Puppy Biting: Ways to Help Stop This Behavior
Do you have a young puppy? Are they still biting you, your family members, and inanimate objects too? Are you looking for ways to resolve this problem before it gets more out of hand?
Puppy biting behaviors are typically normal, but it’s important to train your puppy to stop biting on command so the habit doesn’t stick around into adulthood. In this article, we’ll give you several tips and tricks you can try with your puppy to help ease this behavior. With a little diligence and practice, you can teach your puppy proper mouth manners in no time.
Redirect their Attention
First and foremost, it’s important to learn how to redirect your puppy’s attention. Every time they start biting you, someone else, furniture, shoes, or another family pet, stop them and give them a toy instead. It may take a long while and plenty of persistence, but with time, your puppy will learn that only certain objects are meant to be bitten.
You can also redirect your puppy with interactive playtime using a ball or another toss toy. However, you should try giving them a chance to entertain themselves with a redirection toy sometimes, too. This way, your puppy will be able to make the right choices about chewing in the future.
Soothe Your Puppy
There’s a good chance your puppy is biting so much because of teething. Puppies begin teething at around 10 weeks of age or so, and they continue through the teething process until they are about six months old. This is a long time for any puppy to experience teething pain, so you can understand why your pet is biting so much!
Soothe their teething pain by providing puppy-safe teething toys made specifically for this purpose. You may dip these toys in water and freeze them for additional soothing and comfort while your puppy is teething, too.
It is always okay to tell your puppy “no” when they are doing something wrong, but it’s important not to go overboard with scolding. Do not punish your dog, as they won’t understand what is causing you to be angry with them and they may learn to associate you with fear. A simple, gentle, but stern “no” is a good level of scolding.
Do not hit your dog or give any other physical punishment, and do not yell or scream at your puppy. Just tell them “no” and then use one of the other methods on this list—ideally, redirection followed by positive treat reinforcement—to help them learn.
Teach Your Puppy Not to Bite
Teach your puppy a simple command you can give when they are getting too excited or pushy with their teeth. “Sit” is a great option for this method, since even young puppies can quickly learn how to sit with enough positive reinforcement. You may also try “look at me” or “lay down” instead, too.
Once your puppy knows what the command means, you can give the command when your pet is using their teeth too much. With enough practice and persistence, you should notice them choosing to obey the command rather than continuing to bite, and the biting behavior should ease up.
Reward Your Puppy for Not Biting
When your puppy gets something right—and when they make a good decision about playing with toys instead of biting you or another family member—make sure to give them lots of treats! The more treats you give, the more you will positively reinforce good behaviors, and your puppy will learn quickly.
Just make sure you’re treating at the right time. For example, if you teach your puppy to sit when they are biting too much, wait until they actually sit to give the treat. This way, your puppy won’t think they are being rewarded for the biting instead.
Perhaps most importantly of all, it’s necessary to remain calm and patient when working with your young puppy. They are still a baby and doesn’t yet understand what you want from them when you’re scolding. Your puppy hasn’t learned how to behave yet, and it’s up to you to teach them properly.
Never punish your puppy for biting. Your puppy is only doing what they think they are supposed to do. Instead, stick to the guide above to help them learn better behavior choices. As they get older, the biting habit should decline.
Learn What Works Best for Your Puppy’s Biting
As you can see, there are several methods to try when you want to teach your puppy to stop biting. Different dogs respond well to different methods, so it’s up to you to try these options until you find the one that works best for your dog.
If you’re having a lot of difficulty teaching your dog to stop biting, you may want to work with a professional trainer. Many puppy training courses focus on redirecting attention, specifically related to young puppies who are biting due to teething. This type of course may be perfect for you and your pet!
Dr. Aty Puentes joined the Heart + Paw team in fall 2022. Throughout her 20 years of…
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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