Puppies bite. It is a simple and honest fact. A puppy’s mouth is full of 28 puppy teeth, and during their first four months, those teeth will fall out and be replaced by their adult teeth.
Unfortunately, for many dog owners, puppy biting is something they put up with and accept as unavoidable.
I’ve had several puppies over the years, and to start with, I had the same belief. However, Once I discovered puppy bite inhibition, everything changed.
Teaching a puppy how to stop biting was easier than I thought and made having a puppy an even more enjoyable and enriching experience.
There are nine things to keep in mind when training puppy biting behavior.
- Gently does it
- Biting means “Game Over”
- Offer chewable alternatives
- Prevent the pounce
- Walk away when biting starts
- Help burn off some energy
- Never hit a dog
- Try taking a puppy class
- Reinforce positive behavior
How Can You Stop Puppy Biting?
You can stop puppy play biting in a few simple steps with a patient and methodical approach. You can encourage obedient puppy behavior without it becoming a battle. The trick is to start young and be consistent with your guidance.
Training a puppy to stop biting can be done with nine key processes.
- Gently does it: The best way to stop your puppy’s biting is to teach them to be gentle. Human skin is fragile, and you can train a puppy not to bite by encouraging gentle behavior.
- Biting means game over: When playing and entertaining your pup, and they start biting, stop the game. By giving your dog nothing when they bite, you send the message that it is wrong and they need to stop.
- Offer chewable alternatives: Puppies need to chew and bite. Especially when changing their teeth. Offering chew toys or specific teething toys provides them with an outlet for the discomfort they feel in their mouths.
- Prevent the pounce: Excited dogs will jump up. That’s a different training requirement. Nipping is a by-product of the pounce and can be a painful interaction. Training your dog to remain on all fours prevents pouncing and any nip potential.
- Walk away when biting starts: When playing or relaxing with your dog and they start biting, stand up and move away. Walking away sends the message to your puppy that biting is wrong.
- Help burn off some energy: If a puppy still insists on biting, try taking them for a walk or playing a game of fetch. Helping your dog burn off excess energy will tire them out and reduce the biting urge.
- Never hit a dog: It’s essential in all aspects of puppy training to never hit a dog. Physical punishment sends the wrong message to your puppy and could even reinforce its biting behavior.
- Try puppy classes: If puppy training is not going well, consider enrolling in puppy training classes. Training classes help puppies learn not to lose control and start biting.
- Reinforce positive behaviors: Rather than punishing negative behavior, which can become attention in your puppy’s eyes, try reinforcing positive behavior. Praising good behavior is a great way to teach your puppy how to behave.
What Is Bite Inhibition Training?
Bite inhibition training is when you teach a puppy to be gentle by letting them know that biting hurts. When puppies play, they can be rough, and a quick yelp is enough to let other dogs know they need to calm down.
Dog owners can do the same and give a yelp when their puppy bites. Learned bite inhibition helps teach puppy limits and keeps puppy bites to a minimum.
Teach Your Puppy That Biting Means “Game Over”
Puppies love to play, but it is immediately game over when a puppy starts biting. Stop playing tug of war or drop whatever toy you’re playing with. Instead, give a clear signal that the bite was wrong and that playtime is now over.
This reinforces the concept of being rewarded for good behavior in your dog and teaching your puppy not to bite.
Give Your Puppy an Alternative Item to Chew
Puppies need to chew. Their teeth are changing, and that ache is scratched by chewing. So ensure you offer your pup plenty of chew toys. Praise them for biting on their toy rather than punishing them for getting a nip on your fragile human skin.
Turning a blind eye to puppy biting is a surefire way to end up with adult dogs that bite too. If a puppy nips or bites at you, immediately redirect their attention over to a chew toy.
Prevent the Pounce
Pouncing is another element of puppy training. However, nips often come at the end of an enthusiastic pounce. Especially if there is a treat involved. Training your puppy to sit and walk by your side will reduce their attempts to pounce in excitement and result in fewer nips.
Walk Away When Your Puppy Bites or Nips
When puppies nip, the best thing to do is stand up and walk away. However, that is enough punishment as they were not rewarded with any positive or negative attention.
A puppy’s behavior can be influenced quickly by reinforcing that biting and overly rough play is bad.
Help Use up Some Energy
Puppies have lots of energy. Both mental energy and physical energy. They need to be entertained and stimulated. If your puppy insists on biting even after you’ve taken the above steps, try taking them out for a walk. A good play session will help them burn off some of that biting energy, leaving you with a calm dog.
Is It Ok to Hit a Dog During Training?
No. One important thing when learning how to stop puppy biting is to understand that under no circumstances is it acceptable to hit your dog. Puppy bites are part of the dog-rearing process. You can train a puppy to stop, but it takes time, and there will be hurdles.
Stay calm, follow the above advice, and the results will come.
Enroll in a Puppy Class
If your puppy mouthing and bite inhibition training is going slowly, consider enrolling in a training class. You will get trained help, and your dog will be around other puppies. Being around other dogs also helps your puppy learn certain behaviors.
Reinforce Behaviors You Desire
Verbal praise is the most effective tool to stop a puppy from biting and chewing anything they come across.
To stop play is enough of a punishment for dogs to learn from. Anything more, and they view punishment as praise. Instead, positively interact with your dog. They soon learn that chewing and nipping on certain things is wrong.
When Does Mouthing Become Aggression?
A puppy’s mouthing becomes aggression when the puppy starts to bite hard and make more agitated sounds and movements.
Puppy-mouthing is often a sign of excitement. Puppies’ mouths easily fit around human fingers, and mouthing is a way for puppies to relieve stress and the ache of teething in their molars.
When a puppy grabs your hand with forcefulness that goes beyond gentle play, then their mouthing is becoming aggressive. It is best to discourage mouthing on your hands or fingers and instead direct your pup’s attention towards a toy.
It takes time for a pup to learn bite inhibition. But, providing you start early and remain consistent with your implementation, it is possible. Raising a good dog is more than just giving it a home and teaching it to walk on a leash.
Puppy bites may seem cute, but it’s essential to understand the long-term impact of ignoring your pup’s bites at a young age. Once a dog comes of age and leaves its puppy days behind them, bites become a far more serious affair.
By following the advice in this article, eliminating puppy bites will be a breeze, leaving you with a healthy, happy, and well-behaved four-legged friend as a result.
Let us know your experiences with puppy bite training in the comments below.