Puppy Biting: Why They Do It and How to Curb It

Is there anything a puppy won't try to chew? 

If you've spent much time around puppies, you've likely noticed that puppies will put their mouths on most anything. Of course, they use their teeth to explore the world around them, so it's completely normal that they try to chew on everything they see!

However, you know your puppy is growing (quickly!), and as s/he gets bigger, those jaws will get stronger. Obviously, allowing your puppy to bite isn't a great idea in the long term, and it doesn’t take long to get tired of the nipping. So what can you do about it?


Understanding Puppy Biting

First, recognize that this is part of normal puppy behavior, and they don't mean to hurt anyone. 

When you watch puppies playing together, they're usually “mouthy.” However, if you watch closely, you'll see that if one bites too hard, the playmate will “yelp” and quickly back off. This lets the “bitey” dog know that s/he was too aggressive. Usually, after a few minutes, they'll resume playing. In other words, puppies teach each other what's okay, which means it’s up to you to do the same. After all, puppies don’t come into the world understanding our expectations. They have to be taught


Puppies are used to play biting one another

How to Stop Puppy Biting

Like any training, you want to be consistent in your behavior so that your puppy learns what you expect. For example, when it comes to eliminating puppy bites, you can try this training tip shared by The Kennel Club:

"First of all, take a treat, hold it in your hand and wrap your fingers around it, and no matter how much your dog tries to get at it, bite your hand or paw at your hand, you mustn't let him have it. What you have to wait for is the minute that his nose comes away from your hand. That's what you're rewarding him for. He needs to know that he's never ever going to get a treat by biting your hand."

Another method is this: hold on to a dog toy and let your puppy play with it while it's in your hand. If you encounter the sharp puppy teeth, you can say, "ow!" and stop playing for a few minutes. Basically, you're mirroring the way puppies play together. It may take a few tries, but your puppy will (eventually) get the hint. 


Redirect Puppy's Attention

If you want to teach your puppy to sit for petting and keep those teeth out of it, here's another training tip:

Redirect your puppy's chewing onto acceptable objects by offering her a small chew toy whenever you pet her. This technique can be especially effective when children want to pet her. As you or the child reach out to scratch her behind the ears (not over the head) with one hand, offer the chew toy with the other. This will not only help your puppy learn that people and petting are wonderful, but will also keep her mouth busy while she's being petted.” (Source: Paws.org


Bite Inhibition Training

Puppy nipping is cute...until it isn't!What all of this boils down to is teaching your puppy what dog trainers call "bite inhibition." 

Bite inhibition refers to a dog’s ability to control the force of his mouthing. A puppy or dog who hasn’t learned bite inhibition with people doesn’t recognize the sensitivity of human skin, and so he bites too hard, even in play.” (Source: PetMD

As puppy parents, it's our job to teach them the manners to get along and thrive in their surroundings. Using the training tips here, you can help your puppy learn how to save his/her teeth for more approriate activities and keep him/her from acting inapproriately later in life.


If you have any questions about caring for your new puppy, be sure to contact us!



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