How to Stop Puppy Biting
Puppies frolic. Puppies sigh. Puppies cuddle. Puppies bite. Ouch! It’s this last behavior that turns an endearing encounter with a miniature canine into a frustrating and painful one. It’s natural for puppies to bite, but that doesn’t make it any easier on the bitten. Ideally, a puppy’s mother will help a puppy to “unlearn” this behavior, but if that’s not the case and you are stuck with the task of discouraging this habit, use the steps below as a guideline.
Step 1: Start early. Ideally, begin discouraging this behavior as early as 6 weeks. It will confuse the dog if you begin by allowing him to bite, thinking it’s cute or playful, and then you begin to discourage the behavior. Same goes for everyone who comes in contact with the puppy; remain consistent in not allowing the behavior.
Step 2: Tell the puppy it hurts. When he bites down on your hand, say “Ouch” in a loud voice. This should alarm him and he will associate the word with the force of his bite.
Step 3: Distract the puppy with a toy. When he is very young, this will be effective because he will be so playful he will immediately play with the toy you’ve presented. Do not, however, give him a toy like a tug of war rope. This game can only be played much later on, once you established the “no biting” rule and he understands that his grasp on the rope is part of play.
Step 4: Provide him with things to chew on that are appropriate. For instance, when he is in a playful mood, have him lie on his back and dangle a chew toy above him. By lying on his back, you are enforcing that he is submissive and you are the master. He needs to learn that these bites are allowed because they are bites made in play, with an appropriate toy, with you in control.
Step 5: Encourage him to lick your hand vs. bite it. If you rub peanut butter on your hand your puppy’s natural inclination will be to lick it, not bite it. As he licks, makes encouraging sounds and reward him with praise. He will begin to see that licks are acceptable and bites are not. (In this case, biting will get him absolutely nothing, but licking will earn a tasty treat!)
Step 6: Encourage a healthy relationship with your hands by hand feeding him small amounts of food. Again, there is nothing to be gained from him by biting you during this interaction.
Step 7: If all else fails, initiate a sound that will show him this behavior is negative. What generally works is shaking an aluminum can with coins in. The puppy will become startled with this sound and will become discouraged from doing behaviors that warrant the sound. This is not the best option because it doesn’t teach the puppy what are appropriate uses of his mouth, it merely discourages him from using it in this particular manner.
This article was written by the generous authors at Another Perfect Gift which is an online gift shop featuring gifts for dog lovers and other unique gift ideas for puppy owners.
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