Everyone loves getting a new puppy, but not everyone loves the puppy biting that is typically part of the puppy’s normal behavior. Most puppy biting is harmless, and thankfully, most puppies stop biting as they grow older. However, some puppies may not learn to curb their biting behavior, and as they grow older, larger teeth can lead to more painful and possibly damaging bites.
Subsequently, it can be a good idea to start training your puppy to stop biting at an early age. There are proven techniques on how to stop a puppy from biting that you can do yourself at home on a daily basis.
To start with, avoid behavior that may encourage your puppy to want to bite, such as waving your hands in front of the puppy’s face, letting the puppy chew on your fingers, or wrestling with the puppy without a toy.
If you must reprimand your dog, do not do so by smacking them on the nose. This behavior can make them angry or frightened, and a bite may be forthcoming as a result. It can also make them head-shy, a condition that causes fear of being touched on the head, making it difficult to go to the groomer or vet.
Respond to Puppy Bitting Like a Litter Mate
The first rule in teaching your puppy how to stop biting is to know how to respond to a puppy bite. Consider how puppies of the same litter might react towards one another when they bite each other. If a puppy is bitten too hard, it will yelp or squeal. Then the puppy may walk away and refuse to play with its sibling. This response eventually teaches the biting puppy to not bite so hard, or it risks losing its playmate.
To teach your puppy to stop biting, you should react the same way a littermate would — say “OUCH!” or “OH!” quickly and in a high-pitched voice, then give them an appropriate chew toy and let them play with it for a few moments before engaging with them again. Then go back to playing with the puppy, responding the same way again if the puppy continues to bite. The puppy will eventually learn appropriate chewing behavior and will make good choices when it comes to chew toys.
This helps the puppy to better understand what behavior is acceptable and what is not. It is also important to be consistent with your training. The puppy will be confused if you yell at it one moment after a bite, but not the next, and then again at a future incident of puppy biting. Being consistent ensures that the puppy knows how to associate punishment with bad behavior, and reward with good behavior.
If none of the above techniques work to curb your puppy biting, then you may need to seek expert advice or the help of a dog trainer. Remember, the key to any puppy and dog training is consistency and persistence. You may also need to utilize a few of the methods mentioned above in conjunction with each other before you see desirable results.