Stop my puppy biting – the biggest mistake we make

Stop my puppy biting
Stop my puppy biting

Puppies explore the world with their mouths and teeth so biting and nipping comes natural to them. However they need to learn what they are allowed to nip and bite and what they should keep off. This post will show you what most of us do wrong when we teach our puppies not to bite and you will see things from a puppy’s point of view.

The thing is that millions of people get this all wrong because they are actually encouraging their puppies to nip and bite. When puppies grow up they are encourged to gently mouth and bite our hands and fingers. Now the odd thing about this is that we are teaching them to do something we don’t want them to do when they grow older and bigger.

So just imagine what kind of confusion this will create for the puppy. We teach them to genty mouth our hands and fingers and when they grow older we teach them that they bite too hard and then we want them to stop all together and if they continue to bite this is the worst thing they can do.

So for the puppy this is really complicated, they don’t understand why they are allowed to do this and then the rules change once they grow bigger. This is very common, a lot of people do this but here is what you should do instead.

When your puppy is small you should already teach it the things you want it know and do once it gets older. It will be much easier both for you and your puppy if the rules does not change as the puppy grow up.

So here are the steps, somewhat simplified.

  •  Make sure your puppy always have chew toys available (even a piece of wood will do)
  • From the very beginning encourage your puppy to stay off your fingers, hands and clothes
  •  If your puppy mouths you then redirect them calmly onto something else•
  • If they continue to mouth place them calmly on the floor and make a little “yelp” noise. This will make the puppy understand they are hurting you.
  • If the puppy still don’t stop mouthing your hands, fingers and clothes, put them in time out for a minute or two.

These are simple, yet effective tips on how to stop your puppy from biting. Remember conistency is the key in all training. Don’t allow your puppy to do something you don’t want them to do later on. Get things right from the start and it will be much easier. However if you have already made the mistake and taught your puppy the wrong thing, don’t worry it can still be fixed, you just need a little patience.

If you learn more about how to stop a puppy from biting, I suggest you take a look at Doggy Dan’s site. It features a full section with videos on mouthing and there is always support available if you need it. Doggy Dan offers a 3 day one dollar trial.

CLICK HERE to try it

A Few important things to keep in mind

1. When your puppy is young (around 8 weeks or so) you should give him/her several chances if he/she accidentally mouths your fingers. It is only from the age 5 months that you can expect that they completely stay of your clothes and hands.

2. When you call your puppy over to you, keep a chew toy in your hand and give it to him/her when he/she comes. This is because we humans give affection using our hands and a dog uses its mouth. Without another option of something to mouth it will be hard for them to succeed.

3. If your puppy ignores your chew toy and start mouthing your hand stay calm and gently put your puppy on the floor. It is important that your puppy stay calm and don’t get over exited.

So to summarize: The reason why many of us gets a problem with biting/mouthing is that we encourage our puppies to do it when they are young and then we want to stop the behaviour once they get older and already have the habit. This causes a lot of confusion. So by discouraging (patience with little pups) biting/mouthing when from the beginning and redirect the biting/mouthing to a toy or other chewable object we can stop our puppies from biting.

This post is an example of the kind of information you can find at the Online Dog Trainer. There is a full section covering everything you need to know about raising and training a puppy and all together there are more than 250 dog training videos there.

Click Here to try the Online Dog Trainer

If you have any questions and/or tips you would like to share, please post them below.


Comments 8

  • First off I just want to say that those pictures of the puppies are soo cute! My girlfriend already has a couple of dogs but we were thinking of getting a puppy that would live here with me. This information sounds logical and this is what my girlfriend suggested that I get familiar with.

    She did this type of teaching with one of her dogs when she got him as a puppy and now grown he is well behaved. Her other dog was obviously brought up the wrong way. Thank you for this information I will remember it for when we/I get the new puppy. I certainly want him/her to learn not to be mouthing and biting my hands.

    • Yes, mouthing can be really annoying but it is really all a question of teaching the puppy what we want from it. If we are to do that, we must make the puppy understand what we want and what we don’t want it to do. Sometimes what seem logic to us does not make any sense to a puppy or dog.

      I wish you the best of luck with your new puppy and if I can be of any help to me feel free to contact me anytime and I will do what I can to help you.

      All the best,


  • Hi Jojo! I wish I had stumbled upon your website earlier when both of my dogs were puppies. You have no idea how many ripped pants and shirts I have because of that. Not to mention all the scratches on my hands. We are planning on adding a new member to our dog family, so I think I will be visiting your blog daily. Do you have any advice on how I can safely introduce a puppy to two grown-up dogs? Thanks for the info!

    • Hi

      Yes I do have some advice on how to introduce a puppy to two older dogs. I have written a post on how to do that and there is also a video showing you how. You can find the the post and the video here:

      How to Introduce a Puppy to an older Dog

      Usually the dogs will handle this introduction on their own but there are a few things to keep in mind. You will find it all in the post.

      I wish you luck and if you need any help just drop me a line and I will do what I can to help you.

  • Very good article about teaching our puppies not to do biting especially people. I find the facts and tips very helpful. It seems that puppies are like human! If you teach them the right thing from when are young, they will also do the right thing when they grow up. I just wonder how hard it would be to change the wrong behavior of our dogs. However, I saw one time in TV about the story of a couple and how their ill-mannered dog has changed its behavior with good training and consultation. 

    • Hi and thank you,

      changing “wrong” behavior on dogs is not all that difficult if you know how. It does require some patience though and if you can correct it (or even better avoid bad behavior from developing) when a puppy is small it will be easier than if you have to deal with it once you have an adult dog. Even adult dogs can learn and change behavior though regardless of their age.

  • hello, i have a puppy. It’s important to help your puppy learn to control his biting behavior and There are various ways, although some are better than others. The ultimate goal is to train your puppy to stop mouthing and biting people altogether. but the first and most important objective is to teach it that people have very sensitive skin. this could help a lot.

    • So very true. If a puppy gets to rough and bites when you play with it, make a sound like it really hurts and stop the game. The puppy will understand that it needs to stop biting otherwise the game stops. Also you should not allow the puppy to his/her teeth on human skin, that way it will understand that nothing good will come out of biting.

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