One of the most prevalent and unpleasant problems with puppies is their tendency to bite. It’s a problem that many pet owners have to deal with.
Biting is a normal way for puppies to explore and learn about their environment, and while it can be frustrating and painful, it is important to remember that this is a normal way of developing social skills.
The good news is that biting can be stopped in puppies quickly and easily. Puppy biting can be prevented and appropriate behaviour taught with the right methods.
While this is a perfectly normal development, many new dog owners are understandably concerned that their puppy’s aggressive biting indicates a more serious problem.
However, waiting this out does not include passively enduring his biting you or anyone else. In order to ensure your dog learns the proper conduct, you can follow a few simple steps.
Puppy biting behavior explained
Puppies use their mouths in a variety of ways to learn about their surroundings, including tasting, smelling, and exploring.
They will eat anything they come into contact with.
When pups ingest stones or other potentially dangerous foreign substances, the situation can quickly become serious. Although aggression is rarely the cause, there are three primary reasons why puppies bite things:
- Collecting information (texture and taste)
- Play biting (this is where they learn bite inhibition)
Puppies learn an important lesson about social interaction with the help of their pointy little teeth. A so-called biting inhibition is learned by puppies during their first eight weeks of life when they are socialized with their mothers and littermates.
Through this procedure, they will learn to regulate the intensity of their biting and the force used by their jaws. Puppies have thick skin because they grow up roughhousing with their littermates.
When the biting gets too rough during play, one of them will yelp. In other words, this is a type of feedback that is crucial to their growth.
They require those pointy teeth because their jaws aren’t quite developed enough to open wide enough for them to get feedback just yet. They are taught what to bite and how hard to bite by participating in bite inhibition training.
After taking home your new puppy, it will be your obligation to carry on the training that was begun by the mother and the other puppies.
Some instructors will tell you to mimic a puppy’s whimpering in agony, but I don’t think it’s possible for humans to perfectly replicate canine actions.
If you can make a sound even remotely similar to a puppy yelping, your dog will likely just be bewildered. The following is my approach to dealing with a puppy that bites.
Bite inhibition requires patience and consistency, but in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a well-behaved dog.
1. It’s a No-Go if You Bite
When you pet a puppy, he will likely want to bite or mouth you. In this exercise, you will show your dog that nibbling on human skin and clothing is unacceptable behavior.
Now, suppose you and your puppy are playing and the puppy starts to bite you. It’s crucial to resist the urge to automatically withdraw one’s hands or clothing.
By making rapid movements, you are teaching your dog to chase after your hand, which will only make the problem more severe. Simply put, you should:
- Put your hand where it is and repeat “ouch” loudly (in a yelping voice if you like) until the puppy stops biting.
- You should congratulate him on his release and then continue playing with or patting him.
- If your puppy is a rough play biter and won’t stop nibbling, try standing up and ignoring him for a few seconds, or even better, leaving the room.
When dealing with puppy biting, time outs are a great solution because puppies and young dogs are so eager to please their owners through social and play interactions. If you get bit by him and then abruptly leave the room, he will never forget it.
You will re-enter the room when he has settled down to a pleasant state.
You can redirect your puppy’s mouthing behavior from your skin to toys to teach him that mouthing toys is fine but mouthing skin is not.
Start playing tug with him when he starts play biting to keep his focus on the toy instead of your hand. If the game becomes too rough, you will end it like before.
A second option is to teach him the command “let go” to distract him from chewing. This will give your game more discipline, educate him self-control, and prevent undesirable conduct.
You should move your puppy’s focus away from your hands and onto an acceptable chew toy or object as soon as it begins to mouth on yours. Your puppy will learn the hard way that mouthing on human skin does not result in positive reinforcement that way.
The success of redirection depends on your puppy’s ready access to a wide range of toys and chews. Changing up your puppy’s playthings on a regular basis will keep him or her interested in playing with them.
As puppies, especially the younger ones, have a limited attention span, switching up their playthings on a regular basis is a great way to keep them occupied. To keep your puppy occupied, you can also give them something to chew on, like a Kong filled with treats.
3. Tasty Snacks
We want to make sure he learns the proper way to respond to our hands, whether we’re playing with him or patting him. Gather a number of little snacks and hold them between your index finger and thumb for this technique.
Pay attention to how your dog snatches them up when you start giving them to him. You should stop feeding him if he starts biting your hand.
You can test whether he uses his teeth to rip them out of your palm by holding on to them for a little longer.
4. Reduce Excessive Energy by
If none of these suggestions help, your puppy most likely requires more exercise. Deficiency of mental stimulation, in addition to physical inactivity, has been linked to an increase in biting.
Puppy classes are essential for his socialization and development, thus I highly recommend them. Your puppy will enjoy the play and interaction and learn from the best teachers when it comes to play biting.
Since taking my dog to puppy school when he was 9 weeks old, I have been going to the courses frequently. Dogs thrive when given the opportunity to interact socially with dog peers in a managed environment.
5. Dog teething
Puppies’ gums can become sensitive and uncomfortable because, like infants, they experience tooth loss. The best way to satisfy your puppy’s chewing urge is to provide him with safe chew toys.
Kong for Puppies and the Nylabone Chew Toy are two of my go-to options for my dogs. Chewing is more common in high-energy dog breeds, so it’s important to give them plenty of exercise first thing in the morning and throughout the day.
Make your home safe for your new puppy by removing any potential hazards, such as cords, pricey rugs, and harmful foods.
6. Avoid These Traps
Puppy biting is a surefire way to embarrass you in certain circumstances:
- Do not play rough with your dog by grasping his head or messing with his face with your hands. He’ll likely bite even more if you do this.
- When he mouths your hands, don’t jerk them away or make any sudden motions.
Be careful not to abuse your dog. This will promote rough play and put at risk his baby teeth.
- It is not our intention to in any way discourage the puppy from engaging in play. It’s up to you to teach him the fine art of gentle play.
- Don’t get frustrated and start yelling at him. An increase in volume has no effect.
Dogs should never be punished physically for minor infractions, such as nipping. To punish him physically would only make him fearful of you, which could lead to true biting, and he is not displaying dominance or hostility towards you.
Puppy biting can be stopped with time and positive reinforcement, not a quick fix. You can put an end to your puppy’s biting behaviour and have a well-behaved pet if you take the right approach. It’s important to be patient and consistent with your training methods, as biting is a normal part of a puppy’s development.
Redirect your puppy’s attention to appropriate objects, give him or her lots of exercise, and consult a professional if necessary, but never use physical punishment. You can put an end to your puppy’s biting behavior once and for all with these strategies.