How to Teach Your Puppy Not to Bite

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Your puppy’s mouth is full of tiny yet sharp teeth that love to nip at you! If your puppy likes to bite or nip, don’t take it personal. Almost all puppies will do this at some point during their young days. During play time, biting or nipping is very common, usually occurring when a puppy […]

Your puppy’s mouth is full of tiny yet sharp teeth that love to nip at you! If your puppy likes to bite or nip, don’t take it personal. Almost all puppies will do this at some point during their young days. During play time, biting or nipping is very common, usually occurring when a puppy gets really excited. Many dog owners and trainers call it “play biting”, which is just that—completely harmless behavior (for the most part!).

Play biting is normal as many puppies undergo a teething stage that can be quite painful for them so they’ll bite and nip to alleviate some of the pain. In some ways, they’re just like human babies! Unfortunately, biting and nipping can be really painful and annoying for you, especially when your cuddly friend just won’t stop. We understand if you’d rather not have scars and scratch marks all over your hands and feet! Here are a few useful tips you can use to teach your puppy not to bite:

1. Teach your puppy that their bite hurts.

Puppies don’t know the meaning of moderation. We mean it. Because they’re still learning about the world around them, they may not think twice about biting you while playing. As a puppy owner, it’s your responsibility to teach your puppy that bites and nips hurt..a lot. You can do this the moment they start displaying the behavior, either at you or even at other puppies.

When your puppy bites on your hand or toes, say “ouch!” or “ow! That hurts!” in a high-pitched voice, regardless if it actually hurts or not. Move your hand away as you say this. Remember that canine language isn’t the same as human language. Puppies “talk” through yelps, barks, and whines. When you yelp, your puppy gets obvious clues that you’re in pain and that their bite was too hard. Some puppies don’t care or understand and will try to bite you even harder. If your puppy does this, you can always stop the play session and have your pup calm down. 

2. Teach your puppy that biting or nipping gets no rewards.

Sometimes, puppies need more than just vocal sounds to know their bites hurt. The best way to show your puppy to stop biting is to stop playing the second your furry friend tries to do it. Do not show them a response or rewards; just stop giving them attention at once. Without a response, they’ll understand that biting or nipping gets no rewards from you so they’ll be less inclined to do it in future play sessions. 

Of course, we highly advise all puppy parents to avoid physically punishing or yelling at your puppy. Strangely enough, either of these negative responses will confuse them. They may think biting provokes a response from you, even if it’s negative in nature. This can act as a reward for them, which is not something you want!

3. Give your puppy treats or toys to bite on.

Depending on their age, your puppy is likely going through their teething stage. Teething is a painful process for most puppies so their habit of biting is a way to alleviate it. You can keep your puppy’s biting habit at bay by giving them a toy or a treat that can distract them. We highly recommend a chewable toy so you can teach them what’s acceptable to bite on and what isn’t. If your pup starts to bite you again while playing, stop the session immediately and follow the steps from tip #2.

4. Put your puppy in timeout.

Some puppies are rebellious and will do whatever they want, regardless of their training. Do not get frustrated. Think of your puppy as a young child that needs to mature. If they can’t stop biting during playtime, and our other tips don’t work, place your puppy in timeout. Your furry friend’s crate is the best place for this. It gives them a chance to calm down and stop them from sinking their teeth in you. 

Make sure to stay calm when you put them in their crate. Any negative responses will cause your pup to associate their crate with punishment. This can make them fearful of their resting spot, and may not want to go in at bedtime. Once your puppy is calm and cool, you can let them out and try playing with them again. 

5. Reward the behaviors you like.

Positive reinforcement is the most important part of training! When your puppy shows calm behavior (and doesn’t bite!), you should reward them with a yummy treat or some praises. Puppies love rewards, and it’ll encourage them to follow your commands. 

Through positive reinforcement, your pup learns that their good behavior is what you want from them. It’ll also strengthen the bond you have with your cuddly bestie! Next time you play with them, you’ll notice they won’t bite you as much!

Training your furry friend is challenging, but it’s important never to lose patience. Never yell, scold, or use physical punishment to teach your puppy anything. The best way to train your puppy is through positive reinforcement. Even when you finish your training sessions with your puppy, be sure to always give them lots of affection so that your furry best friend knows what a good dog they are! With patience and consistency, your puppy will get through their biting phase quickly!