Every product is independently selected by (dog-loving and dog-owning) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn okfido a commission
Welcoming puppies to your household is always an exciting event. Whether it’s your little princess having given birth to a healthy litter or you having just adopted an adorable little pooch from the shelter, these furry creatures are sure to bring joy to everyone for years to come. Soon enough they will start playing and exploring around the house and one day, you will start noticing them mouthing and nipping at your hand!
The habit would be cute and adorable in the beginning, but if not managed, biting could cause discomfort and danger, as well as damage to property. At an early age, puppies most be taught that biting on anything they please won’t be tolerated. The good news is, canines are very smart and can learn this lesson fast. All you need is the patience to teach and train them. What then are the things you can do to get your puppy to stop biting?
Why Do Puppies Bite?
First of all, it’s important to understand why puppies bite. At six to eight weeks old, puppies start to lose their baby teeth as their adult teeth start coming in. Teething could come with a lot of discomfort, sometimes pain, to the littles ones and they try to deal with it by biting your finger, shoes, and pretty much anything they can get their pink little mouths on.
Also, around this time, the weaning phase begins. The puppies, with their new, razor-sharp teeth, will have be more independent in terms of feeding as their mother would naturally be more reluctant to nurse. You will also start noticing the puppies biting as they play with each other, which often result to little fights and annoyed siblings.
As soon as biting behavior begins to manifest, you should immediately get right down to reinforce training on bite inhibition. The earlier you start, the sooner they learn and the safer and happier everyone will be.
Every product is independently selected by (dog-loving and dog-owning) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn okfido a commission.
How to Train Your Puppy Stop Biting
Bite inhibition hones a canine’s capability to control the strength and force of his bite. A puppy starts learning inhibition when he bites another puppy while playing. The bitten puppy of course isn’t happy, and most likely moves away from the one who bit them. The puppy then learns that when he bites, play stops.
1. Stop play whenever he bites.
Take the opportunity to reinforce this lesson when he bites your hand or your feet while you’re playing with him. When he bites, stop play and ignore him for 20-30 seconds before resuming. Ignore him again the next time he bites. You shouldn’t have to repeat the exercise five times in 15 minutes. If he continues biting in that amount of time, stop play altogether and try again the next day.
2. Reward good behavior.
Reward your puppy with treats and praises when he’s able to show that he can control his biting urges. Positive reinforcement is a great foundation for training him not only when it comes to stopping him from biting, but with almost any behavioral lesson you wish for him to learn as he continues to grow. Introduce good behavior through positive reinforcement, and never resort to punishing your dog.
3. Provide chew toys.
The next time he tries to bite you, let your hand go limp. Don’t jerk it away suddenly as it would only make the puppy more excited. When he loses interest, offer him a chew toy. If he plays with the toy, reward him with praises and a treat to encourage the good behavior.
If he ignores the chew toy, just leave it but don’t resume play. Offer a chew toy the next time his little mouth starts on your shoe or something he’s not allowed to bite. Or you can try a different type of chew toy to find out what he likes.
It’s a good thing that there’s not a lack of options when it comes to fun and healthy chew toys for your little pup in pet supply stores online. Teething puppies especially would love to have some nice chew toys to play with, while relieving any teething discomfort.
4. Teach him that biting hurts.
Another effective trick to reinforce biting inhibition is to act “hurt” when your puppy bites you. Let out a yelp or say “ouch” in a high-pitched tone. And then ignore him for a few seconds. Offer a treat and tell him he’s a good boy when he backs off. It would also be a good time to offer him a chew toy to satisfy his urge to bite.
5. Train him to “leave it.”
Training your pup to learn the “leave it” command takes time, practice, and patience but it’s a handy technique to stop your puppy from biting.
Show your pup a treat in your palm before enclosing your fingers around it. He will try to bite or paw to get it, but remember: rewards him only when his face moves away from your hand. At the very moment he does, say “leave it” and then offer him a treat. Keep repeating the step, making sure to utter the command at the right moment, until he understands that he gets rewards if he stops biting.
6. Allow time for socialization.
Adequate socialization is important in the development of our canine pets. Set play dates with neighbors’ pets or enroll him in a puppy class, which offer supervised playtimes with other young pooches. Playing and socializing will be a good opportunity for him to release all his pent-up energy and make him less likely to play rough at home.
7. Try a taste deterrent.
There are anti-chew dog sprays available that you can spray on your clothes, your furniture, and other objects you want your puppy to keep away from. These are especially useful for those hours when you’re not at home and may not be able to directly supervise or train your pup. You may also mix two cups of apple cider vinegar with one cup of white vinegar to make your DIY anti-chew spray.
The key to successful training is in repetition and consistency. You need to be patient if your puppy takes a bit of time to learn inhibition—biting is normal dog behavior after all. It’s also important that other members of the household also ignore him when he bites, and rewards him when he stops. Never ever resort to punishment and instead, keep encouraging your pup to play with his chew toys instead.