Today I want to tell you how to teach your puppy not to bite your hands, feet, legs, arms, or any other parts of your body.
Before I give you my advice on how to train your puppy not to bite, you need to know that
mouthing, nipping and play biting are absolutely natural behaviours for every dog. Puppies use their mouths to investigate everything around them (just like small children).
Did you ever wonder why you can’t get your new puppy from the breeder right after it’s born, and have to wait at least 8 weeks, until he’s “big” enough to leave his mom and litter mates?
One of the reasons why it is like that, is that puppies have to learn bite inhibition (ability to control the force of their mouthing). The best way for them to learn it, is by interacting with their litter mates and parents.
If you ever had a chance to observe puppies (or adult dogs) playing together, you probably noticed that if one of them is biting another to hard, that hurt dog yelps and walks away. In time dogs learn that biting to hard ends playtime and they learn to soften their mouths.
Now that we know all of that we can start training your pup! This is what we’re going to do:
We are going to teach your dog bite inhibition, but with people.
Our ultimate goal is to train your dog to stop mouthing and biting people altogether.
There are few ways of doing this.
First way is very simple. Every time your puppy bites you to hard, replicate the behaviour of his litter mates. All you have to do is let out a quick yelp to startle your pup and stop playing with him. Ending play time is very important as some pups might think that yelping is just a part of the game and might bite even harder next time.
Second (but in my opinion the best) way to teach your dog not to bite is redirecting him every time he bites you (or any unwanted object like your slippers, sofa, curtains etc.). Redirect your pup by slowly removing the object he’s chewing on and replacing it with his favourite toy or chew. Leave him alone for a while and let him play with his toy.
If you started some training with your pup already, another thing that could help you stop his unwanted biting is teaching him impulse control using exercises like sit, stay or leave it.
Last but not least is the simplest of them all.
Provide lots of toys/chews that your dog can play with instead of biting your hands or anything else. Don’t entice your dog to play by waving your fingers or toes in your dog’s face. Don’t slap the sides of his face. Don’t push or hit your dog! If your dog bites to hard don’t jerk your hand out, but slowly remove your hand from his mouth and replace it with a toy. Play with your pup using toys, not your hands. He should learn, that mouthing you or anything apart from his toys is not a good idea (as it ends his play time).
If your puppy bites you, you should never hit him. Hitting your dog might cause him to be afraid of you, and your hands. It can also lead to real aggression issues in the future.
Every puppy and every dog is different. Some of these techniques might work with one pup, bot not with a different one. If you’re in doubt, can’t handle the situation or you think that your dog is being aggressive, always seek an advice from a professional dog trainer.
Thank you for reading! I’ll be back soon with more tips for you and your dog.