If you have a new, tiny furry friend, you might be wondering how to stop a puppy from biting. Like human babies and toddlers, puppies use their mouths to explore their environment. They can’t yet use their whiskers and feet to explore and detect the world around them.
They’re clumsy little things and their mouths are the one thing the can control! K9’s also play, mouth, and chew objects constantly. Unfortunately, puppies have extremely sharp, needlelike teeth that can draw blood because they’re unaware of how much they can hurt us with their teeth.
Because we’re obsessed with playing with our new puppies, unfortunately our hands and faces are prime candidates for those sharp teeth!
Bite Inhibition for Your Puppy
Normally, puppies playing with their littermates will learn bite inhibition on their own. If you’ve ever watched puppies play, you’ll see them pounce, wrestle, and nip playfully with their siblings. It’s all fun and games until one of them bites the other too painfully.
The bit puppy lets out a sharp yelp and stops playing. The puppy who did the biting is shocked by the yelp and the fact that playtime seems to be over.
Over time, this will show the puppy that he needs to be careful. You as a member of the puppy pack should also teach your puppy that hurting and biting you isn’t ok.
Exploit Your Dog’s Natural Behavior
This kind of natural lesson can be used by humans, too. When your puppy is mouthing too hard during play, let out a sharp yelp as his littermate would do. Let your hand go limp to show that you’re in pain. It’ll shock the puppy into releasing your hand and it will show him that biting you isn’t ok. This kind of training will not take root immediately, but should be repeated each time the puppy bites.
Don’t repeat the behavior often in a short period of time. If the puppy keeps biting, it’s time to stop playing altogether. Over time this will tach the puppy that when he bites you, play will stop. And the ultimate goal is to have the puppy associating the biting with play time being over. When the puppy removes his mouth from your hand, you can reinforce that behavior with treats or praise.
Redirecting and Distracting Your Puppy
When it comes to learning how to stop a puppy from biting, it’s often about how you react to the bite. For a puppy who isn’t getting the message after the yelping, try redirecting their attention. Before the puppy puts her mouth on your skin, pull your hand away and substitute a chew toy instead. You might also distract your puppy with treats, other games like playing fetch, or running off that extra energy. Puppies who bite when they’re bored turn into dogs who chew when they’re bored. It’s important that you get a handle on this behaviour before your puppy turns into a dog.
Other types of Puppy Play
When your puppy doesn’t have litter mates around, you’re responsible for helping to teach him proper play. Or you might sign him up for a puppy socialization class where he’ll interact with other puppies and learn how biting works in a natural environment with other dogs.
He’ll become socialized if you bring him around adult dogs, too. An obedient, trained adult dog can often be a great role model for your puppy.
Learning how to stop your puppy from biting means you’ll have to spend time training him, redirecting his attention, and distracting him from mouthing at all. We found an excellent training program from Adrienne Farricelli called Brain Training 4 dogs which deals with your puppy biting, and a range of other behavioural issues. Check her program out.
In closing, how to stop a puppy from biting means:
Teaching your dog to stop biting by using chew toys to distract him when he tries to bite you and treats to reward him when he stops biting. Be positive, keep the training sessions short and you’re sure to have success.
Let us know in the comments how you’ve gotten on!