Puppies tend to bite when they’re very young. Normally, this increases whilst they’re teething, as naturally they will want something to chew on to relieve the pain from their teeth coming through. Adult dogs also prefer to use their mouths as appose to their paws when they want to play.
This sort of behaviour begins when they’re very young as a way of communicating and getting what they want.
This behaviour may seem cute in the very beginning, but as the dog grows up, it becomes less cute and more painful when they nip. Puppies are unaware of how sharp their teeth are and how hard they’re biting their owner.
No owner wants their dog to bite as this can lead into all sorts of issues as they grow up. If a puppy is allowed to bite whenever they want attention; they will most likely grow up wanting to bite other dogs, humans, and potentially young children.
All puppies need to be taught that biting is wrong and there are other ways they can communicate effectively. Listed below are some helpful tips to teaching your puppy not to bite and prevent them from endangering themselves and others.
Intervene during the biting
Puppies mouth each other when they play. This behaviour is normal but should be supervised as sometimes the mouthing leads to biting. If this does happen the puppy on the receiving end will yelp and let the other puppy know that it hurt and to stop that behaviour. Humans can replicate this behaviour by doing the same. If you’re playing with your puppy and they’re biting too much, you must let your hand or arm go limp and make a yelping sound. If you’re uncomfortable making the yelping sound then you could say the word “ouch” in an authoritarian way. This should encourage your puppy to let go and understand that biting hurts and will not be tolerated. After you’ve done this, you should immediately turnaround and ignore them for 20 seconds. You can resume play after this, but do not repeat this over and over again within a short period of time as your dog will become confused and will carry on biting whilst they play.
You should be able to teach your puppy that gentle play is fine but rough play will not be tolerated.
Distract your puppy
As well as puppy proofing your home you should also provide plenty of safe toys for your dog to chew on to distract them from being destructive when they want to chew. These toys should be safe and hazard free. If your dog tends to chew aggressively with their toy, then you should provide them with a rubber toy that is safe and they can’t choke on. Hiding their treats and encouraging them to seek is a great way to distract them from any destructive chewing of household objects or wanting to bite. This game can provide lots of fun and plenty of mental stimulation, which will make them tired. You could also look to socialise your puppy with other puppies so they can play and learn that biting too much will not be tolerated.
Redirect your puppy
You should teach your puppy that putting their mouth on human skin is naughty and this can be done by using redirection techniques. If your puppy tries to bite you or they place their mouth on your hand, you should pull your hand away before they make direct contact, then quickly provide a chewy toy or treat so they bite that instead. You can also redirect by playing non-contact games such as tug-of-war or fetch. You should never let the game of tug-of-war become too aggressive as this will also teach them bad habits.
Use a deterrent
There are many deterrents on the market that are safe to use for dogs to prevent them from chewing. The deterrent puts an unpleasant taste in their mouth and will hopefully prevent them from wanting to display that naughty behaviour again. Firstly, place the deterrent on a piece of tissue paper and allow your dog to lick and smell. Once they’ve done this they will most likely spit it out or shrug their nose up at the smell. Once you have done this, you should apply the deterrent to any household objects you do not want the puppy to chew or lick. This will take a couple of attempts from the puppy until they associate the taste and smell with that product. Be very careful where you apply this product as you must not make them scared of objects they play with or eat out of.
Lastly, you must always be patient with your pup as they grow and learn how to behave. Shouting at your puppy will not only scare them but also teach them to be aggressive as well. Daily training and lots of love will ensure your puppy grows up to be a healthy and happy dog.