How to Get Your Puppy to Stop Biting: 11 Expert Tips

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5-01-2023, 04:10
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Playing with your new puppy is so much fun! But wait… Ouch! Their tiny teeth sure are sharp, and it’s no fun to get nipped during playtime. While biting is a normal part of canine development, there are ways you can communicate with your dog and let them know that biting isn’t appreciated. Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks you need to train your pup not to bite you anymore.

Make a high-pitched “ow” sound.

  1. Teach your puppy bite inhibition by making a sound like you’re in pain. When puppies play with each other, they’ll naturally nip and bite each other (sometimes too hard). If their littermate is in pain, they will naturally yelp and jerk backward. To mimic this, make a loud “ow!” sound and remove your hand from their mouth whenever your puppy bites you.
    • Keep in mind that for some puppies, a loud noise like this will actually encourage them to bite you again (because they think you’re playing). If your loud noise doesn’t stop your puppy, move onto the methods listed below.

Ignore your puppy when they bite.

  1. Send the signal to your puppy that when they bite, you aren’t playing anymore. When your puppy bites you, yelp loudly and remove your hand to signal that playing has stopped. Then, ignore the puppy for 20 seconds. Physical isolation from the pack sends a strong message to the puppy that they have acted incorrectly. If the puppy bites you again, get up and leave for another 20 seconds.
    • After the 20 seconds are up, go back and start playing with your puppy again. Communicate with your dog that gentle play is encouraged and rough play is discouraged. Play with your puppy until the same sequence happens again and repeat the ignore/withdraw steps.

Put your puppy in time-out.

  1. Take your puppy to the crate to give them a chance to calm down. Sometimes, simply ignoring your dog isn’t enough. While you never want your puppy to associate their crate with negativity, sometimes giving them a chance to relax and wind down will curb their biting behavior. When your puppy bites, gently take them to their crate and give them a time-out for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Do this calmly and quietly without yelling at your pup. The more they associate their crate with a calm, soothing environment, the easier crate training will be.
    • Don’t have a crate? Put your puppy in a separate room that’s blocked off with a baby gate to give them some quiet time.

Give your puppy a toy or bone to chew.

  1. Offer your puppy an alternative to keep their mouth occupied. When you play with your puppy, keep a fun toy or a new bone nearby. Whenever they start to bite you, quickly offer them a toy or bone to chew on. Praise them to encourage positive behavior and reinforce good habits.
    • Using a toy is a great way to get your puppy to stop biting your ankles, too. Whenever you feel a nip near your feet, drop your puppy’s favorite toy on the ground as a distraction.
    • Always make sure that your puppy has plenty of fun, exciting toys around. Otherwise, they could get bored and look for other things to chew on (like your fingers).

Give your puppy a command.

  1. Distract your puppy with a new task they can follow. If you’re working on teaching your dog basic commands, this is a great opportunity to practice. When your puppy starts to get mouthy, give them a simple command, like “sit,” or “down.” Then, reward them with a treat when they follow it.
    • A command gives your puppy something else to focus on besides their urge to bite.

Offer a treat when your puppy is calm.

  1. Reward good behavior so your puppy is more likely to repeat it. When your puppy is playing calmly or lounging around, give them a treat and tell them “good dog.” As they grow up, they’ll learn to associate their calm behavior with a reward, which makes them much more likely to repeat it.
    • Studies have shown that positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement when it comes to training animals. Focus on rewarding your pup as much as you can to get them into good habits.

Exercise your puppy regularly.

  1. Tired dogs don’t bite as much, so make sure you walk and play with your pup. In general, bigger breeds need more exercise, while smaller breeds need less. Make sure to walk your puppy at least once a day, and play with them multiple times per day to get all their energy out.
    • If your puppy tends to bite or nip more when you’re playing with them, try non-contact forms of play, like fetch.
    • Have you ever noticed that your puppy gets “the zoomies,” or a quick burst of energy? Puppies typically like to play or exercise in short bursts, followed by a long nap.

Feed your pup or give them water.

  1. Meet your puppy’s needs if they seem antsy or restless. Occasionally, your puppy might be biting because they feel worked up or anxious. Make sure that your puppy has food, water, and has been outside to potty recently. That way, you know that they aren’t trying to tell you something.
    • Keep your puppy on a regular feeding and pottying schedule so don’t lose track of their needs.

Sign up for a puppy class.

  1. Puppy classes help you train and socialize your dog. Not only will you learn basic commands, your puppy will get to meet other dogs their own age. Look into taking a puppy class to get help from a certified dog trainer as you and your puppy continue to bond.
    • You can also sign up for individual sessions with a dog trainer if you need one-on-one assistance.

Let your puppy play with other dogs.

  1. Show them that getting nipped by other pups is an unpleasant experience. Playing with other vaccinated dogs is a normal part of your dog's puppyhood. And just like your own childhood, this is a time for exploration and learning lessons. Regular play with other well-mannered dogs, who don't need to act to teach bite inhibition, will encourage your pup to play nicely around other dogs (and you).
    • Make sure that your puppy is up to date on all their vaccinations before letting them play with other animals.

Avoid punishing your pup.

  1. Yelling at or punishing your dog will only make them feel scared. While a puppy biting you can be frustrating (and painful), it’s important to try and keep your cool when dealing with your dog. Punishing your dog is confusing for them, and it’s much less effective than teaching them good behaviors and rewarding them for doing the right thing.
    • Yelling at your puppy can also be seen as a form of reward or like you’re playing with them.

Tips

  • Puppies usually grow out of biting by the time they’re 5 months old or so.
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