Knowing how to stop puppies from biting is vital to raising a well-behaved dog. Puppies are one of the cutest (if not the cutest) things on earth. And if you ever watch a litter of puppies play fighting and wrestling and rolling about, it looks great fun and just adorable.
That said, it’s not really all fun and games though; you’re actually watching a battle for dominance and to become the alpha dog in the pack. There’ll probably be one puppy in particular who tends to win all the play-fights. You’ll notice that he’ll bully his litter-mates. He may bite their ears, paws and tails, and make them yelp. This is the puppy who’ll more than likely end up as the alpha dog.
And if you choose that puppy, then once you get him home you and your family will now be his new pack. He’s already proved his dominance over his litter-mates, so he’s probably going to try and do the same with the kids, the cat, or even any other dogs you might have, including adult dogs.
You might find that when you play with him he grabs your sleeve and shakes his head wildly from side to side, growling crazily. And while this is very cute when he’s little, it won’t be so cute when he’s older and bigger, so you need to put a stop to it.
Why You Need To Know How To Stop Puppies From Biting
Puppies that are allowed to get away with dominant behavior when they’re young are much more likely to grow into dominant, and potentially dangerous, adults dogs. So you need to learn how to stop puppies from biting. Teaching your puppy not to bite is an important part of their training.
Teach Him Like His Mom
So how to stop puppies from biting then? One way is to teach your puppy to stop the same way that his mom would. If you give him a little pinch to the back of his neck, this will make him release his bite. You should then give him a toy or something else to play with. It’s much more fun, both for him and, in the long run, you too.
Another way is to teach him so-called “bite inhibition”. If you think about watching puppies play again, you’ll notice that every now and again one of them will bite too hard and the one that’s bitten will let out a yelp, jump away and stop playing for a while. Soon though, they’ll be back playing again. It’s this reaction of yelping and stopping playing that teaches the other puppy not to bite too hard.
And just like they learn to control the strength of their biting from their litter mates, they can learn it from you too. When playing with your puppy, let him grab your hand in his mouth and play with it. Let him do this until he bites too hard and then let out a yelp and pull away from him. Then praise him for stopping or if he now starts licking you instead of biting.
You can then return to playing with him until he bites too hard again, at which point go through the same process. In this way, your puppy should learn not to bite you too hard. If your puppy’s really excitable you might find he carries on biting when you yelp.
If this is the case, you should stop playing with him for a while – take a time out for 20-30 seconds or so before you start playing again. He’ll soon learn to control his biting once he realizes the fun stops when he bites too hard, and you should find he becomes much more gentle with your hands.
Teach Him No Biting
Once you get to this stage you can then start to teach your puppy not to bite humans at all. There are a few tricks you can use to do this:
- Give him a toy to play with every time he tries to play with your hands. For example, start a game of tug of war with him as soon as starts trying to bite you.
- Alternatively, give him a chew bone to chew on instead of biting you.
- Puppies often react to being touched, i.e. stroked or petted, by mouthing your hand. If your puppy’s like this, try holding a treat in your other hand while you stroke him. As soon as he starts mouthing, give him the treat to distract him. In this way, he’ll gradually become used to being touched without reacting by biting.
- Use the same time-out procedure as described earlier when discussing how to teach your puppy not to bite too hard. Now though, call a time-out every time he tries to bite you at all.
- If you’re puppy’s an ankle-biter as you walk, a good tip is to always carry one of his favorite toys with you. When he bites at your ankles or feet, stop and wave the toy at him. Your puppy will likely grab the toy. At this point start walking again until he bites again, at which point stop and give him his toy again. If you don’t happen to have a toy with you, just stop until he stops biting at you at which point start praising and petting him and go and get him a toy to play with.
Puppy biting might seem cute when your puppy’s tiny and so are their teeth. It won’t seem quite so cute when they’re older and bigger though. Your puppy should be taught not to bite as early as possible to prevent it becoming a problem later on. The tips and advice in this article should set you well on the way to knowing how to stop puppies from biting.