The PAWS Blog

All About Puppy Biting – The Do’s and Don’ts

Raising a furry bundle of joy always makes for an incredibly exciting time in every home. Puppies are especially breathtaking, both literally and figuratively. It’s exhilarating to watch them run around and explore the world, but just as tiring to wrangle them away from places or things that could harm them!

One of the things all puppies go through is mouthing and biting. Their sudden inclination for biting everything may worry you, but don’t fret! This is no cause for concern, as they discover their surroundings using their mouth. Their teething process also lasts for two to three months, and they relieve this irritation through chewing pretty much anything. Some breeds are even predisposed to nip, chase, or herd small but rapidly moving objects, like smaller animals or even young children.

Here are the dos and don’ts of puppy biting:

DO: Create Consistent Biting Boundaries

Puppies have yet to learn on what is acceptable to bite and what isn’t—they don’t know the distinct difference between a plastic ball and your foot, after all. If your puppy has made a chew toy out of your hand, quickly remove yourself from the interaction by withdrawing your hand and walking away. Ignoring the behavior is more energy-efficient and effective than lecturing your puppy, as they probably won’t understand what you’re talking about.

Distinguishing that playtime is over once your puppy bites you helps it understand that biting you is not acceptable. If they continue nipping at you, they’ll learn to stop once you consistently remove yourself.

DON’T: Physically Punish Biting

Physically punishing a natural reaction to biting is completely unnecessary and will traumatize your puppy. Biting and mouthing is not aggressive behavior. Instead, they are simply learning how to deal with the growth of its new teeth while acquainting itself with the world around it. In fact, physically punishing your dog often creates aggression and fear in it. Although you may have heard that clamping your puppy’s mouth shut with your hand is an effective way to stop the biting, all this does is make it fear you or become more hostile.

DO: Reinforce Good Behavior

The best way for puppies to learn good behavior is if they are consistently rewarded for it. This means that everyone in your household who has regular contact with the puppy must praise and reward it appropriately, like with a treat, when it behaves well. This helps it learn that specific behavior, such as not biting humans, will give it attention, praise, and treats—causing it to repeat the behavior until it’s a habit.

DON’T: Yell at Your Puppy

If you yelp when your puppy nips or bites you, your puppy might grow excited, thinking that you’re playing along with it. Yelling or pushing your puppy away may cause it to think that it’s playtime, which will encourage even more biting and nipping. Reacting to its behavior with attention may cause the puppy to misinterpret you, which is why it’s better to quietly and calmly remove yourself from the situation instead of yelling.

DO: Provide a Space for Your Puppy

All puppies need their own space to play and rest. It allows them to romp freely and play with their toys without bumping into anything while offering you space to rest from caring for them. If the biting proves to be too much and removing yourself doesn’t work, placing them in their playpen that’s cordoned off by a gate will help them learn that biting you will put a stop to playtime.

DON’T: Punish It By Withholding Their Needs

Punishing your puppy for biting and mouthing through excessive crating, withholding exercise, or generally not fulfilling its needs is borderline abusive. Providing them with plenty of proper teething toys and lots of walking and playtime will redirect their energy towards meeting their needs, which will reduce their instinct to nip. If they’re consistently eating three meals a day, it is also less likely to nip you.

However, if your puppy continues to snarl or growl when a person approaches their belongings despite positive reinforcement, you may want to consult a professional.

Conclusion

Puppy biting and mouthing can be fairly annoying when you’re the consistent target, but with these tips in mind, you’ll stop being your puppy’s chew toy in no time. By constantly reinforcing their good behavior, your puppy will quickly learn what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t—and you’ll have a loving, affectionate, and well-behaved puppy before you know it!

If you’re looking for the best dog daycare in Massachusetts, look no further than Paws Bed & Biscuit! We offer boarding, dog daycare, grooming, and training to pooches of all kinds. Get in touch with us today to arrange your dog’s next vacation!

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