Getting control over a puppy’s biting can be a challenge for a dogowner. It might start out like a fun game and may seem cute when your puppy is 8 weeks old but when he gets older and grows bigger it quickly becomes a nuissance and therefore it is important to learn how to stop a puppy from biting.
Biting and mouthing is a natural part of how a puppy explores the world around them. Puppies prefer to use their mouths rather than their paws like cats do, so the behavior is natural but it needs to be controlled. A puppy needs to first learn how control the force of bite and then to stop biting altogether
Biting can be especially troublesome when puppies are teething. At this time they just love to sink their teeth into anything they can get hold of invluding your hands and feet. In some cases biting at this age can be truly difficult as the puppy tends to bite all the time and the biting gets harder and harder as the puppy grows.
Biting can easily be fixed and the sooner you start training the better it is.
The first thing a puppy needs to learn is to control the force of his biting. When puppies play together they constantly bite and nip each other. Every now and then a puppy bites too hard and the bitten pup lets out a loud yelp. The offender backs of for a little while and the playing stops. Then after a moment they get back and play again. This is how puppies learn to be careful and to control the force of their biting.
This can be used to teach puppies not to bite too hard. When the puppy bites you too hard, let out a loud “yelp” or “ouch” then you ignore the puppy for 30 seconds or soo before you give the attention back to the puppy. This will teach the puppy to be careful and learn how to control his/her biting. To put it simply: teach the puppy that if he bites too hard the playing stops and if he is gentle playing goes on. Once your puppy’s biting becomes less hard you can repeat the procedeure again, thus making him biting less and less hard. You should finally reach a state where your puppy is mouthing your hand and you feel very little or no pressure at all from his teeth.
It is important not to pull away your hand to quickly as this can trigger the “hunting instinct” in your puppy and it will also think that this is a part of the game. This will make him exited and he will start chasing after your hand.
Reward good behavior and ignore the puppy when he behaves badly. This goes for all puppy training. Rewards for good behavior works better than punishiment for bad behavior.
Next step would be to teach the puppy that teeth does not belong on human skin. This can be done in a number of ways. When you have a puppy who chews your furniture or other belongings you can redirect the chewing to something the puppy is allowed to chew and you can do the same thing with biting. When a puppy is biting your arm or hand you gently grab it by the neck, push it away a little and give it something else to bite. This will teach the puppy what it is allow to bite and what it should’nt bite.
When you pat or stroke a puppy it sometimes gets exited and starts mouthing your hands or forams. In this case you can distract by giving it a little treat.
Make sure that new, fun toys are available for your puppy and encourage him to play with them. This will redirect the puppy’s attention from you and to an object which is suitable for chewing. You can also encourage your puppy to play games which does not require soo much physical contact, like tug of war or Fetch.
Keep a tug toy easily accessible, this way you can immediately redirect your puppies attention to it, if he starts to bite your feet or ankles.
There are more tricks you can use if biting gets bad. If you have an older puppy who bites you: say NO in a stern voice and poke your finger in his chest. This is not meant to hurt but only to show him who is in charge. You can also try to use a spray can of water and spray him in the face if he bites.
The most important thing of all
You probably think I am being way too reptitive or that this subject is stuck in my head but I still want to stress the importance of becoming the packleader of your dog or puppy. This is especially important as your puppy grows older and becomes stronger. You must show your puppy strong leadership in order to get him to stop biting or whatever else you would like to teach him.
For puppy, his mother is his natural leader and he will follow her and she will teach him (among other things) when he is biting to hard. If you are to teach your puppy to stop biting then you will have to be your puppy’s “mother” or leader. It is important to teach your puppy that you are the leader of the pack as soon as possible as this is absolutely vital for all dog training. I have written a post on how to become the packleader.
Learning how to stop your puppy from biting is very important as a biting puppy will later turn into a big biting dog who can cause serious injuries if he bites a person or another dog. The sooner you start teaching your puppy to control the force of his bites and then to stop biting people the better it is. This is not complicated but requires patience. You can also take a look at my review of the Online Dog Trainer where you can learn how to stop your puppy from biting by watching a professional dog trainer work with a puppy on video.
If you should need any help please leave your comments below and I will answer them as soon as I can.