Stop Puppy Biting Now!

  • Are you struggling with a puppy that is a bit on the boisterous side and nips at your hands, arms, legs and anything that moves? I’ve been there! We’ve raised 3 puppies and even though they all have had different temperaments, they’ve each struggled with some form of puppy biting.

    The first step to stop puppy biting is to not encourage it in the first place. Your puppy needs to learn that he should never, ever put his mouth on a human. If you stick your hand in our adult labs mouth, he tries his hardest not to bite down on you. This is called bite inhibition. We got our Shih tzu puppy at a bit older of an age, and he has really struggled with learning this, but we have been consistent and he’s finally learning to stop the puppy biting.

    Don’t allow your puppy to suck on your hand or fingers. This goes against teaching your puppy that his mouth should never be on a human. When your puppy does this, say “ah” in a firm barky type voice and then replace your hand or fingers with an appropriate chew toy. This will help to teach your puppy what appropriate items are to chew on.

    Don’t play rough with your puppy. This also encourages biting behavior and your puppy is just doing what comes natural to him and thinks he’s just having some fun. You can only blame yourself if he develops this habit.

    Don’t play chase. If your dog starts biting at your legs or feet, stop moving and stand still. Say something like “ah” in a firm barky type voice.

    It is very important to start correcting this behavior as soon as you bring your puppy home. While it is not impossible to change this behavior when a puppy is older, it is a whole lot more work and very difficult to reverse. A puppy should learn that biting is inappropriate at a very early age. Once a puppy gets past his teething stage this does become a lot easier although teething is no excuse to let your puppy bite on you.
    To help with the teething stage, you can put wet washcloths in the freezer and once frozen give to your puppy to gnaw on. This will be soothing and may help eliminate some of the inappropriate biting.

    It’s also very important to provide your puppy with an appropriate chewing outlet. Although soft squishy toys are fun, dogs have a built in drive to chew on things that hard. This is a soothing behavior for your dog and one that should be encouraged with the right toys. Nylabones are a favorite of mine. Not only are the hard bones soothing to a puppy, they also help with teething and when the puppy is older in keeping his adult teeth clean.

    But remember, the most effective way to stop puppy biting is to be highly consistent in your training. Don’t even let it slide once when your puppy starts mouthing or chewing on you. You will be rewarded for your consistency with a loving and well trained puppy.

    Be sure to visit my blog Training For Dogs for helpful tips and advice on Training a New Puppy, Training your Puppy to Come and much more!

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