If you have ever had a doodle puppy (or any puppy) you may have experienced nipping, mouthing or as some call it “puppy biting“. Often this type of play biting is not aggressive and is mostly a puppy’s way of exploring its surroundings and playing. However, even this seemingly cute behavior can be potentially dangerous or even a life long battle with your puppy.
So how do you stop your puppy from play biting?
Your puppy is new, and he doesn’t know how the world works yet. His mom did the best she could and now it is YOUR job to teach him how to behave. Just like human kids, your puppy needs a solid mixture of experience, redirection, and praise.
It is best to teach them early that, Dog’s Teeth + Human Skin= Unacceptable.
Puppies learn early playing with siblings how to rough house and how much bite is too much bite. Their weak jaws are not strong enough to do too much damage to each other, but just enough to give a nice high pitched squeal from a sibling if they go too far. Puppies then assume they can play with their humans in a similar fashion.
If you are playing with your puppy and they grab onto you with their mouth, say “No Bite” or “No Teeth“. Most of the time they let off, but if your puppy has a hold, just very gently use your free fingers to release your other hand from their mouth. This is your version of the high pitched squeal their puppy siblings may let out when they’ve had enough (you could squeal if you want :D).
If/when your puppy releases his teeth, follow with praise like “Good job, no bite”. You want to be stern but understanding that your puppy is trying to learn. If you are teaching them a skill, make sure you praise if they follow through.
You can also redirect with a chew toy or something your puppy is allowed to sink his teeth into. For example, if your puppy is playing and bites down onto you, say “No Bite“, when they release, praise them with “Good Job, No Bite“, and give them a chew toy.
After using this method for a while, your puppy will eventually know they are not to put their teeth on human skin, not just yours. This will be ideal if you have young children around or like to take your puppy in public. This method has been known to work on older dogs as well, though you get into more dangerous waters with larger more destructive teeth. If at any time you feel your puppy or dog is exhibiting aggressive biting behavior, please seek professional training help. That is what they are there for.
Note: I am by no means a professional dog trainer, but these training tips are things that have worked for me personally as well as other dog owners I’ve interviewed. Always consult a professional dog trainer if you feel your dog’s behavior is something out of your control.
Have you used this method before? If so, how did it work?
How did you get your puppy to stop play biting? Let us know in the comments!
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