Growing your puppy should be seen as a serious task rather than a neglected one. One of the most common behaviors that nearly all puppies show when transiting in age is biting which can be mild or aggressive. Many people struggle with how to get a puppy to stop biting them and in the course, they flee from these pets.
You shouldn’t stop your puppy from biting you and neither should you run away from him when he starts to display this behavior. There are many reasons why puppies bite their owners and everything they see around them and all of them are related to trying to explore their new-found world and friends.
This biting behavior should never be left unchecked because the puppy will grow knowing that it is fine to bite anything at any place and time.
Negligence to this habit is the main reason you find mature dogs still biting and sometimes mouthing aggressively, which is not only dangerous but also leads to property damage.
Most puppies engage in biting when they are between 8 – 10 months old. It is very rare to find a dog of over 3 years that engages in serious biting unless the owner never took any precautions to curb this behavior.
If you are a pet lover and you own young puppies and dogs, please continue reading this post because I will take you through some of the certified methods of trying to stop your dog from biting.
Why do puppies bite?
We first of all need to know why puppies have to bite. Many reasons have been put forward to address this question but I will give you the main ones that apply to all dogs.
- Teething. When puppies develop teeth, they experience an uncomfortable situation in their mouth, and to address the situation, these little canines usually start biting the owner or anything that comes across. It is now your noble duty as a pet owner to teach your puppy that it is not good to mouth around everything.
- When engaging the newly found world, puppies will often bite and pull some objects in the house. In the spirit of curiosity, puppies can start to disassemble everything that comes their way. Having this thought in mind, it is always incumbent of you to keep things that are delicate and dangerous out of the puppy’s reach. Remember we are human and they are dogs, we ought to know ahead of them.
Normal biting vs. Aggressive biting
Normal biting is common to all puppies as they grow and can be attributed to many reasons including the ones mentioned above. However, pet owners need to know the difference between a normal bite and an aggressive one.
A normal bite is where the puppy has a relaxed face and the biting itself is not painful. Puppies engage in normal bites when they are out to play. Aggressive biting, on the other hand, is where the dog shows a frowned face and it results in perceivable pain. The dog carries out aggressive biting mostly in instances of fear and anger.
What is Bite inhibition?
Bite inhibition is when the puppy is now able to control its biting and mouthing behavior. Young dogs should be taught that human skin is sensitive and their sharp teeth should not be used during playtime of exercises.
Puppies tend to learn that biting is dangerous on their fellow dogs when they are playing together. This often happens when one puppy bites and the other ‘screams’ and yells for help. It is at this point that the young dog would realize the mistake he made of engaging the teeth in their game.
This also tells us that you should not agitate your dog to the point that he wants to use biting as a fighting back mechanism. As dogs grow and during training and exercises, they learn the strength of their teeth and they can now use it as a fighting back mechanism when disturbed.
Things not to do
As I pointed out earlier, you cannot run away from this problem and let your puppy grow into an irresponsible dog.
Before you even train your puppy on how to stop mouthing, there are some general precautions you need to take in this journey:
- Try not to wave your hand or toes on the puppy’s face. When you do this, your puppy is enticed to start playing with you using its teeth.
- Never chase away your young dog and discourage him from spending some time with you. This playtime is key in building a strong bond between you and your puppy, utilize it well by training your dog on what you would want him to become.
- Do not confront your puppy by slapping or hitting him hard, this will trigger the young dog to respond with a serious bite.
How to stop your puppy from Biting
You can train your puppy to stop biting and it is simpler than training a mature dog to stop biting. Mature dogs have lost touch and are not as sensitive as young ones when it comes to behavior changes.
There are various actions you can take to stop your puppy from biting you. Some are traditional while others are modern and no matter which route you take, achieving the goal is what matters in the end.
Most common approach – traditional approach
Many people have used this approach for many years to stop their dogs from biting them
- As you engage your dog in playtime, just allow him to bite you on your hand gently.
- After the puppy has made the first bite, do not stop playing.
- The puppy will most surely stick its mouth around you for an extended period until he bites hard.
- After the puppy bites you hard, you can yelp at him in a puppy-style and immediately stop the engagements and move away.
- Come back after a short while and continue with the engagement with your puppy.
- You can repeat this approach from time to time and it should work. Make sure you change the kind of games you engage in; you can involve toys or not.
Remember to praise your dog when he stops biting, you can give him a pat on the back or reward by offering some treats.
Why this approach works.
We are all aware that puppies and young dogs always enjoy playtime with their owners. After the puppy has bitten you hard and you shout at him while moving out immediately, he will start thinking of what might have caused you to do that, of course, the bite!
Other approaches to teaching your dog to stop biting – (modern approach)
- You can use a toy around you when engaging the dog. To do this, I encourage getting a snake pet that is smooth all around and will not harm the puppy’s teeth when he bites. Have this snake pet around you when you see your dog in playing moods. Before he starts biting you, hand over the snake pet to its mouth and gently play with him as the dog grapples with the snake. Doing this will make the young dog realize that there are more important and smooth surfaces to bite other than your hands or feet.
- You can also use treats to help your dog curb unnecessary biting. Whenever you appear before your dog, have a few pieces of treats with you. When he starts biting your palm, the dog will find something sweeter and beneficial. The next time, your puppy will always look forward to finding a treat on your hand and he will instead use his nose for smelling to locate it.
Have a look at the video below by McCann Dog Training that will show you how to give treats to your dog gently.
- You can introduce a chew bone as a substitute for toys.
- Stand still whenever your puppy grabs your feet and ankles. At this point, instead of yelling at the dog, you can introduce a toy or a chew bone to keep the dog busy before you proceed with your movement.
- Avoid playing rough like wrestling games with your young dogs. This will always encourage them to use their teeth to combat the force you apply to them. Instead of rough games, you can play ones such as tug of war, engaging in gentle pushing and pulling.
- The above point leads us to the next one where; you need to ensure that you are always gentle in all the hand and feet interactions you have with your puppy.
- Give your dog more exercises and training sessions including entertainment. When puppies and especially mature dogs bite you, it may be a sign of boredom and they are hence trying to get your attention.
- If you are in a family, make sure you encourage other members of the family to do the same when interacting with the puppies. Most importantly, ensure you monitor how your puppy interacts with children in the house.
As we have seen, it is very possible to make your puppy stop biting by following important steps and guidelines. I recommend that you first watch out to find if the biting from your puppy is a normal or aggressive one.
If you have a mature dog that is still displaying aggressive biting behaviors, you can take a further step and find help from a professional.
In all these steps, remember that the puppy is still young and so you can also include other behavioral changes to your dog.
As I mentioned before, it is easier to train a puppy than to train a mature dog. So, before your dog hits 2 years, make sure you have given him all the necessary training and exercises the dog needs.
I would love to hear about your experience with dog-bite issues and how to get a puppy to stop biting. Is he giving you a hard time? Or did you try any of the tips I mentioned in this article? Please let me know in the below comments.