Help Your Biting Puppy Kick the Habit
Your puppy is adorable. He has more energy than you could ever fathom, loves to play and investigate his surroundings, and is constant entertainment. When he does play, however, you might notice a lot of biting and mouthing on your clothing, hands and other limbs. At first this is cute and pretty harmless, but as a puppy gets bigger, his pin-sharp teeth become unnerving, even dangerous.
Most puppies learn to bite from playing with other puppies in their first few weeks of life. It’s completely natural and how young dogs have played for thousands of years, but biting and chewing don’t lend themselves well to people’s sensitive skin. And that’s the first trick to getting your puppy to stop mouthing.
Teach Gentleness to Your Young Pup
Your puppy really doesn’t want to hurt you, so illustrating to him or her the painful result of biting can help curb the habit. Next time you’re playing with your dog and he starts mouthing your hand, wait until he bites down really hard. When he does, let out a high-pitched yelp and let your hand go limp. Your dog should back off at this point because he senses he’s bitten too hard, which is a result of natural bite inhibition.
While this method works almost every time, it doesn’t always solve the problem entirely. We suggest that after the first time, you continue playing and letting out yelps when your dog bites too hard, but don’t do this more than three times in a 15-minute period. If it doesn’t sink in and your puppy doesn’t stop mouthing too aggressively, there’s a slightly different method to try.
Put Your Puppy in Time-Out
Take the same situation as described above. When your dog bites down on your hand too hard, you should still let out your yelp to signal that you’ve been hurt, but this time, ignore your pup entirely. It might be hard to do, but it’s a great way to send the message that painful play is unacceptable.
For the time-out, you can either stay nearby your dog while ignoring it for 10-20 seconds, or just completely walk away, essentially turning your back on the bad behavior. The point you’re making to your puppy is that gentle play will go on while hard play with hard bites and excessive mouthing will not continue. Because puppies love to play, this goes a long way toward training them not to bite.
Remember: your puppy will behave better if he or she gets regular exercise from walking. Maintaining a proper diet is also key, so consider Life’s Abundance Pet Food and, as always, contact us if you have any questions!
As time goes on and the hard bites stop, you can start using the same strategies to deal with moderate bites. Soon enough, those will stop as well and your dog will be playing gently in no time!