Biting, nipping, and mouthing are all common in puppies, who are still learning what types of behaviors are appropriate. can be very sharp, however, and so these lessons can be painful for their owners! Here’s what you need to know about why puppies bite so much and what you can do to stop it.
Why Do Puppies Bite?
Puppies go through teething just like human babies do, and as their teeth come in they need something to chew on in order to alleviate their discomfort. Puppies don’t realize how sharp their teeth are, and they won’t realize that biting is painful unless you train them.
Puppies that bite grow into dogs that bite, and 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.
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 arewill 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.