Puppies! How To Stop The Biting

It’s National Puppy Day! In our minds, every day is the PAW-fect day to celebrate puppies, those soft bellies, that sweet breath…and that bite! OUCH!

How can something so sweet and innocent cause so much pain and when will the madness end?

As painful as it is (literally and figuratively) bite inhibition is a very important thing for puppies to learn and taking the time and sacrificing yourself to small flesh wounds now could save your dog from potentially dangerous situations in the future.

A dog with poor bite inhibition runs the risk of seriously injuring a person or a dog if they’ve never learned how to be gentle with their jaws.

The bite has a purpose and it’s very important to work on your puppies bite inhibition in two phases:

  • Inhibit the force of the bite
    • Give your puppy feedback about their bite-“ouch!” and walking away usually works. After you say “ouch!” take a minute and then make your puppy come to you, sit, lie down or do another obedience command before you continue play.
    • Leave the room-If a simple “ouch!” doesn’t work, make it a louder “ouch” then get up and leave the room. Give it a minute or two for your puppy to associate the bite with your departure. Then call them to come, make them sit, lie down, etc. then resume play.
  • Lessen the frequency of the bite
    • Teach “off”-hold a treat in one hand for 1 second, if they don’t teach for it say “take it”and they can have it. Increase the time each time you practice this exercise.
    • Play with your puppy in interrupted sessions-play needs to stop when you say “off” and start again only when you give permission. He should never exert pressure when mouthing, should stop mouthing and calm down immediately at your request and should never mouth unless requested.

Using your puppies food is a great way to guarantee practice on biting everyday. Dogs will work for food and most puppies are food motivated, the more they have to practice good manners to get what they want, the faster they’ll learn!