STOP PUPPY BITING IN 4 EASY STEPS
Bringing a new furry friend home can be exciting for the whole family, but what do you do when you can’t stop puppy biting from occurring? We’ve got you covered on how to tackle the issue head on.
It’s important to remember that it’s natural for dogs to play, chew, and curiously inspect, especially at an extremely young age. The goal isn’t to entirely discourage play, as it’s a healthy way to create a strong bond with your pet. However, it becomes a problem when your puppy lacks the ability to understand when the chewing isn’t playful and needs to end.
Every puppy is unique and may react in different ways, but the following steps should work to stop puppy biting before it’s too late.
STEP 1: TEACH YOUR PUPPY BITE INHIBITION
Before you stop puppy biting altogether, it’s important to teach your new friend to understand how much pressure they’re putting on you with their jaw. This is where bite inhibition comes in. It’s a necessary first step and sets the groundwork for your puppy’s training.
Typically, puppies learn this behaviour through socialization with littermates. When one mate bites too strongly, the other one will yelp to signify that pain was inflicted. Both puppies will stop play at this point, with the biter learning to be more gentle next time.
You can replicate this behaviour with your dog by initiating play using your hands. Keep playing until you find your puppy bites too hard. Similar to how a littermate would react, let out a loud yelp, which should startle them and cause a halt in play. This interaction will show your dog that they need to lessen how much pressure they’re using when they bite. Keep practicing this with your dog every day over the span of a couple weeks, slowly making the rules stricter as you go on by letting out yelps for lighter bites. Eventually, your dog will associate biting skin with the need to be extremely gentle.
STEP 2: SAVE THE PUPPY CHEWING FOR THE TOYS
Now it’s time to teach your puppy to stop biting altogether. Whenever they nip at your hands, feet, or anywhere else, first communicate a firm “NO” response to demonstrate your disapproval and ultimately discourage the behaviour. Following that, immediately redirect the puppy’s attention by slowly replacing whatever body part they’re chewing on with an appropriate toy. The objective is to show your puppy that playing is okay, but biting needs to be reserved for objects that are meant for it, like a toy.
If you’ve tried this multiple times to no avail, then it’s time to take a more stern approach. When the nip occurs, stop right away and send the dog off to a time out in their kennel or designated spot.
STEP 3: AVOID ACCIDENTALLY ENCOURAGING PUPPY BITING THROUGH PLAY
Training your puppy is a journey with many different aspects of daily life impacting it. Without realizing it, you may be accidentally encouraging your puppy’s bad behaviour through games you enjoy playing together. Avoid anything to do with tugging, chasing, or wrestling, as these games all involve the exact thing we’re trying to tackle – biting near or on skin!
You can pick these types of play back up later on, but it’s important to avoid them until your dog has learned to stop biting. In the meantime, try playing hands-off games like fetch. In doing so, ensure you’re still proactively training your puppy by focusing on the “let go” or “leave it” command, otherwise you’ll inevitably end up in a game of tug-of-war.
STEP 4: DON’T RESPOND AGGRESSIVELY TO YOUR PUPPY BITING YOU
As a golden rule, never hit or slap your dog, but especially when you’re trying to demonstrate that biting isn’t okay. This type of aggressive response from you will not achieve the results you’re aiming for, and instead will do one of the following:
- The dog will begin to develop fear associated with you and your hands.
- As a puppy, they may think you’re playing too! What does that result in? An even harder bite.
Responding aggressively to your puppy can lead to behavioural issues later down the road, which will inevitably be harder to correct. Instead, make sure you discourage unacceptable actions, such as biting, using a stern tone and time outs. Additionally, always remember to acknowledge and positively encourage good behaviour.
THE ROAD TO A WELL-BEHAVED FURRY FRIEND
Before becoming your most reliable companion, your puppy will need the help to be taught what is right and wrong. Puppy biting will come to an end eventually, but you need to be the one to put in the time and effort to ensure it’s done correctly. If you do, you’ll reap the rewards of a well-behaved dog.
Have you tried these steps and still can’t stop the puppy biting? It may be time for the experts to step in. Call us now to book a free consultation with one of our trainers, or look through our training page for more information.
Trust the Superior Method.