Preventing Puppy Biting

February 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Puppy Behavior

If you are living with a new puppy, there are lots of things that both of you need to learn, but one of the most important lessons that he or she is going to have from you is that it is unacceptable to bite! Dogs, just like humans, are creatures of habit, and if they form habits early on in life, you will find them much more difficult to break the longer that they get ingrained. A puppy nipping at you is one thing. You may be able to ignore it, but a dog that continues to bite, even playfully, as an adult is a danger to himself and to others. Take some time to learn about puppy biting and what you can do to get rid of it.

First, be aware that biting is natural behavior for a puppy. A puppy that constantly bites and nips at you is not vicious; he is only exploring the world around him with the tools that are at his disposal. He is mouthing things and learning about them, and when he bites, he is also likely exercising his muscles and learning what kind of dexterity and strength that he has. Puppies who play with each other will play-bite at each other all day if they can.

When you are getting ready to take on puppy biting, remember that you should not punish your puppy unless you catch him in the act. Unless he is biting you when you reprimand him, he is not going to have any idea what is going on. You will also find that it is possible to correct him without striking him. A puppy who gets hit is going to one that grows up easily startled and confused and when you want to make sure that your puppy grows up healthy and happy, this precisely the wrong tack to take!

You can learn a lot from how to keep a puppy from biting by watching adult dogs deal with them. When a puppy bites its mother, the mother will utter a short sharp yelp. If the puppy persists, she will march off and refuse to play with the puppy for a while. You can take this precise technique and use it yourself. When you puppy becomes too energetic or stops paying attention to how hard he or she is biting, say “ow!” in a high pitched sharp voice. The idea is to startle the puppy into stopping. If the puppy starts up again, walk away and refuse to pay any attention to the puppy for a while. This will tell the puppy that too much biting will result in playtime being over.

When you are training your puppy not to bite, remember that you should not engage in games like tug of war with the puppy. This can be a confusing thing for a puppy to deal with, so just avoid games like this for the moment. Dress your puppy up in cute dog clothes, take them for walks, but avoid rough and tumble games for a bit.

There are lots of ways to stop your puppy from biting, so take some time and really consider what techniques you want to use!

Article by Kelly Perry of Oh My Dog Supplies, check for current specials on dog t-shirts online.

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Stop Puppy Biting Now!

February 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Puppy Behavior

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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