Why dogs bite, Okemos MI

Biting, nipping, and mouthing are all common in puppies, who are still learning what types of behaviors are appropriate. Puppy teeth can be very sharp, however, so these lessons can be painful without help from our Okemos, MI, dog trainers

Here’s what you need to know about why puppies bite so much and what you can do to stop it. 

Top Reasons for Puppy Biting

Puppies experience teething just like human babies do. As their teeth come in, they need something to chew on in order to alleviate their discomfort. Teething puppies don’t realize how sharp their teeth are, and they won’t realize that biting is painful unless you train them.

Your puppy may also bite at you or other things around the house because they’re exploring. When they bite into something, they are actually learning via sensory information. The level to which they can bite an object, what that thing tastes like, and whether they should bite again in the future are all gained from this behavior.

Unfortunately, puppies that learn biting is okay can grow into dogs that bite. Many dogs are surrendered to shelters for behaviors that should have been trained out of them while they were puppies. You’ll need to be diligent about putting a stop to bad behaviors before they become a problem.

We also offer dog training services and a puppy program at our Okemos facility. Our trainers can work with you and your dog to encourage positive behavior so they’re more well-rounded and balanced. 

How Much Biting is Normal in Puppies?

It’s very normal for puppies to bite during playtime, because they’re not aware that it’s hurting you. They just want to play! It’s even normal for puppies to bite as a reaction when they’re scared or upset. Your job is to give them alternative ways to express themselves so they don’t continue to bite as they get older. 

How to Stop Puppy Biting

If your puppy’s bites are starting to wear on your patience, there are a few things you can do to encourage better behavior. 

  1. Redirect. Puppies who are teething will benefit from biting down on something, but ideally not your hand! Try to redirect your puppy’s attention by letting your hand go limp, so it’s not fun for them to play with, and immediately offering a chew toy instead. Your puppy will learn that when it comes to chewing, there’s a time and a place. 
  1. Withdraw. If your puppy continues to bite, sometimes the best thing you can do is withdraw. Puppies want your attention, so when you react to their bites with yelling or another strong reaction, they still get something out of that interaction. 

The best thing to do in this case is to immediately leave the room and ignore your puppy for about a minute after a bite. This will de-escalate the situation and let your puppy know they’ve done something wrong. Eventually, he or she will learn that biting is not a way to get your attention. 

  1. Consult a professional. When all else fails, don’t be afraid to consult a professional dog trainer. It’s important to intervene to weed out unwanted actions early, before your puppy grows into an adult dog that bites. Our puppy trainers can work with you and your puppy to stop the biting and help your dog learn how to behave.

Need Professional Puppy Training?

Our dog trainers in Okemos, MI, offer dog and puppy training classes to help your pup learn what’s acceptable and what’s not. To enroll in one of our dog training courses, call Dog Gone Fun today at (517) 657-4300 or contact us online.

This blog post has been updated. 

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