Puppy biting is a challenging phase of puppyhood! But with patience and the right training, you can teach your puppy appropriate play skills.
“Why does my puppy bite?”
Young puppies explore the world with their mouths. And if your puppy hasn’t had much experience playing with other dogs, they may not have good boundaries yet. Most often, puppies bite because they’re trying to play, not because they want to hurt you. That’s why, instead of punishing them, we redirect them.
“How do I train my puppy to stop biting?”
First off, make sure your puppy has plenty of appropriate things to bite. Things like chew toys, bully sticks, antlers, Himalayan chews, frozen Kongs with treats inside, etc. are all great options. Give your puppy a few at a time, and switch them out occasionally to keep your pup interested. Just like human children, puppies go through a teething phase, and chewing (especially on frozen toys) helps relieve the discomfort.
You might notice that your puppy has the most energy first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. They’ll sometimes get the ‘zoomies’ to release that pent-up energy. These are prime times to take your puppy outside, go for a walk, or play with them to help release that energy in a healthy, nondestructive way.
This is also the perfect time to teach them not to bite during play. Make sure you have an array of long toys so your puppy can hold one end while you hold the other. If your puppy bites your hand instead of the toy, drop the toy and completely stop engaging with the puppy for a few seconds. If the puppy starts to bite at your arms or legs, you may have to leave the room entirely. Give them a few seconds to calm down, then pick up a toy and invite them to play again.
Dogs love to chase and grab moving objects. By jerking your hands away from a biting puppy or wagging a finger at them, you can inadvertently teach them that biting makes your hands move, meaning your hands become even more fun. Instead, by disengaging and removing yourself from the situation, you teach your puppy that biting means playtime ends. Over time, they’ll learn that only polite play keeps the game going.
To stay consistent with your training, keep a toy in each room of your house. If your puppy starts biting at you, redirect them to the toy. Also, show members of your household or visiting friends how to do the same. Consistency and patience are key!
If you’re struggling with puppy biting (or another of the many challenges of puppy parenthood), book your free training evaluation at Petropolis today. Our training team would love to get to know your puppy, troubleshoot any challenges you’re facing, and help you plan for your puppy’s development and growth.