Does your beloved puppy have a biting problem? Mouthing and biting are common among puppies and dogs, especially when at play or while teething. It's usually up to the owner to teach the puppy what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It's never a good idea to just let puppies play with one's hands and/or feet - no matter how adorable or cute it seems. It gives puppies the idea that it's ok to bite skin.
Biting canines generally have a sweet, loving and wonderful disposition 99% of the time. It is only 1% of the time that something happens that triggers the dog to attack or bite. When it comes to dogs, it's often easier to prevent bad habits like biting from developing than it is to retrain dogs when they're older. Majority of dog bites occur during adolescence (6 months to 1 year) and at maturity (2 to 3 years).
Puppy Training Biting Tips
Nipping, mouthing and biting are normal behaviors of young pups and rarely cause serious damage. But while these may seem perfectly harmless, such behavior must be corrected before the dog reaches adulthood, when bites could inflict more severe injuries.
Puppy biting doesn't go away overnight. It's a gradual process that must not be hurried. Here are some things you can do to effectively end your puppy's carefree biting days.
- Start training your puppy early (6 or 7 weeks old).
- Let your puppy know that his biting hurts you. Give a sharp "ouch" or yelp like a dog. This will tell him that he's been too rough on you and make him be gentler next time.
- If the puppy ignores your "hurt" reaction, repeat the yelp or "ouch" and leave the room for a couple of minutes. This will let your puppy know that when he bites, he can lose his playmates.
- Exercise persistence when training a puppy. As his bites become softer and softer, continue to pretend to be hurt. Make it clear to the puppy that all bites hurt and are unacceptable to humans.
- Give positive reinforcement. Whenever a puppy licks you minus using his teeth, reward him for it and give him lots of praise.
- Start teaching the OFF command once the puppy has quit biting you with any deep pressure. Hold some dog pellets, close your hand and say "off". If the pup hasn't touched your hand after several seconds, say something like "take it" and give him a pellet. This exercise teaches the puppy that "off" means "don't touch".
- If the puppy suddenly bites you, continue to yelp or issue a sharp "ouch." When you see a puppy bite coming, give the pup the "off" command.
- When the puppy hits 6 months, enroll him in an obedience school where he can practice socializing with other dogs.
While it's cute to watch a puppy playfully biting your hand or foot, it won't be as adorable when he's older. Don't allow a puppy to get used to biting things and people. To make it easier to divert puppies' attention from biting your body parts or valuables, see to it that he's got plenty of chew toys to exercise his baby teeth and chewing instincts on.