Puppy biting is a common problem that almost all dog owners will encounter. In the beginning, it is really cute when they nibble on your fingers or toes; however, those cute little nibbles become stronger and their teeth tend to be sharper. While they are really cute, it is very important to take steps early to stop puppy biting.
Allowing your puppy to bite you during play teaches your puppy that is it okay to bite your skin. This can be very confusing to your puppy when he is punished for playing too hard. Preventing them from biting in the first place is your best option.
#1 – Refuse to Play
Your puppy is a social animal and refusing to play when he starts to bite can be an effective strategy. This is a simple, yet very effective strategy. The second your puppy starts to bite or nip, yell “ouch” loudly. Stare at your puppy with a disappointing glare, get up, and move away. Do not interact with your puppy for a minute or two. This will show your puppy that you are not happy with him.
After a couple of minutes, grab a chew toy and give it to your puppy. Encourage your puppy to play with the chew toy. The trick here is consistency and patience. Each time your puppy bites you playfully or not, repeat this strategy. Your puppy will eventually understand that biting only makes you stop playing, which is the last thing he wants.
It is very important that every member of the family and anyone who comes into contact with your puppy understands this strategy and implements it during this training stage.
#2 – Shake a Can
This option should only be used if your verbal commands are completely ignored. Simply fill a clean soda can with ten pennies. Put tape on the mouth. When your puppy starts to bite, say “ouch” or “no bite” and give the can a good shake. This will reinforce your verbal command. Once he stops, praise him and give him a chew toy.
#3 – Physically Reinforcing the No Bite Command
This strategy should only be used as a last resort. If the first two steps do not work, then you can implement this strategy. It is important that you are careful when using this strategy. Never use this strategy if you are angry. Patience and love is important.
When your puppy starts to bite, yell “ouch” while grasping the loose skin on your puppy’s neck. Do not shake your puppy, just grasp firmly. Look him in the eye and say firmly “no bite.” Do not pull your puppy up off of the ground. Release your puppy and give him a chew toy. You should only have to do this a few times. Go back to only using verbal strategies after a few times.
Avoid Playing Games that Encourage Biting
Games like tug of war, chase, and tackle games are not a good option while you are trying to stop puppy biting. Once your puppy has completely learned how to stop puppy biting, then you can introduce these types of games to your puppy.
When Puppy Biting is not Play
If biting is ever accompanied with aggression, such as growling or anything that makes you uncomfortable, contact your dog’s vet. There could be an underlying reason why your dog expresses aggression through biting, such as your puppy is sore or he is not feeling well.
Make sure to socialize your puppy early to get him used to children, other dogs and unfamiliar situations. A poorly socialized dog or a situation that scares him could cause him to react by biting. If you socialize your dog, this will help him to handle these situations better, which can stop puppy biting.