Just about everyone loves puppies, even their cute, little, needle-sharp teeth that gnaw at your hands when they play. But, those little puppy bites aren’t as cute as you think, especially when the puppy grows up to be a dog that bites.
In fact, all puppy owners should train young dogs not to bite, so they aren’t aggressive when they get older. Here are some tips for training puppies not to bite.
It’s important to note that before you took your puppy home, they spent a lot of time with their siblings, biting each other all day long. When a puppy bites another puppy, it’s a learning phase. When one pup’s pain threshold has been met, they let out a yelp and the biting puppy lets go.
Humans can mimic this behavior. When a puppy bites you, you can let your hand go limp and let out a yelp. Your pup will instantly stop biting, and it won’t be as harsh the next time they bite.
Repeat the process until they learn your pain threshold. This is one method especially used to train German Shepherd puppies to stop biting.
Socialize your puppy
From the very beginning, get your puppy used to various people, places, and things. This will help it be less fearful in new situations because it will already be familiar with many of them.
Even when a situation is slightly different from one it knows, your puppy will respond without aggression, which can be a problem in unsocialized dogs.
Allow others to play with and hold your puppy to ensure it understands that most people are fun instead of dangerous.
This way, your dog won’t be as inclined to bite a stranger in the future as it would be if it didn’t know anyone but you and your family members. When puppies associate people with play, they tend to be less aggressive when they get older.
Get your puppy spayed or neutered
While getting your puppy spayed or neutered isn’t a guarantee it won’t bite someone; there is evidence that doing so makes dogs less aggressive.
This is particularly true for male dogs, but it has also been seen in females. Spaying or neutering your dog is good practice for numerous reasons, including limiting the pet population, but it’s also a way to potentially prevent dog bites as well.
Use positive reinforcement
Several studies show that dogs that are trained using punishment instead of positive reinforcement are 25% more likely to respond aggressively. This is why most dog trainers recommend using positive reinforcement to train your puppy not to bite. Whenever your dog responds to a situation calmly and without biting, reward it with praise and treats.
Eventually, your puppy will associate the desired behaviors with external rewards, whether they get them every time or not.
You can also give your dog extra play time, more cuddles, or anything else your puppy enjoys in addition to treats and praise. That way, if you don’t have treats available when your dog does something you want, you can still reward it.
Let your dog growl
One behavior that you shouldn’t stop your dog from exhibiting is growling. This is how your dog shows discomfort with a situation or person.
You want your dog to give a warning if it is getting close to its tipping point so that it doesn’t bite someone out of anywhere.
When your dog growls, teach the person it’s growling at to leave the dog alone or remove the dog from the situation.
Final thoughts on puppy bites
Even though these tips will help you train your puppy not to bite, they can’t guarantee it will never happen. All dogs have the potential to bite under the right (or wrong) circumstances.
But, these tips will make sure you’ve done everything possible to prevent dog bites when it gets older. If an adult dog attacks someone, you may end up facing a lawsuit!