Although having a puppy can be a fun and incredible experience, it does come with a few minor hiccups. For example, there’s no denying that puppy biting can be quite a challenging behavior to deal with. Equipped with their 30 tiny teeth, they can wreak havoc in a room and chew on everything that piques their interest. Without proper guidance and training, this puppy habit can turn into serious behavioral problems that may be difficult to correct.
So how do you stop a puppy from biting? What’s the secret behind a well-mannered pup? Is it something you can resolve on your own as a new dog owner? Do you need professional puppy training sessions? Learn more as you read the comprehensive guide below.
Understanding why your puppy bites
Many fur parents who are new to raising puppies often feel overwhelmed by mouthing and puppy biting. However, those who have prior experience know that these are quite normal for developing dogs. It’s a natural behavior that often goes away before they hit 12 months of age. There are various possible reasons why young dogs bite or play-bite, including:
- Discomfort felt during the teething process
- Craving for attention or affection from you or other pups
- Curious to explore everything around them using their mouth
- Genetic predisposition to nip, bite or chase things that move
- Learning natural bite inhibition
With proper guidance and feedback, puppy biting eventually stops. You can use various methods to curb the behavior. For starters, you should teach him/her how sensitive the skin can be, so he/she must not bite or nip hard even during playtime. Once you successfully inhibit the dog’s biting force, your next goal is to teach him/her how to lessen the frequency of his/her bites.
Bite inhibition training – the essentials
The ASPCA.org defines bite inhibition as your dog’s capability to control how much force he/she puts into his/her mouth when biting or nipping. Learning bite inhibition often comes at an early age, mostly when pups from the same litter play with each other. When they pounce or nip each other, they can gauge how much force it would take before they hurt the other. As soon as the other yelps, the nipping dog stops mouthing and waits before they could play again.
The same thing happens when puppies play with their humans. During playtime, let your teething puppy nip your hands or fingers until you feel the pressure. Let out a soft yelp just enough to alarm your puppy. If that did not attract his/her attention, try incorporating words like “Ouch!” or “That hurts!”. As soon as he/she takes notice, he/she will back off. If not, you can back off yourself. Then, after a few minutes, show affection again. Praise your dog for doing a good job and resume your play session. Repeat the exercise each day until he/she only bites softly.
Completely taking control of puppy biting
It can be inconvenient when you’re doing house chores, and your pup keeps on pouncing at you or mouthing your legs or feet. As such, once you succeed in teaching how to nip and bite inhibition gently, your next goal is to train him/her to stop biting completely. To do this, you can use any of the methods below:
- Offer chew toys as a distraction so they don’t gnaw on your shoes, clothes, and skin.
- Use commands like “Off” to discourage mouthing, then offer rewards once he/she obeys.
- Encourage the development of social skills by letting him/her play with other pups.
- Use time outs whenever his/her teeth touch your skin before you continue playing again.
Dog training – rewards and punishments
Training a young dog is similar to teaching a kid proper discipline and essential life skills. You need to find the right balance between using rewards and punishments so you can be more effective in getting your message across.
Most of the time, negative stimuli in the form of time outs or vocal punishment get your dog’s attention. It also helps discourage misbehavior, such as mouthing and nipping. On the other hand, rewards like treats, belly rubs, and cuddles boost your dog’s confidence and instill obedience.
Take note of the best methods that work for you when teaching your puppy to stop biting. Make necessary adjustments so you can see better results. It could take time to instill bite inhibition and control its frequency, so you need to be extra patient. Never resort to physical violence to correct the problem.
If the current method you use doesn’t work, find another approach, or customize it. Bear in mind that each pup is different, so you won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a lot of work, but it will help you and your dog enjoy each other’s company over the years.
Enroll your puppy in a training class
What better way to help your dog learn basic discipline than enrolling him/her in a puppy training school? Experienced dog trainers will help your dog learn everything from bite inhibition to following simple commands.
This is an ideal option for many dog owners because they can take advantage of the trainer’s skills, expertise, and equipment. It also eliminates guesswork since dog training specialists can provide customized lessons depending on the dog’s age, temperament, and trainability. For example, at Delaware K9 Academy, our students learn various topics, including:
- Basic obedience
- Environmental exposure
Our mission is to help you enjoy a beautiful and strong bond with a well-mannered dog. Book your puppy’s training today or check out the rest of our offered services.
Key takeaway – Puppy biting is a problem you can solve
Some behaviors, such as puppy mouthing and biting, are a normal part of a dog’s early development. They outgrow such behavior if you address it properly. The earlier you start disciplining your pup, the better. If you need help or want to ensure your dog’s learning, you can reach out to our friendly dog experts anytime.