Biting is general behavior for puppies. They nip playfully at others, and mouth on things to explore them. And they gnaw as well to soothe the uncomfortable feeling of their teeth growing in. But at an early age, they have not yet learned how to control the force of their biting as normal adult dogs would have. And their puppy teeth can be quite sharp even at their young age. So, here are a few tips to help curb your pup’s hurtful biting.
Keep Puppies with Their Family
The mother dog would teach her puppies the social skills like bite inhibition. Separating them too soon at 5 to 8 weeks old would not be advisable.
Those are the ages that puppies are generally taught by their mothers. The best time for puppies to be taken from their mother is at 12 weeks of age.
Being around other puppies of the litter is also a natural, helpful way for puppies to learn. And especially so when they’re rough-housing.
Voice out Your Disapproval to the Puppy
Take a page out of its mother’s book. When the puppy bites too hard, give a high-pitched yelp to let it know that you were hurt.
The puppy might be taken aback and stop for a moment before going back to its playing. At times, it may continue its hurtful biting. In that case, let out another yelp and voice your disapproval in stern admonishments. You can also try some low mean growls.
Substitute Other Objects for the Puppy’s Gnawing
Give the puppy toys, treats, and other items that it can chew on. Keep away your limbs and hands with a firm no when it starts nipping and mouthing. And redirect its attention to the chew toys.
Teach the Puppy Commands
Train the puppy to follow simple commands like “stop” and “don’t’. It could make it stop its painful nipping at your word.
And help it learn that hurtful biting on human skin is not acceptable behavior. Praise and reward the puppy enthusiastically when it follows your commands.
Put the Puppy on Time-out
Pull away from the puppy. Ignore it after a scolding. Refuse to engage the puppy until it understands that you won’t play if it continues its painful nipping. And if the pup is especially stubborn, you can leave it alone in an area (or in a crate). Just make sure that it’s puppy-proofed.
Before we end, keep in mind that puppy biting is a normal behavior for young dogs. One best way to discourage painful nipping would be teaching them to be gentle. And to teach puppies, you must be patient and calm at first.
And your actions towards them must be gentle as well. Never physically punish any puppy in anger. It may only damage your bond with the pup, and cause them to act out with aggression, and bite more.
Also, be mindful of games you play with the puppy while you’re teaching it. It may get confused. Though commands can help with that aspect. Happy training!