Puppy Biting: Why, and How to Stop it.

Many new puppy owners experience puppy biting and, when you have kids in the family, it can become somewhat challenging to handle a “very cute” puppy that is running and biting the kids. Perhaps you can pick up some puppy biting tips from the following content.

I think, that before you delve into the “how to stop it”, it’s important to first understand why your puppy is doing all this biting. If you know why, then perhaps you will be more patient and understanding with your puppy. There are many reasons so let’s explore.

The socialization period of a puppy begins when it is born and continues until the 14th week of age – all with their litter mates and mother. During this time they work on socialization – things like bite inhibition,(they learn by thru their litter mates when they bite too hard) how to read body language, and generally get along.  Puppies that are adopted or sold and given to owners at 8 weeks of age miss out on 4-6 weeks of critical socialization.

 Next, the puppy comes to your home and immediately begins to regroup and take up where they left off – learning bite inhibition – like he was doing with his littermates.

 But you and your children don’t react to your puppy like his litter mates and you correct the puppy.

 Be careful how you correct your puppy.

 Parents need to provide gentle and enlightened guidance to both children and puppies. When parents are emotionally and physically excessive with corrections, kids and dogs both tend to automatically fall into a mode of “Be-like, act-like” behavior. Here is an example:

If a parent gets angry and corrects a child in front of the puppy, the puppy may start getting edgy and concerned when the child approaches – and may growl to keep the child away.

On the other hand, if the owner/parent corrects the puppy frequently in front of the child, the child may take on the role of punisher – the puppy then often gets into trouble when it tries to defend itself (by biting or nipping) and gets into trouble with the parent.

Puppies kick into prey drive (that’s where they chase moving object) when kids run in the house or back yard.

The activities included in prey drive are: run, chase, bite and chew.

Don’t set your puppy up to fail by allowing it to wildly run and play with the kids. Supervise this activity yourself with the puppy on a leash or crate the puppy when your children are highly active. Be proactive.

Kids love to hug puppies – after all, they are very lovable. But puppies also have defense drive – flight or fight.

If a puppy feels threatened, their options are either to leave the stressful situation or bite to cause the threat to go away.

Certain kid activities can put some puppies into defense drive – like sudden tight hugs or being picked up and cuddled to tightly. It’s not that this is not a good thing to do, but as dog owners you should be aware that some puppies get very concerned about this close proximity and will sometimes growl, snap or bite if hugged to tightly all of a sudden or picked up too quickly.

Teach your children to do things slowly to get your puppy used to being hugged and picked up. If your puppy is being tentative, begin to associate food treats with being picked up or hugged. This should help. The relationship between your puppy and your children is important.

 Following is a list of potential kid/puppy issues – puppy biting tips – based on your puppy’s possible reaction to your children:

 

Kids pull puppy ears, tail hair, stick fingers in ears, eyes or hit puppies with their hands or objects.

Puppies will sometimes respond by growling, snapping, biting or submissively wetting.

 

Kids will tease with toys, food; staring wrestling to the point of anger or rage.

Puppies will bite.

 

Kids will offer free food or treat handouts to the puppy.

Puppies will begin begging or being over protective of food.

 

Kids scream and run.

Puppies chase, jump and bite.

 

Kids are unruly.

Puppies are unruly.

 

Kids fight with their siblings.

Puppies become over excited which promotes aggressiveness and biting.

 

You can stop puppy biting by controlling and supervising your puppy on a leash in the house and when you cannot supervise your puppy, consider crating your puppy.

When your puppy is out with the family, redirect your puppy’s biting to a Kong toy or another appropriate toy on which to chew.

Monitor your children’s activity and continue to teach them how best to interact with the puppy. Try and teach them to limit yelling and screaming as this tends to create an unstable environment for your puppy. Puppies like calm energy. It’s hard to do with kids but if you know this, you can better understand your puppy.

One more exercise to do is to tether your puppy to something like the coffee table leg to prevent your puppy from chasing the kids (control the training environment.) Have your kids line up and approach the puppy to pet. If your puppy tries to bite, then have your kids say, “Ouch!” turn around and leave. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  Your puppy wants your kids to stay there and play and pet him, but if the puppy sees that his biting causes your kids to leave, he will eventually stop biting.

If you know these things you can plan ahead and supervise your puppy and begin to teach your children how to better interact with your new puppy. The results will be amazing.

Sharing is caring, please comment below and tweet and like – we’d love it if you do!  Also, come chat with us on Facebook

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. 

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

 

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.

1 reply
  1. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    I had no idea that correcting my puppy in front of my son would be a signal for my son to begin correcting the puppy. Now I see why my puppy is becoming afraid of my son.

    Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *