How to Stop Your Puppy Biting

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Puppies are all fun and cuteness until they start biting and nipping at you and everything you own. If you are a new puppy owner, you need to know why your puppy bites and how to stop your puppy biting.

The teething process in puppies is an uncomfortable one, similar to that in human babies when they are teething. All puppies bite to some extent as they explore the world with their mouths. Puppies communicate by biting before they are taught other ways of doing so.

Although biting is normal in puppies, you don’t want to encourage it or let it turn into a habit that your puppy will carry into adulthood. Most puppy bites are not meant to cause harm, but you should still teach your puppy not to bite.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to stop your puppy from biting, but you need to be patient and devote a lot of time and effort to training it.

What Causes Puppies to Bite?

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Understanding why puppies bite is important before we look into ways to curb the behaviour.

Puppies tend to bite when:

  • They want to play
  • They want your attention
  • They feel hungry
  • They feel bored
  • They feel tired
  • They feel overly-excited
  • They feel frustrated
  • Their gums hurt from teething discomfort
  • They feel triggered by e.g. high-pitched noises or sudden, jerky movements
  • They want to express rejection towards other pets
  • They are acting like how puppies normally would

It is common for puppies to bite when they are overstimulated, tired or frustrated. Since puppies aren’t yet able to control their emotions, biting is often one of the ways they communicate with you.

By understanding what makes puppies bite, you can be on the lookout for these behaviours and make simple changes in your interactions with your puppy to stop them from biting.

How Long Does Puppy Biting Last?

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A puppy’s teething process typically begins between three and four months of age, and can last until around six to seven months of age. As your puppy loses baby teeth and grows adult teeth, you’ll probably observe an increase in biting activity during the next three months.

How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting

There are numerous methods you can employ to prevent your puppy from biting you or your possessions. You can find an approach that works best for you and your puppy by trying out a few different techniques.

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Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition is a very popular training method to stop puppies from biting and has great success if implemented properly. It teaches puppies how to regulate the force of their bite and that if they do bite, they should not use the full strength of their entire jaw.

The bite inhibition method goes like this:

1. Interrupt your puppy with a cue, like an “Ouch!” or “Ow!” when they start biting you. The intention is to cause the puppy to stop biting, therefore halting the activity. This is similar to what other pups and dogs will naturally do if one of them bites too hard during play.

2. Reward your puppy with a treat and praise when they stop biting or back off in response to your interrupting cue.

3. If your puppy doesn’t stop biting when you try to interrupt, this calls for some time-out in their puppy zone. Get your puppy calmly removed from the situation, pick them up (facing away from you), and placed them into their pen or crate. This is to reinforce that their behaviour wasn’t acceptable.

Puppies and dogs who haven’t learned bite inhibition with people often bite excessively hard, even when they’re only playing. A puppy or dog who has been trained to use its mouth gently when engaging with people will be less likely to bite hard and cause injury in a situation apart from play, such as when they are scared or in pain.

Adequate Exercise

Exercising your puppy exercise is one of the most effective methods for reducing undesirable behaviours, like biting. Puppies often act out when they haven’t been stimulated mentally and physically enough.

Again, the amount of exercise your puppy requires depends on their breed and age.

Offer Your Puppy Chew Toys

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To prevent biting behavior, keep a puppy chew toy on hand at all times, so you can substitute the toy for your hand or furniture. Using toys is a great way to help your puppy satisfy their urge to bite without biting you. Offer a chew toy instead whenever they start biting at your fingers or toes while you’re interacting with them. This will teach your puppy what is acceptable to bite or chew on. Whenever your puppy plays with its toys, reinforce the good behaviour by giving them plenty of verbal praise.

Redirect Your Puppy When They Bite

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When your puppy bites, use basic training cues like sit or stay to redirect their behaviour. Reward your puppy with a treat and verbal praise once they perform the training cue (e.g. sitting). By doing so, you encourage your puppy to stop biting by redirecting it to a different behaviour. This reinforces the positive behaviors your puppy is rewarded for and discourages them from biting.

Biting Means Playtime is Over

As soon as your puppy starts to bite during playtime, the session is over. Drop the toy you’re playing with and walk away from your puppy immediately. This reinforces the message that biting isn’t acceptable and they won’t get to have fun if they start biting.

Enroll In Puppy Training Classes

For every puppy, puppy training sessions are a good idea. Your puppy will learn proper behaviour and skills at an early age that will help them become well-behaved adult dogs. The other benefit of puppy training classes is that your puppy gets the chance to observe how other puppies behave, and they can begin to mimic their behaviour.

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Through interaction with other puppies of different breeds and sizes, your puppy will learn what biting is unacceptable and what is appropriate play behaviour.

Avoid Doing These When Training Your Puppy Not to Bite

Below are things you should never do during training. Any of these actions can leave a negative impact on your puppy in the long run, can hurt your puppy, and can destroy your bond of trust with your puppy.

  • Never Use Physical Punishment When Training Your Puppy

Physical punishment is ineffective, it will only result in distrust between you and your puppy, and it can actually make your puppy become more aggressive. Furthermore, physical punishment towards animals is considered animal abuse.

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  • Never Wrestle With Your Puppy

When you engage in these behaviours, you end up motivating your puppy to bite, which makes the situation worse. These situations will make your puppy feel threatened, and they won’t understand that you’re simply playing with them. In response, they will start to bite and lunge at you as a part of their natural defence behaviour.

  • Never Yell At Your Puppy

When you yell at your puppy, their stress level or excitement level increases. Since they are still unable to control their emotions, your puppy will exhibit more undesirable behaviour as a result of these higher emotional states.

Biting is part and parcel of owning a puppy, but there are ways to limit undesirable behaviour.

Stopping a puppy from biting is actually fairly simple, but it takes time and patience on your part, which is easier said than done.

Having the discipline and patience to properly train your puppy is one of the best things you can do for them. When they demonstrate unpleasant behaviours such as biting, reinforce positive behaviours and remain calm.

Training your puppy not to bite will be helpful in the long run as it will teach your puppy the skills necessary to become a well-behaved adult dog.

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