How to stop your puppy from biting
During the teething process, puppies need to chew. This is a natural part of the growing process and nothing to be concerned about. Rather than using their paws, dogs prefer using their mouths to interact with the world, and this is especially true of puppies. Even so, puppies are not always aware of how hard they are biting, and you may be the surprised recipient of an alarmingly sharp nip that draws some blood. This is not preferred behavior and needs to be addressed. Let’s take a look at how to stop your puppy from biting you while they learn how to navigate the world.
During play, puppies use their mouths to interact with each other. As they learn, this mouthing can quickly become a bite. This triggers the other pup to yelp and show signs of discomfort.
You can emulate this. If your pup bites your hand while your playing, make a loud ‘ow’ sound and let your hand go limp (don’t pull away yet). Once they let go, turn away for fifteen seconds or so, then resume play.
Make sure not to repeat this ‘yelp and limp’ tactic more than three times in fifteen minutes. If they still don’t get the picture, it’s time out. The idea is to train the pup to understand that gentle playing is good and will continue, but rough playing will stop immediately.
Some people don’t want their pup mouthing people at all. In this case, quickly move your hand away from a chewy pup before they make contact. Redirect their attention to a waving toy or treat until they bite that. You can also use games like fetch and tug-o-war to encourage development without people chewing.
As a note, don’t let your pup get to a stage where they are aggressively pursuing a tugging or a toy in your hand. This gives you a chance to teach them commands like ‘let go’ and ‘leave it’ so they don’t develop aggressive tendencies that continue into adulthood.
Using Toys for Distraction
Puppies will chew pretty much anything they find around them. It’s natural, and the reason for puppy-proofing your home or specific pet area. You can leverage this tendency by using a variety of different toys and healthy treats that encourage chewing. In this way, rather than chewing you, your furniture, or other items, your playful pup has plenty of dog-friendly things to attend. You can even make it more exciting with toys that hide a special treat in a compartment of some kind – like a treat filled rubber toy, for instance. This works both as a distraction from chewing other things but also develops problem-solving skills as they figure out how to get the treat.
There are various products that you can buy that puppies don’t like the taste of. These are designed specifically to deter your pup from chewing off-limit items. Begin the process by adding some of the product to a cotton ball and placing it into their mouth. They should spit it out right away. Now let them smell it to have both a taste and smell association. In this way, the aroma alone will deter your pet.
Once you begin using the product on various off-limits items, make sure your pup does not have access to water for up to an hour after contact. If they realize they can just wash it out, the product does not serve its intended purpose. This may seem cruel, but after the first couple of times they will get the picture, and they will no longer have any problems.
When it comes to how to stop your puppy from biting, a little patience and perseverance go a long way. Depending on the relationship you are establishing with your pup, one of the above methods will surely assist in your training process. If you would like some professional training tips, let us know. We are here to help and can provide you with some direction, tips, and products you can use during your behavioral training.