How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting | Tips To Stop Puppy Biting

January 20, 2021
How to Stop Puppy from Biting

It’s important to teach your puppy to stop biting, but thing is… puppies like to bite. They do it to play, they do it to explore, they do it because they're teething... it just comes with the territory. However, puppy teeth can still be sharp, and these bites can become annoying after a while (and sometimes painful!), not to mention can cause little ones in the house to become afraid of the new pup.

Teaching a puppy to stop biting will not only reduce this annoying part of puppyhood, but will also make your puppy less likely to grow into an adult dog who bites. 

Here are some ways to stop your puppy from biting, in order to make your life easier, and allow you to enjoy your cute little pup even more with less frustration.

Bite Inhibition Teaches Your Puppy to Control and Limit the Force of Their Bite

Bite inhibition is a dog's ability to control and reduce the force of their bite. A puppy or dog who hasn't learned bite inhibition hasn't learned that a human's skin is sensitive, and can lead the dog to biting hard, even during play. 

When dogs learn how to use their mouth gently when interacting with people, they'll be less likely to bite hard or break skin, even if they're afraid or in pain.

One way that puppies naturally learn bite inhibition is when playing with other dogs. If you see a group of puppies playing for instance, you'll see them chasing, pouncing and wrestling, as well as biting each other. Every now and then one of the pups will overdo it and you'll hear a yelp, and the puppies generally take it easy for a bit, before resuming play.

Through this kind of interaction, puppies learn to control the intensity of their bites so that no one gets hurt, and they can continue playing without interruption. Just like puppies can learn how to be gentle with each other, they can learn the same with people.

Using Bite Inhibition to Adjust Your Puppies Bite Pressure

When playing with your puppy, a little bit of mouthing will be perfectly normal, but if your puppy bites down hard, let out a loud "ow" or "ouch", and stop playing with them. This should startle your puppy and signal to them that their bite has caused a problem.

Ignore them for 10 to 20 seconds or so. Avoid yelling or physically punishing your puppy, as that is actually a type of reward for them --- negative reinforcement, and can lead to more fear and aggression in your dog. Instead, teach them that biting will get them nothing. After their brief pause, return to play.

If they are playing nicely, and not biting, reinforce their good behavior with a "good boy" or "good girl".

However, if after repeated pauses they continue to bite hard, get up and do something else for a while. Put your puppy on time out (or put them to sleep). In order to stop your puppy from biting, it's important to teach them that gentle play continues, but painful play stops. Once you've been able to get your puppy to stop biting hard, you can repeat this process with more moderate pressure bites.

Let Your Puppy Naturally Learn to Stop Biting By Allowing Them Some Playtime With Other Dogs

Teaching Puppy Bite Inhibition

Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can take them to the dog park or arrange a playtime with another dog. By playing with other dogs, your puppy will learn many invaluable lessons, including bite inhibition.

If your puppy is running around biting hard on another dog, they will learn a lesson. Either via the "yelping" and refusal to play for some time, rough housing, or a little "love bite" back…

Of course, at all times, keep a close eye on your puppy. Should another dog be too rough with your pup, separate your pup and take them to play in another part of the park, pick them up and stay with them for some time, or if things get too out of control, you can always leave the park and come back another day. 

Either way, your puppy will have learned quite a bit, and will be better prepared for the next visit. And more than likely, your puppy will get along with the other dogs and just have a good time, enjoying some much needed socialization and a heavy release of energy (which will lead to better behavior and less biting at home!).

Redirect Your Puppy to A Chew Toy or Game To Stop Your Puppy From Biting

In order to teach your puppy to stop biting, each time the puppy tries to mouth you, pull your hand away and give them a chew toy that they like. This will teach them that the chewy toy is okay to bite, but not you! And I would avoid using treats for this redirection, as they may misunderstand it and you'll end up rewarding bad behavior.

You can also redirect them with a game, such as fetch or tug-of-war. Just keep it easy on the tug of war (for now, as you're training them and they're learning habits). You do not want to teach them to bite down hard and be aggressive. You can dial up the intensity of the tug-of-war when they get older.

Play With Your Puppy the Right Way

play with puppies the right way

Many dog owners play rough with their dogs. Overzealous tug-of-war, lightly slapping the sides of the dogs faces while they are trying to mouth (like a "catch me if you can" game with the hands), or overall rough housing of the puppy. 

While play is encouraged with your puppy, and the occasional rough and tumble play is okay (and fun, as they're so cute), if you want to stop your puppy from biting, do not play with anything related to their mouths and your hands or body that encourages them to bite as part of the game. This will train them in bad habits. Teach your little ones the right way to play with a puppy as well.

Play builds a strong bond between a dog and their human family. However, you want to teach your puppy to play gently, rather than not at all.

Respect Your Puppy!

Puppies --- just like people --- sometimes just want their space! If they look like they are in a bad mood, and biting as a result of that, they may just not want to be touched at that moment. Either leave them be for a bit, or take them out for a short walk or give them a toy to play with to burn off some of the aggression.

Now, if every time you play with your puppy they are in a bad mood and biting at you, then it's time to apply the above-mentioned techniques more heavily.

Make Sure Your Puppy is Getting Enough Sleep

puppies need sleep

Puppies need much more sleep than an adult dog. The younger, the more sleep they need; anywhere from 16 to 20 hours of sleep a day! And a sleepy puppy bites more. 

So if you're seeing your little guy or gal is getting a little more nippy than usual, it may just be time for their nap.

Manage The Environment – And Stop Your Puppy From Biting Everything Around Your House and Ruining Furniture!

Your puppy's biting may not just be painful, but might require you to buy a whole new living room set if you're not careful!

It's important to allow your puppy a set play area. Closed doors and baby gates help to close off areas of the house you do not want your puppy exploring. Another option is a play pen, or enclosed gate area, as is used with babies. 

You can also limit your puppy's play area by keeping a leash on the pup, and tying the other end to something in the house that will stay put.

Within your pup's play area make sure to keep plenty of entertainment and chew toys for them to direct their attention to. Should there be any furniture within biting range, or if you would like to allow them a little more freedom to roam at any moment, spray deterrents, such as Grannick's Bitter Apple Spray work well to keep most dogs from biting furniture. 

They especially love corners of wooden furniture, as well as cable TV / wires, so keep an eye on those! 

Puppies Bite – But You Can Manage the Situation

prevent puppy biting

Young dogs will bite, but you can reduce the biting to the point that it is manageable. Follow the above steps, and before you know it, your puppy will be controlling their bite and much easier to leave unsupervised around your family and furniture. Also, puppies naturally grow beyond this excessive need to bite somewhere around the 7 month mark for most breeds, once they've finished teething. So be patient and understanding, things will get better. However, this doesn't mean you should stop training your puppy in good biting behavior. Training your puppy to not bite will allow you to enjoy a stress-free lifelong relationship with your furry little buddy, especially around others.

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