Stop Your Puppy from Play Biting

There are few experiences more fun than a brand new puppy.  Usually, your puppy doesn’t understand just how sharp his teeth are and so you need to train your brand new puppy that nipping and biting are inappropriate behaviors.

Always use toys to play with your puppy.  Never use your hands.  If you use your hands to roughhouse with your puppy, he will learn that your hands are toys and therefore it’s okay to bite them.  By the same token, don’t let puppy attack any part of you or things that are attached to you, including clothing and shoes.  You may think it’s funny when puppy is small, but this behavior can be dangerous when puppy  is full grown.

Fortunately, dog toys are available in a variety of sizes and materials, and they are sturdy and inexpensive. They are certainly less expensive than having to make a trip to an emergency room for stitches after a bout of rough-housing with your dog!  Chew toys should be appropriate as well. Let’s face it, buying toys that resemble things you do not want your dog chewing on probably isn’t a good idea.  Cats, shoes and other similar toys probably are not the best ones.  Bones, fire hydrants, ropes and other similar toys are perfect for teaching your dog his play limits.

Use a deterrent like Bitter Apple Spray or similar substance to keep puppy’s mouth off things that aren’t for puppy to chew on.  When puppy grabs at you with his mouth, shove a toy between yourself and the puppy to show puppy what is acceptable.  Don’t say “no” or anything else to imply the toy is wrong, merely replace the unwanted behavior with the right behavior.

Do not allow puppy to chew, pull, or otherwise “attack” things that are attached to you, including pants, shoes, hands, etc.  It might be fun when puppy is small to hold his mouth and wrestle, but you’re teaching him the wrong thing and he’ll learn to attack your hand (in fun) when he’s a lot bigger too.

Definitely do not give startling or excited reactions to your puppy’s biting you.  This makes it seem like a game and makes it more fun for puppy.  Instead, stick with what was mentioned before and merely replace the bad behavior with good.

If you are having difficulty training your dog avoid hitting him, scolding loudly and shaking.  Remain calm, pick your dog up and place him in a quiet area such as his crate.  Allow both you and your puppy to calm down.  Then let him out and continue to play.  Don’t be tempted to use the crate for punishment or your puppy will soon associate crating with punishment and will not want to be in the crate for any period of time.

Teach your puppy fun games like fetching, hide-and-seek, and the like.  Just remember that if playtime abruptly ends every time puppy has bad behavior, he’ll stop being bad in order to extend playtime.


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