below.