Lhasa apso puppy sitting on the grass with tongue out

How to stop my puppy biting

New puppy owners often face the challenge of biting, a natural behavior for puppies that can be painful and destructive. In this article, we provide tips to help you stop your puppy from biting and teach them appropriate behaviour.

Puppies are adorable and bring a lot of joy to our lives. However, they also come with their fair share of challenges. One of the most common issues new puppy owners face is biting. Puppies explore their environment through their mouths and biting is a natural behaviour for them. However, it can be painful and destructive, especially when they start to develop their adult teeth. Let’s discuss some tips to help you stop your puppy from biting.

Understand why puppies bite

Puppies bite for lots of reasons. If they are teething, biting gives them comfort. They may be bored and biting provides stimulation. It could just be that they’re playing and don’t know their own strength. Equally, they could be anxious or scared and biting is a way of expressing their emotions. Understanding why your puppy is biting is the first step in addressing the behaviour.

Socialise your puppy

Socialisation is key to raising a well-behaved dog. Socialising your puppy means exposing them to new people, places, and experiences in a positive and controlled way. This helps them to develop confidence and learn how to interact appropriately with others.

It is important to socialise your puppy with a wide variety of people in the first few months of life. This includes children, adults and elderly people. The key thing is to ensure that your dog is comfortable around people of all ages.

Socialisation reduces the likelihood of fear and anxiety, which is a key reason to biting. Across the UK, there are several examples of dog socialisation or puppy play classes. A lot of these are essentially like schools for dogs, and they’re fascinating. Google these services in your local area and check out the reviews.

Provide appropriate chew toys

Puppies need to chew! It’s a natural behaviour that helps them to explore their environment and relieve stress. Provide your puppy with appropriate chew toys, such as rubber toys, ropes, and bones. Make sure the toys are the right size for your puppy and supervise them when they are chewing to ensure they don’t swallow any pieces.

Teach bite inhibition

Bite inhibition is the ability of a dog to control the force of their bite. It’s an important skill for all dogs to learn, especially puppies. Puppies need to learn that biting too hard is not acceptable. When your puppy bites too hard, make a yelping sound to startle them. Then, immediately stop playing with them and ignore them for a few minutes. This teaches them that biting too hard ends the fun. Repeat this process consistently and your puppy will learn to control their bite.

Redirect your puppy’s biting behaviour

One additional tip to stop your puppy from biting is to redirect their biting behaviour onto appropriate toys or objects. When your puppy starts to bite, immediately offer them a chew toy or another appropriate object to bite on instead of your hands or clothing. This will teach them that biting on appropriate objects is acceptable while biting on people and their belongings is not.

Consistency is key with this technique, so make sure to offer appropriate toys every time your puppy starts to bite. Over time, your puppy will learn to go for their toys instead of your hands or clothing. Redirecting your puppy’s biting behaviour is a great way to teach them appropriate behaviour and keep your hands and clothing safe from their sharp teeth.

Be consistent and patient

Training a puppy takes time and patience. Be consistent in your approach and don’t expect overnight results. Remember, your puppy is learning and it’s up to you to teach them what is acceptable behaviour. Be patient and persistent, and soon you’ll have a well-behaved dog.

In conclusion, stopping your puppy from biting requires understanding why they are biting, socialising them, providing appropriate chew toys, teaching bite inhibition, and being consistent and patient in your approach. With these tips, you can help your puppy learn how to interact appropriately with others and become a well-behaved dog.

Please note that every puppy is different and may respond differently to various training methods. If you are struggling to stop your puppy from biting, consider seeking advice from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Additionally, it's important to ensure that your puppy's biting behaviour is not caused by underlying health issues or pain. Always consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your puppy's behaviour or health.

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