Like babies, puppies explore by putting everything into their mouths. But despite their curiosity, your dog should not have a puppy biting or nipping problem once he reaches the age of 15 weeks or older. At that point, puppy teeth should never touch human skin.
Many people who own dogs that are older than 15 weeks still struggle with the puppy biting issue. Many of them go so far as placing a muzzle on their dog’s mouth to combat biting. That is extreme and rarely necessary. Instead, teach your puppy what can and cannot go into puppies’ mouths.
Puppies that were separated from their mothers and littermates too early may not have learned bite inhibition. That means you will need to offer bite training as a good puppy parent.
By the time your dog reaches 15 weeks, you should have already given him proper training techniques and basic commands to get your dog to stop his annoying mouthing behavior. Training your puppy can be as simple as taking him to a puppy class to help him learn the necessary obedience commands.
If your dog is older or if you have adopted a dog that’s a little older than 15 weeks and is new to your home, then the following tips can help you get your dog to stop biting your hands and biting at your fingers or toes or ankles or other body parts:
1. Stop rough play
The first item on your checklist must be to discontinue playing all dog games that include roughhousing immediately. I realize that part of the fun of having a new dog is playing games like tug-of-war and wrestling, but unfortunately, this technique doesn’t work for many dogs.
Puppies play with great energy, and your goal should be to tire your puppy out, not create bad habits. You need to help your puppy learn appropriate play, so if you’re faced with an animal that is still not over his biting period, you have to stop these types of activities.
By playing these games, you are giving him the notion that he is allowed to roughhouse with you at any time he wants. You have to be very careful because you don’t want your dog to be hostile towards strangers and young children.
Your dog should never try to bite you in anger or behave aggressively.
2. Use discipline
While it’s OK to allow some light puppy biting, let me stress light biting or nipping from very young puppies. Once your dog is older than 15 weeks, all forms of biting should be completely discouraged.
It’s one thing when your puppy is teething and tries to use your fingers as a chew toy. If that happens, give the puppy a “No Bite” command and then hand the dog a chew toy. This should teach your dog that it’s OK to chew on certain items.
But if puppy biting continues, you have to stop it. Whether it’s just a little nibble on your fingertips or hand that seems to be harmless, give your dog a firm command to stop biting and immediately pull your arm away.
Never hit or bite a puppy that bites you. That will only make your dog afraid. If your dog continues to try to bite your hand, stop what you are doing and walk away. If you are playing, stop playing immediately.
Losing your attention should be enough to get your puppy to behave. If, however, your puppy continues misbehaving, you may have to resort to other methods.
3. Use firm commands
Use firm commands when required. This goes for puppies of all ages. There is nothing wrong with quickly giving a loud and firm “No Bite!” command if you feel a tooth at your hand. You also can say “ow” in a loud, high-pitched tone.
There are two things to keep in mind here: Do not scream and scare your dog, and second, don’t stare at your dog’s eyes for an extended period when you are disciplining him. This can cause confrontation.
Using these simple tips, you’ll be able to eliminate puppy biting quickly.
4. Try a “shock method” to stop puppy biting
Lastly, if necessary, use a “shock method” to get your dog to stop biting. Keep in mind that I am not talking about anything harmful to your dog.
A spritz bottle of water fits the bill well. Use anything that lets you quickly spray at his little body or head when he bites, or nibbles should be enough to stop him from wanting to bite again.
Do not overuse this method. Often this method is all a pet owner will need to eliminate their dog’s mouthing issue. If it doesn’t, however, repeatedly spraying your puppy will not make it work.
Instead, redouble your training efforts. Eventually, your dog will learn not to bite you or chew inappropriately.
5. Buy chew toys
To help ease teething pain, keep plenty of tough chew toys and ice cubes on hand to soothe sore little mouths.
Nylabone Teething Pacifier Puppy Chew Toy: This puppy pacifier uses raised nubs that stimulate gums and teeth to soothe teething pain. This toy is designed for puppies up to 25 pounds. It’s not recommended for adult dogs or puppies with permanent teeth.
KONG Puppy Goodie Bone Dog Toy: Fill with puppy snacks for an interactive game that will keep your puppy entertained while stimulating his brain. The soft rubber material will help soothe your puppy’s gums.
Petstages Crunch A Chew Tough Dog Chew Toy: Crunchcore toys appeal to dogs that love crunching on water bottles but get frustrated when the bottle collapses after chewing. The familiar and irresistible crunch sound will keep your puppy engaged. These durable toys were made for tough chewers.
Nylabone Teething Rings Puppy Chew Toy: This tough toy helps pet parents build bonds with their puppies by playing a gentle tug-of-war game. It’s also a safe chew toy that soothes teething pain and helps keep puppy breath smelling fresh.
KONG Puppy Binkie: This pacifier-inspired toy is made of a natural rubber material that helps promote proper chewing behavior and soothe sore gums. This toy can be stuffed with treats, yogurt, peanut butter, or kibble. It’s an ideal chew toy for puppies up to nine months old.
How to stop puppy biting
Often your puppy’s mouthing is a sign of teething. It’s not a sign there is a puppy behavior problem. And the good news is teething only lasts a short time.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly, visit Oh My Dog Supplies.
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