Have you ever heard that when your puppy is biting you, you should say ouch and walk away from them? And we can definitely say that this was a bit of a shallow way to address the biting. By ignoring it, you’re addressing the symptom (the biting) and not the cause of your dog’s desire to interact with you.
Biting is not very common in puppies, but it is normal. It’s a process that occurs naturally while your dog is still young and for many reasons.
But if you’ve tried to make your puppy stop biting without success, you have come to the right place. This article is going to guide you on the things you should do to put a stop to this behavior.
Reasons Why Puppies Bite
The two common reasons for puppies to bite are teething and trying to engage with others. This is how they grab things.
1. Exploring and Communicating
If humans did not have the hands to grasp and touch the world, at least they’ll have their feet and mouth to interact and taste their environment. But imagine how bad it’ll be if we had puppy paws that are incapable of grasping anything.
Then the only way we could interact with our world is through our mouth which is what happens to the puppies.
Babies love to grab things and put them in their mouths. That’s the same mindset that puppies have. Think of it this way, if you were not able to talk you’d still use your mouth for other things, for instance, to play bite. And that is what puppies do.
They may not have actual hands to interact with their environment, but they have their mouths that can equally perform that function.
2. Dogs are Hardwired to Bite
Dogs have been hardwired to bite. It’s essential that you understand that all puppies, regardless of the breed, naturally chew. So it doesn’t matter whether he’s Labrador puppy or any other, it’s normal for him to be a mouthy mutt.
3. It is Entertaining
Puppies are playful. And sometimes the only reason they might bite is to get a reaction. If they feel like they want to play, they can entertain themselves just by tagging to their sibling’s tail, and a game of chase will begin. And, they are bound to try this tactic with their human friends.
Whenever they feel ignored, just one bite on the toe is enough for you to get your focus back on them. And it doesn’t matter how you’ll react. Whether negative or positive, attention is attention to a puppy.
4. Terrible Teething
When puppies begin to teeth, usually between 6 weeks to 8 months of age, they will have a strong need to chew. If they are trained to keep their teeth off humans and bite on chew toys well and good.
But if they are not, you shouldn’t be surprised if your toe is bitten. Teething allows puppies to mouth well into adulthood.
But unfortunately, when it comes to mouthing, there isn’t an age limit that your young dog will grow out of learned mouth behavior. However, the good news is that proper training can make dogs lose interest in chewing on their owners.
That is why it’s really important that you redirect your puppy early.
When Should Biting Worry You?
Like earlier said, mouthing is normal. But some puppies tend to bite because they are afraid or frustrated. And this type of biting is an early warning sign of possible future aggression.
How to Train Your Puppy to Stop Biting
Addressing puppy biting is one of the best opportunities to do in addition to the exercises.
How to Teach Bite Inhibition
- Training this behavior is a continuous process that requires effective communication. Your dog doesn’t know that the bites hurt. So yelling or punishing him will not really solve the problem. Here is what you should do:
- Try explaining to your puppy. Use non- verbal cues such as exaggerated body language and facial expression.
- Say things like “ohhh” or “I don’t like that you bit me” in an emotional tone rather than yelling. And if the mouthing hurts so badly, try yelping just as another puppy would announce pain.
- After you, yelp, give him 30-60 seconds for him to get the message. Then stop the game and hide in a room before resuming the play. Note that it may take several repetitions before he can learn to control the biting. But when he finally does that, praise him to continue maintaining the attention.
It’s essential that once your pet develops soft mouth, you teach him to bite on request rather than initiating the mouthing. Have a periodic training schedule.
For instance, you can let him mouth for 15 seconds then say “off” and offer him a reward if he actually stops mouthing.
Biting is not common in older puppies between 5 to 6 months old. If he does that, you should discontinue all forms of physical play and put it into a harness or house line for short trailing leash especially if the dog is biting your hard at your hands.
What to Do When Your Puppy Bites
- Limp or ignore when he bites you
- Give your pet alternatives such as chew toys
- If it continues to mouth, stop playing and walk away
- Train him to use his mouth gently. You can wave your closed fist at his face if he tries to nip, pull it away. Then try it again and if he doesn’t nip, give him a treat.
What to Avoid When Puppy Bites
- Yelling when he tries bites
- Antagonizing your puppy to bite even if it’s for training
- Letting your child’s face be too close to the pet during playtime
- Assuming that your puppy will learn to stop mouthing on his own
Remember, if you are going to punish the puppy, do it immediately you notice the mistake. Punishing him later will not only fail to eliminate the bad behavior but, might also provoke undesirable behaviors.