How do we train our puppy not to bite when playing?

Asked by Alec

2 Answers

Log in or sign up with email
By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service
Mouthing, chewing and biting behaviour is very normal in puppies. They are like children, they learn by putting things in their mouths. However, it is very important that they learn at a young age that biting is not acceptable and eventually you must ensure they also loose any mouthing behaviour, which can be intimidating in adult dogs.

If you watch a litter of puppies playing, they are all chewing and mouthing each other all the time. However, at the point where one puppy bites another too hard, the puppy that is bitten will yelp and move away. The message being; if you bite me that hard, I am not going to play with you. This is one of the reasons why it is so important puppies stay together in the litter until they are eight weeks old. It is only when they are this age that lessons like bite inhibition are learnt.

So, when you are playing with your puppy and they get over-excited and bite you too hard, you need to act like it’s litter mates would! I find making a high pitched noise, like ‘ouch!’ or ‘no!’ and holding your hands up and out of the way is often enough to make the puppy stop what they are doing. Don’t point when you say no, this just presents your finger as an easy target to aim for with their teeth.

Also, although often it can seem like it was a mistake on their part, or just over-excitement, don’t let them get away with it. It could easily have been an accident but they are still paying attention to how you are reacting to them and if they get away with it, they will definitely do it again.

You don’t need to halt the play entirely, you just need to make your puppy stop biting and then turn their attention to a different toy or game.

However, I find sometimes they are just too over-excited to listen and will continue to try to nip or chase you. Then, I advise using a puppy version of the naughty step; pick them up, do not talk to them or look at them, and place them outside the room and shut the door. Only for a few seconds and then let them back in and start a new game or bit of training.

Again, this really reinforces the idea that if they play rough, they cannot play at all.

It is also super important that all members of the family follow these rules so your puppy receives a constant message from everyone about what is acceptable and how to play nicely, so they grow up into a well mannered and lovely adult! | 03.08.16 @ 21:57
Comment
Log in or sign up with email
By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 12.17.18 @ 17:31
Answered by Alexandra Bassett, Dog Trainer in Los Angeles, CA
I would recommend always having a toy in your hand when you are playing with or petting your puppy. Giving them a "legal" bite outlet for their energy is important, and it makes it easier for your puppy to distinguish that biting on toys is ok, but that biting on humans is not.

I recommend sticking to a "Three Strikes, You're Out" rule:
1) The first time puppy bites you, say ouch! and stop all play/engagement for 10-15 seconds until your puppy calms down. Resume play.
2) The second time puppy bites you, say ouch! and stand up/turn your back on your puppy for 10-15 seconds until your puppy calms down. Resume play.
3) The third time puppy bites you, say ouch!, stop all play, and either walk away or put your puppy in their playpen or confinement area for a timeout. | 02.01.18 @ 02:37
Comment
Log in or sign up with email
By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 12.17.18 @ 17:31
Log in or sign up with email
By submitting you agree to our Terms of Service
Free LovePets Membership!

Get FREE, full access to LovePets.com

Related Questions

Q&A
Asked by a user