Puppy biting is normal. Biting and nibbling is a form of play for dogs especially when they are playing among themselves. At a young age, puppies will chew, nibble, and bite at toys, furniture, shoes, and other objects. During playtime with you however, they will more often try to take a few good bites on your hand.
While this may seem cute at the beginning, it will become a hazard once your puppy is fully-grown and has not learned to control its biting. When this is not corrected at a young age, your puppy might grow up thinking that it’s ok to bite humans or maybe engage in rough play biting. Play biting is an unacceptable form of play. It is important that you train your puppy, while it is still young, to enjoy games with toys instead of taking a chunk off your hand.
Remember however that playing is an important part of a puppy’s development. It is a healthy and natural way to maintain your puppy’s good demeanor, and keep its health in balance.Â Playing with your puppy also develops a strong bond between you and your pet.
There are a few things you need to remember before you begin to train your puppy not to bite. A good start is to train your puppy to decrease its bite pressure when it comes to nibbling at hands. Allow your puppy to nibble at your hands. When your puppy bites down hard on your hand, yell out an ‘ouch!’ to startle him. After your puppy pauses, allow him to mouth at your hand again. Speak up every time your puppy bites down too hard on your hand. Through this, your puppy will learn your threshold ‘what is an acceptable amount of play biting for you and what’ isn’t.
Once your puppy understands what acceptable play biting is, you can then begin training to reduce biting. A good start is to redirect your puppy to a toy or bone that he can chew on. When your puppy begins to nibble at your hand again, give your puppy a firm and authoritative ‘no’ and give him a toy that he could chew on.
Puppies three to six months old are most likely still be teething at that age. At this point in their early life, teething can cause discomfort and one way they can reduce this is by chewing. If so, give your dog an ice cube to chew on instead. This will numb the gums and will reduce the pain from teething.
Finally, another way you can reduce your puppy’s biting is by pretending you are injured. When your puppy bites down hard on your hand, yell ‘ouch’ and walk away. This behavior mirrors that of an injured puppy during rough play. Through this, they will learn that their nipping can actually harm their friend or human and will eventually be gentler during playtime.
Controlling puppy biting can be a great challenge for dog lovers. It may be fun in the beginning, but it might become too rough when your dog finally becomes a full-grown adult. Training your dog to reduce its biting will take time, and the training must be built on trust and love to be effective. However, with patience and some time spent with your puppy, it will yield a very loving and obedient canine companion.
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