For lots of new puppy owners, the relentless puppy biting and putting razor sharp teeth on skin, comes as a surprise.
It can be extremely stressful and a test of your sanity!
It may also spark thoughts like: “my last puppy didn’t bite like this” or even scarier “is my puppy aggressive?”
Control It Without Stress
Sometimes puppy biting can get out of control. They bite everything from table legs to your legs, fingers and toes. If this is your puppy you need to learn how to control your puppy biting without the stress. Are you prepared?
First What Not to Do
Stop all of the following immediately:
Chase games: These games activate a puppy’s prey drive which includes running, chasing, biting and chewing. Playing fetch is a much better game for all family members to play with your new puppy.
Rough play/wrestling: These interactions teach puppies how to play with humans and puppies use their mouths to grab and hold.
The thing is, puppy biting is normal puppy activity. That’s how they interact with their litter mates and learn a very important lesson: bite inhibition or more simply put, don’t bite human skin.
Tug-of-war games: Until you have control of your puppy’s biting, it’s best not to play tug for now. It’s actually a good way to burn predatory energy BUT tug-of-war must have strict rules. We talk about that in another article.
Now, Let’s Simplify and Learn to Control Puppy Biting
Don’t you agree that having a plan for your puppy biting lowers your stress already? I certainly do! The rest is simply repetitive work by you and your other family members.
Just Three Areas to Work On
Okay, here are the three areas to focus on when learning how to control puppy biting without stress:
- Properly control your puppy to prevent excessive biting until you are ready to train.
- Obedience train your puppy to come, sit, down, drop it, and,
- Have a good, controlled training exercise to train NO BITE with your puppy every day with all family members until you achieve the goal you desire.
Proper Control Breaks Down into 3 Areas:
- Containment: Use crates, exercise pens or gates to contain your puppy when you can’t train or supervise your puppy. Too many people leave their puppy out for too long of a time and they get into trouble with biting.
- Puppy proofing and prevention: Keep things you don’t want chewed on out of reach, and keep your puppy on a leash. When you can’t eyes-on, hands-on supervise or he gets too crazy – crate your puppy.
- Redirects: When your puppy is out on leash, ALWAYS have appropriate redirects. What’s a redirect?
These are things like stuffed Kong toys, sterilized beef shank bones, Nylabones, stuffy toys or chew toys.
Be prepared to intercede and give him a toy before he starts to bite on you—praise for accepting an appropriate toy; otherwise you’ll have to say, “Ouch!” and redirect to a toy.
Your timing is light years too late in “dog time” to be effective. Timing is everything. Catch him when he is thinking it – not when he is actually doing it.
Obedience Train Your Puppy
I can’t say enough about starting obedience training sooner than later. We started training our Lab, Sammy, at 8 weeks of age. Now at over 8 years of age, Sammy’s “default behavior” is good manners.
Besides creating mental fatigue, there are too many benefits not to train your puppy to come, sit, down and drop it. You will be glad you did. Above all, obedience commands teach your dog this important rule: You must always give (sit) before you receive anything. That would include food, treats, access to the couch and love and affection, just to mention a few.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and puppy. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your puppy.