Updated: Apr 7
Puppy biting is a perfectly normal phase, a natural process of experimenting in order to learn what to bite, how not to bite too hard, or when not to bite at all. The learning process starts while the puppy is still with his mother and other puppies. Puppies play rough, biting each other and their mom, but what makes this natural process of learning so important is that during this period the puppy doesn’t only learn about the abilities of his own body, but also the reactions and consequences of particular actions. If you’re looking at puppies playing, you will notice that when one bites too hard, the other squeals and then the first one immediately lets go. You will also notice that if they keep playing too rough, the mother will react and induce some form of punishment. What most puppy owners want to know, especially first-timers, is how to keep their puppy from biting and chewing everything in their sight when separated from the litter and taken to a new home.
Puppy Chewing On Your Hands and Fingers Your fingers, ears, nose, and ankles may seem as perfect chewing toys to your puppy. To prevent this from becoming a habit, you need to explicitly show your puppy that it is inappropriate. Base your approach on your puppy’s previous experiences that he gained from his mother and litter mates. When the puppy starts biting (for example your finger) produce a squealing sound, even if you do not feel the pain intense enough to cause that much noise. In your puppy’s experience, sound of pain equals game over. Most of the puppies tend to let go instantly after that, but some are more stubborn. If your puppy turns out to be of that kind, you need to have a different approach.
Puppy Chewing On Your Household Items If not prevented, puppy chewing on your shoes, clothes, and carpets may turn into a lifelong habit of chewing anything that catches your dog’s attention. Provide your puppy with several chewing toys made of different materials that will fulfil your puppy’s need of gum massage during the period of teeth growing. Express your discontent when you catch the puppy chewing on something that it’s not supposed to chew on. Offer a proper, allowed chewing toy instead.
Hand Feeding It is important to teach your puppy that human body parts, although they may seem as perfect chewing toys, are sensitive and react to pain. One way to teach your puppy polite manners when it comes to using teeth is hand feeding. By offering treats or food you know for sure your puppy likes, you will focus your puppy’s attention straight to your hand. The goal is to train the puppy to gently take the food by using only the tongue or tongue and teeth – but without biting your skin. So, offer the food, but as the first bite occurs, pull away your offerings and produce some sort of sound that will show that you are in pain. Don’t expect that the puppy will understand the point of this “game” the moment you start practicing. By repeating it patiently, you will soon be able to see the results. Biting Equals Game-over This strategy is based on a reaction to a certain behavior that your puppy has already learned while with his mother and litter mates. When one puppy bites the other one too hard, the bitten one squeals in pain. The “biter” usually lets go immediately, but sometimes the mother has to intervene. These lessons may as well be of help when it comes to playing roughly with humans. Puppies tend to play with humans the same way as they did with other puppies. So, at the first bite, no matter if it is a strong bite or not, stops playing. Express your discontent by producing a sound that will represent the fact that you are in pain and ignore the puppy for a while.
How to Make the Puppy Biting Phase As Easy As Possible Provide your puppy with various chewing toys and encourage him to use them by playing together. Puppies need to chew, so if you do not give them something to chew on, they will most certainly find something on their own. Swap around the toys weekly so they don’t get bored with their toys. Take your puppy out to play with other dogs. Socialization is kind of training. By playing with other dogs, your puppy will not only have fun and exercise, but learn the rules of communication and behavior that work between dogs. Socialization of adult dogs is a very serious training task and a long process, but puppies go through it with no particular effort. Be patient. Puppies are cheerful and playful creatures and they like to learn, but every beginning is naturally hard. So, don’t give up on training simply because it takes longer than you hoped or expected it to. Some puppies are quick learners and eager to please but others are more stubborn.