A very good friend of mine has recently acquired a gorgeous 10-week old puppy.
I say acquired, but rescue is probably more accurate, which is a great outcome for the puppy.
Except for the fact, my friend has never owned a puppy before.
So it was no surprise that she called last night asking if I’d take him off her hands.
Long story short, all she really needed to know was how to stop a puppy from biting!
So the first thing to understand is that biting and mouthing is completely normal behavior. Much like human babies teething, they will bite down on things in an attempt to sooth the gums.
So you can’t stop the biting and mouthing, but you can redirect your puppy’s mouthing urge – replace your hands with a chew toy to teach them that that is the correct item to chew.
Give your puppy something to chew on, just as you would a teething baby. Try this: grab an old tea towel and tie a Knot in it and pop it in the freezer for a cool chew toy for your puppy.
Kong toys are a hardy option that can be filled with treats or a smear of peanut butter and a good replacement for your hands!
Learn How to Stop a Puppy From Biting
Depending on the breed of dog teething can start at around 8 weeks and last up to about 8 months or beyond. Once teething starts they will instinctively seek out things to chew on.
And if you and/or your children are handling them then you need to be aware of how to react.
When your puppy tries to bite you, and if you are quick enough, then redirect their mouth onto to a chew toy. Wave the chew toy around until s/he bites onto that.
If however, you were not quick enough to get your hand or finger out the way, then it is important NOT to pull away from the bite. This is for two reasons.
Firstly, their teeth can be very sharp and pulling away after they have bitten down on you can be very painful.
Secondly, by pulling away your puppy will instinctively try to bite down even harder and try to chase your hand.
Therefore, if your puppy has bitten down on your hand or finger try to remain calm and let your hand go limp and make a yelping sound.
When you make the yelping sound it should startle the puppy and in doing so they will let go. Much easier said than done I know, because our natural instinct is to pull away.
However, after one or two bites it becomes easier.
Biting is also just your pet exploring their world and trying to play.
However, puppies that do not learn bite inhibition young pose a risk as they get bigger and stronger.
As a pet owner, with 2 small children knowing how to stop a puppy from biting and mouthing was an essential skill for the safety of my children and pup!
Give Your Puppy Opportunities To Teeth
Knowing how to stop a puppy from biting and mouthing is one thing, putting it into practice is another.
So let us recap what we learned above.
Firstly, you need to remember to redirect your puppy’s mouthing urge – replace your hands with a chew toy to teach them that that is the correct item to chew.
Secondly, you need to give your puppy something to chew on, just as you would a teething baby.
Additionally, you can tie a knot ion an old tea towel and pop it in the freezer for a cool chew toy for your puppy. Kong toys are also a hardy option that can be filled with treats or a smear of peanut butter and a good replacement for your hands!
Teach Bite Inhibition
Mouthing and biting is completely normal behavior that your puppy would engage in with their littermates.
If the rough & tumble gets too much, puppies quickly let each other know with a sharp yelp or whimper.
This makes play time so much more than just fun, teaching them the important life skills, bite inhibition and social cues.
When playing with your puppy if he begins to mouth roughly or nip firmly say “No” and move your hand away.
If he repeats the behavior twice stand up and leave your puppy. This teaches your puppy that being rough ends play-time.
Some trainers teach owners to yelp, as I have done above.
The idea of this is to mimic the noise a litter mate would make if your puppy were to nip too hard.
Although this is a great idea in theory, in my experience this sometimes can lead to more excitement, and more nipping!
If you choose to use this technique, watch your puppy’s reaction after you yelp. If they look more excited consider using a stern “no”, and move away instead.
Give Your Puppy Dog-Time
Socialize your puppy with other dogs regularly to allow them time to get all their rough and tumble energy out!
Other dogs are often the best teachers for bite inhibition.
It is essential that prior to being fully vaccinated your dog is not socialized with adult dogs that might pose a risk of infection.
Enroll your puppy in a puppy pre-school class. Puppy preschool classes are a great way for your puppy to socialize in a safe environment.
Once your puppy’s vaccinations are complete organize puppy play dates with friends. Often owners who met at my puppy pre-school classes would exchange numbers and meet up regularly for their puppies to have some much-needed dog time!
Although the automatic instinct when your puppy hurts you is to smack them back, this won’t help the matter.
Your puppy will most likely see this as a fantastic new game, and bite again or, become hurt and frightened.
“How to Stop a Puppy From Biting”- It’s the age-old question! The answer is persistence, patience, and repetition!
Mouthing and biting are normal and important behaviors for puppies during their learning. By being patient and consistent you can help your pup learn how to gently mouth and prevent biting.
Free Audio: Stop Puppies Mouthing
In the following audio clip, you will learn the 3 most important things that you can do to stop your puppy mouthing.
To listen to it right now, just click the Play button OR the Podcast image below:
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