How To Stop Your Puppy Biting

How to stop your puppy biting


Young puppies are curious bundles of fun, investigating anything they come across by biting, chewing and playing with it. Although this biting and nipping can initially be cute, it can become a dangerous behaviour as your dog gets older and their teeth and jaws get stronger.


In this article, Pedigree® explains how best to stop puppy biting.


Why do puppies bite?


Biting is a natural behaviour for puppies that they learn from a young age, enabling them to explore the world around them. In their litter, puppies will bite, nip and mouth their mother and siblings as a way of communication. Litters of puppies playing together yelp when they are bitten too hard as a way of telling their playmate that biting can be a painful experience! When a puppy is bitten too hard, you’ll notice that play will stop for a moment. This learning process is known as bite inhibition and stops the puppies repeating the same action on subsequent occasions. Just like with their litter mates, puppies must be taught that biting humans can also hurt.


At around four-five months, puppies usually bite or chew more when they are teething, as a way of dealing with the pain. Special teething toys can be used to deter puppies from biting people or objects. 


How to stop puppy biting


Although any pet owner will know that it’s hard to be annoyed with puppies when they are badly behaved, it’s important to be tough and discipline your puppy properly. Puppies’ teeth may be small, but they are also sharp, and can cause damage to people, clothing or objects.


To train your puppy to stop biting, you’ll need to use bite inhibition. If your puppy nips or bites you, give a loud yelp and go limp to imitate one of their siblings. You should also stop playing with your puppy. If your puppy stops biting, reward them with praise or a treat, then continue playing with them. Never scold, shout at, or physically punish your puppy for biting, as this is likely to scare them, and can reinforce biting behaviour. 


If your puppy continues to bite you, repeat the exercise. You may need to turn away from them completely to emphasise your point that if they bite, playtime ends. Fingers and toes are especially appealing for puppies, so where possible try to keep these out of reach.


You can also deter your puppy from biting you by giving them a favourite toy to chew. These toys should be specially made for dogs and not have parts that can snap off in your puppy’s mouth. 


Socialising your puppy


It’s important to socialise your puppy properly. When they are old enough to go outside, try to introduce them to as many different breeds and sizes of dog as possible, as this can help them with their development and reduce antisocial behaviour, including biting. If your puppy tries to nip an older dog, they are likely to be met with a stern telling-off!


If you have young children, or kids will be visiting your home, it’s vital that you teach your puppy not to bite. Although puppy bites do not usually cause adults any harm, they can startle and scare younger children. 


If you are concerned about your puppy’s biting, you can try dog training classes or take them to see the vet. However, as long as you are patient and gentle with your puppy, you should easily be able to get them to stop biting behaviour, making for a well-behaved adult dog. 

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