Before we discuss how to stop your puppy from biting you, we just wanted to take a minute to celebrate your new pup.
So from the Pupster Passion team, a huge congratulations on welcoming the new pet dog into your family home!
Ok, now let’s cut to the chase. Puppies are lovely little creatures, but let’s be honest, they can also sometimes be a bit of a nuisance.
They have very sharp little teeth and a habit of biting hands and feet. Those puppy nips can really hurt!
They also love chewing on household items, furniture, shoes, rugs, etc. So how do you stop your puppy from biting and chewing?
Let’s find out…
Some Basic Principles of Puppy Training
Before we go into the specifics of stopping a puppy from biting, it is worthwhile learning some principles of puppy training that work for all dogs and all types of training.
You can apply with principles with your pup not just to stop puppy biting but also for any other type of training:
- Positive Reinforcement of Desired Behavior
- Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!
- Consistency is Key
Let’s look at each one of these in more detail:
Positive Reinforcement of Desired Behavior
When teaching your puppy new patterns of behavior, the most effective tool you can use is positive reinforcement of good behavior.
What does this mean in practice? That as much as possible, when the puppy behaves in the manner you want, you to reward them with vocal and physical praise and give them treats.
This makes the process seem like play and massively increases the likelihood of them repeating the desired behavior patterns.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!
To effectively teach your dog or puppy a new skill, you need to repeat it a lot, (probably lots more than you think is necessary).
The more experience the puppy has of doing the task and being rewarded, the more habituated it becomes until it is full embedded into their brains.
Consistency is Key
When training a puppy or adult dogs, the principle is the same the more consistent you can be in your training, the better.
What does this mean? It means always using the same commands for the same tasks and aiming for the same results.
Repeating the same actions again and again really hammers home the message and reinforces the desired puppy behavior patterns.
How To Stop Puppy From Biting (in Brief)
- Set Yourself Realistic Expectations
- Let the Puppy Know When They Bite Too Hard
- Use “No” Commands Plus Eliminating Access to the Object They Are Biting
- Redirect Them to a Chew Toy or Treat
- Repeat These Tasks (a LOT)
- A Time Out In Their Crate Can Be Useful
- Use Other Training Tasks to Distract from Biting
- Use Exercise to Tire Them Out
Ok, let’s take a more detailed look at each one of these points.
Stopping a Puppy Biting and Nipping (in Detail)
Set Yourself Realistic Expectations
Your goal should not be to eliminate all biting and chewing. Your puppy will always tend to bite, but you can significantly reduce the nipping with some focused training.
Let the Puppy Know When They Bite Too Hard
If your puppy bites you hard, let out a yelp and pull your hand away quickly, this lets them know that they are biting you too hard, and they will learn to be more gentle with their mouth.
“No” Commands Plus Eliminating Access to the Object They Are Biting
You should already be teaching your dog the “no” command; it works really well with nipping.
Each time you get a puppy nip on your hand, pull it away and say “no” loudly and firmly.
If you move your hands back towards the dog and they go to bite again, repeat the “no” command.
Redirect Them to a Chew Toy or Treat
If they are nipping you, redirect them to one of their favorite toys or treats.
Just wave it in front of them to catch their attention, and when they start chewing it, give them some praise.
This will teach them what they should and shouldn’t bite.
Repeat These Steps (a LOT)
Then repeat this process of redirection. Every time they bite, you should do one of these steps:
- Yelp in pain and pull your hand away.
- Say “no” and pull away from them
- Distract them with a chew toy or treat.
The secret to training biting puppies is to keep repeating these points repeatedly until they learn some bite inhibition.
A Time Out In Their Crate Can Be Useful
If your dog is in a really energetic mood, but it is not the right time for play, giving them a quiet time in their crate or a quiet room can calm them down a bit and hopefully reduce their urge to bite.
Use Other Training Tasks to Distract from Biting
Another great way of dealing with puppy nipping is to use training to distract the pup.
Getting them to focus on the latest skill or behavior you are trying to teach your puppy can help reduce their nipping.
An example of when you might want a puppy to stop is if it is really bugging an elderly dog or cat. Diverting the attention can help to stop the biting.
Use Exercise to Tire Them Out
Sometimes puppies will bite more when they are full of energy, so you can use some energetic play behavior to wear them out.
Play fetch, take them for a walk, or chase them around the house or yard. Just do something fun and fast-paced to make them tired.
With focused work and plenty of time working with each other on puppy bite inhibition, your pup should be trained out of this sort of puppy biting within a month.
Why Do Young Dogs Bite and Chew So Much?
There are three main reasons why puppies bite, chew, and mouth so much.
- Biting and chewing is one of the ways they understand the world around them.
- Just like humans, your pup has to go through teething.
- For strengthening up their teeth and jaw muscles.
Biting and chewing is one way they understand the world around them – Dogs and puppies use their teeth to explore the world in a similar manner as they use their noses.
Biting and chewing objects is their method of figuring things out. It’s perfectly natural and normal, which is why you won’t ever fully stop it, but instead should focus on getting them to bite the right things (chew toys, etc.).
Just like human babies, your pup has to go through teething – Puppies go through teething and growing into their adult teeth when they are about three to four months old.
As puppies go through the process of teething, their desire to chew is stronger than usual.
One great way to deal with this is to give them lots of different chew toys, chews, ice cubes, and anything else you can think of that is safe for them to chew.
For strengthening up their teeth and jaw muscles – Chewing and biting and really effective ways of the puppy strengthening their teeth, jawbones, and jaw muscles.
Some Professional Advice from a Dog Trainer
Sometimes it is easier to learn by watching rather than reading, so please take a look at this short video of a dog trainer talking about how to deal with puppy nipping and biting.
He uses the gorgeous young puppy Linas and his proud owner Sarah to explain how to reduce puppy biting and puppy mouthing.
Ok, that’s it for this post. As all dog owners know, puppy mouths are full of very sharp little baby teeth!
So we hope that you can successfully use the tips we shared in this guide to help you reduce the number of bites you receive from your pup.
NOTE – We always recommend that once young dogs have had all their vaccinations, they attend puppy classes.
The classes are great for obedience, socialization (which helps the puppy grow up into a well-behaved adult dog), and you also get to meet lots of lovely puppy owners and their pet puppies!
PS – If you struggle to get them to stop nipping as much, you might need to hire the services of a professional dog trainer to help, sometimes well need a helping hand from an expert!
You can also try a lot of different chew products, find the ones your pup really likes, and always have some on hand.