How To Stop My Puppy Biting?

January 15, 2023 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Puppy biting can be tough! 

You’ve recently welcomed this adorable puppy into your home and heart. Now it has turned into a furry, four legged, shark!

How can something so cute, hurt so bad! This often leaves new puppy owners feeling helpless and unsure what to do.

Why does my puppy bite?

It is completely normal for puppies to bite.

Puppies bite for a number of reasons, including: over excitement, play, exploring, teething and tiredness. 

Much like a young child, puppies are learning all about the world around them. The best way to do this for puppies is through their mouths! This is one of the most effective ways for puppies to explore their world. 

Teething can be a painful process for most puppies, which often results in heavy mouthing and chewing to relieve pain. Teething puppies can last from 3 weeks up until 8 months of age depending on the individual dog. 

Mouthing and biting is also a natural process involved in puppy play. However sometimes due to high levels of excitement your puppies brain can fall out, and their bite inhibition (how hard they bite) can become lost. 

Your puppy’s bite inhibition can also become lost from over tiredness. When your puppy is overtired, using their brain can become quite challenging! 

How to reduce puppy biting?

To reduce puppy biting you should: 

  • Ensure plenty of appropriate teething toys and chews are provided 
  • Make sure your puppy gets plenty of sleep (young puppies should be getting around 18 hours of sleep per day!)
  • Provide calming enrichment such as: sniffing, licking and chewing; to help moderate arousal levels

How to stop my puppy biting?

With the right management you can reduce the amount your puppy bites. But this will not fully get rid of the biting behaviour. 

So what should you do to stop your puppy biting, when they are sinking their needle teeth into your skin.

Redirect! 

Puppy mouthing is very normal and can be a healthy way for puppies to initiate play (when the mouthing is appropriate). 

In situations where your puppy is trying to initiate play, redirecting them to a more appropriate item can be useful. This will show your puppy that there are more beneficial objects to mouth on, that present much better outcomes. Such as: a tasty chew or fun game with their human!

Ignore! 

Puppies are experimenting with behaviour and trying to work out what behaviours result in good outcomes! Behaviours that result in good outcomes will be repeated by your puppy! 

Unfortunately, humans can often fall into the trap of accidentally reinforcing the biting behaviour! 

You don’t get to decide what your puppy finds reinforcing.

Even behaviours such as telling your puppy to ‘stop’, pushing your puppy off, or squealing in pain, could be reinforcing your puppy.

Where possible ignoring your puppies mouthing can be very useful to ensure they aren’t reinforced by your actions.

What if I can’t ignore? 

If ignoring your puppies mouthing is becoming difficult, the best option is to remove yourself or the puppy from the situation. This will mean their mouthing behaviour is interrupted yet not reinforced.

What not to do? 

  • Shout or yell
  • Reinforce your puppy
  • Physically punish your puppy

What to do?

  • Ignore
  • Redirect 
  • Remove yourself or your puppy from the situation

Puppy biting can be challenging! But with the right management and techniques you can make puppy hood a little easier! If you feel you need extra support or advice please reach out to book in a free call with one of our trainer!

You can book in a call here: https://calendly.com/training-phone-assessment/mini-phone-consultation

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