While all puppies nip occasionally, it can be really frustrating to deal with a puppy that is biting all the time. Puppies might not be able to hurt you seriously with their bite, but adult dogs can cause serious harm when they bite someone. Stopping this unwanted behavior is very important so that your puppy does not grow into a dog that bites.
Many people are not sure how to discipline their puppy correctly for biting, and they might not know how to handle the behavior when it escalates into a more serious problem. Knowing how to stop biting puppies is very important, even if your current puppy is not displaying this behavior. If you ever have a puppy that does bite, you will need to know how to stop this behavior in its tracks before it can become a big problem.
What is Bite Inhibition?
Bite inhibition is one of the best methods of discouraging biting in puppies. This often works quite effectively for very young animals, and it can serve as the foundation for your other training in animals that bite. This is a very simple tactic that works very well in many cases. When your puppy bites you next time, say “ow!” in a sharp and high-pitched voice, then turn away from them.
These behaviors tap into pack behavior that shows puppies that biting is not allowed. You never want to scare your dog by being aggressive or by hurting them if they accidentally bite you as a puppy. This can lead to fear and aggression biting, which can be almost impossible to stop once it begins. Dogs that are fearful often lash out, and biting can be a common response in scared dogs that think they are being threatened in some way.
While you might feel silly shouting “ouch!” and snubbing your puppy until they come over to you and behave properly, you will be surprised at how effective this is for derailing biting behavior. Puppies will automatically want to get your approval back, and they will immediately offer better behavior as a means of apologizing for the bite.
Being consistent with this training tip is necessary for it to work. If you are not consistent with your response to biting behaviors, your puppy will likely not understand that this is not welcome. Consistency is key when training dogs, and you need to make sure that you are not getting in the way of your own efforts by being sloppy about how you reinforce your dog’s behaviors.
Some Other Ways to Discourage Biting
There are many options for teaching your puppy to not bite, here are some:
Provide Teething Toys
If your puppy’s biting behavior is related to teething, make sure that they have some teething toys to chew on. This can help stop puppies from trying to teeth on your hands or your feet, and it will give your puppy something to do when they are bored as well.
Use a Bitter Spray
One of the other ways to discourage biting is to put bitter spray on your hands or on items that you do not want your dog to put their mouth on. This can be very effective in some high-drive breeds that are often quite difficult to get to focus when they are worked up. This is also a good reinforcement for your bit inhibition work.
Another effective tip is to immediately stop playing with your dog if they bite you. Simply drop the toy and walk away. Refuse to reward your dog or acknowledge them for a time. This is how the pack would behave if a puppy bit them while playing and deserved discipline. Your body language can be very effective when training your puppy, and you need to use these signals that they will recognize immediately to help back up your training communication.
Use Treats Sparingly
You will also need to be sure that you are not rewarding biting by hand-feeding treats too often. You will probably want to throw the treats to your dog so that they catch them or drop them on the ground for your pet to eat until the biting behavior has stopped. Dogs might learn to associate your hands with food, and they might end up biting you just out of eagerness to be given treats. Being careful about how you feed treats can make all the difference in how your dog responds to hands that are placed near its head or mouth.
Have a Cue with Your Puppy
Also, be sure that your dog has a cue that causes them to be attentive when you need them to stop a behavior. Working on this reset cue can help derail rambunctious or nervous behaviors that can lead to biting. The more control you have over your dog’s mentality during training or during moments of stress, the more likely you will be to regulate biting behavior that you want to get rid of.
Biting in Puppies Can be Stopped
If you have a puppy who is biting you and you are worried that this behavior is getting really ingrained, you need to use these tips and tricks to stop this behavior in its tracks. There is no need to worry about disciplining your puppy for biting. So long as you are fair and consistent, your dog will learn not to bite. It is often more upsetting for puppies to be allowed to behave however they wish. Just like small children, puppies need boundaries to feel safe and secure.
Becoming the pack leader with your dog is as easy as making sure that you are consistent in your expectations and being certain that you are not accepting dominant behaviors that can lead to long-term problems. Being fair and consistent is the only way to train a puppy, no matter what the goal of your training might be. Puppy biting is not an abnormal problem to experience, and if you deal with this normal puppy behavior properly, your puppy will grow into a dog that does not bite.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.