Puppies are cute and fun to be around…no doubt about it!
They tend to be extra playful at a young age because they are more enthusiastic than older dogs. While this can make for great company, it can also become troublesome when your puppy starts nipping at you. This behaviour may seem silly and harmless at first, but it is important to address it quickly and effectively before their small nibbles become large bites that hurt.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) puppies have a total of 28 extremely sharp little teeth. Ouch!
Luckily, there are several simple ways to confront this behaviour and make sure your puppy learns properly that to play and have fun, they need to eliminate any behaviour that may cause unintentional harm, like biting at human hands and feet. The first thing to remember is that puppies most often bite to express affection and a desire to play. When this happens, it is up to YOU – their loving owner – to address the naughty behaviour and ensure your safety (and theirs) in the long run.
Once They Bite, Stop. Playtime is Over
It’s a natural process for puppies to begin biting at some point. After all, puppies are trying to understand the world around them. Using their mouths is the only way they know how to do so, as explained by PetMD.
But this serves as a learning opportunity for them also. They must understand that when they bite, there are consequences. In their earlier stages, you can allow them to nibble, and when you feel their bite has become too hard, make a loud noise to let them know they have hurt you. Say something like, “Ow! No! Stop!”
This will teach them how to play with you without causing harm by biting too hard or breaking the skin.
Once they chomp down too hard, you need to stop playing right away, so they associate biting with no more playtime. Sometimes this will cause excitement, but you need to stand your ground. Let them know through your actions that the moment they hurt you, playtime is officially over.
If They Continue to Bite, Puppy Time-Outs Can Come in Handy
It is important to make sure your puppy has a place just for him/her in the house. Their corner, their bed, their “resting area”. If you can’t get them to calm down, make them stay in their spot for a while. This is a good way for your puppy to calm down and teach them that if they bite once again, playtime is over.
Providing a chew toy can be an effective method for your pooch to release energy. More often than not, continuing to interact with them will only make them even more excited. Therefore, giving them a time-out will help them calm down and gradually understand how to behave.
Provide Chew Toys and Other Biting Diversions
Next, chew toys are a great way to encourage your pup to use his/her natural instincts in a way that does not harm anyone. When your puppy starts to bite at you, you can try diverting their attention to a chew toy. This will reinforce that they cannot bite you, but if they want to bite, they always have a chew toy to engage with.
Chew toys are also great ways to release energy and provide mental stimulation for your puppy when they seem hyper. Consider teaching them a game (like a tug-of-war) that will let them know if they want to chew or bite, they can encourage you to play a game with them that allows for safe energy release. Over time, they will learn that they can use their teeth…just not on you, other people, or even other animals.
Other great ways to help your puppy stop biting are by rewarding their good behaviour with small treats as they learn what is considered acceptable behaviour.
While it may be hard to walk away from your excited puppy, sometimes this is the best way to teach them healthy behaviours. Do not reward biting with further attention, and they will learn that this is an unfavored behaviour. As an alternative, when they do listen and stop biting when they are told to, you can reinforce this behaviour with treats or extra love so that they know that good behaviour is rewarded. Positive reinforcements make for a healthy puppy learning environment, while constantly yelling at or physically punishing your puppy can actually cause the opposite.
So, never ever hit a puppy!
The key to stopping your puppy from biting is finding a method that works and following through with it consistently. As your puppy grows older, they will be able to understand your signals towards their actions. This will encourage better behaviour all around and establish a stronger bond between you and your puppy. Before long, the biting will be a thing of the past!
Communication with your dog sitter
When minding a puppy, it is important to be aware of routine, habits and particular needs, therefore we always recommend speaking with your chosen Gudog sitter in advance of the booking. If your puppy tends to bite, inform the sitter about it and consider bringing along chew toys.