A puppy is probably the cutest thing in the world, but if it’s an issue, you need to stop puppy biting as quickly as possible. Many owners don’t realize that this behavior can lead to issues with dominance and aggression later in the dog’s life, no matter how cute it might seem when your puppy is rolling around on the floor.
In fact, most puppies learn to stop biting when they are still very young. Because they have so many brothers and sisters in their litter, they quickly learn that when they bite, they get bitten back. By the time a puppy is eight weeks old, it should already know not to bite. The problem then is that the mother doesn’t always get eight weeks to stop puppy biting.
The Early Days
If you take home a puppy that is less than eight weeks old or that simply did not learn not to nip and bite at your fingers before you got it, it’s important to take quick action to stop the biting behavior.
First thing’s first. Never hit your puppy in response to the bite. If they don’t think you’re playing, they may become afraid of you, developing serious phobias and anxieties that can lead to aggression issues later in life.
To truly stop puppy biting, you need to address the root of the behavior. To do this, you should encourage them in any good behaviors and discourage any negative behaviors. Don’t confuse the puppy by playing games that might lead to this kind of aggression. Avoid wrestling, tug of war, or chase games that will lead to nipping by the puppy.
Consistency will be very important in training your puppy. If you really want to stop puppy biting, you cannot grow soft or let the dog get away with anything. You’re doing this all for its own good.
When you start training your puppy, try to enrol them in obedience or socialization classes. There are actual bite inhibition classes where trainers will mimic the behaviours of the puppy’s mother, teaching it that the bites are not socially acceptable. Socialization is good for many other reasons as well. It teaches your dog to respond well to other dogs on the street and will reduce any aggression they show toward other dogs.
Early, when you try to stop puppy biting, redirect the behavior to something constructive like a chew toy or bone. If you say “No!” and then give the dog a toy to chew on instead, they will often learn very quickly that the finger is not okay, but the toy is.
Another good method is to make a small, hurt noise whenever the puppy nips at you. This will replicate the response a dog gets when it bites its litter mate. A soft whine or yip will tell the puppy that it has caused you pain, something it doesn’t want to do. Startle the dog enough that they let go and leave you be.
Training to stop puppy biting is a very important part of the relocation process, especially if your puppy is very young. Ideally, your puppy should understand that by the time they are 10 weeks old, biting is not okay. It will make the years to come much less stressful and the risk of potential aggression the future much lower.