9 Ways To Stop Puppy Biting

Puppies are irresistibly cute, until they sink their sharp baby teeth into your soft skin. Then, all of a sudden, they turn into a furry monster that you can’t wait to get away from. Puppies seem too precious to say no to, but you will need to correct their bad behaviors early on. Otherwise, these habits will worsen. So, the following tips will teach you how to stop puppy biting. They’ll help you lose the sharp-toothed monster and bring your lovable cuddle buddy back instead.

#1 – Don’t Use Your Hands

We’re probably all guilty of using our hands to play with puppies. We see a puppy rolling around and we can’t stop ourselves. It makes us want to hand wrestle them because they’re so cute. But that’s when those teeth strike. That’s the moment you realize your mistake. Hands are not toys for puppies, so they should never be used as such. Instead of using your hands, always use a toy to play with your puppy. After all, toys can’t feel those sharp teeth.

Beagle Puppy Biting
Image: @airbeagle via Flickr

#2 – Stop the Game

If your puppy bites you, it’s important to put an end to it right away. As soon as you feel their mouth on you, even if their teeth haven’t sunk in yet, stop playing. Leave your puppy alone and move away as quickly as you can. Then, once your puppy seems to calm down a bit, you can try playing again. As usual, make sure you use a toy for these interactions. Your pup will soon learn that when they put their mouth on you, the game stops and you leave. This should make them stop biting in no time.

Puppy Biting Finger

#3 – Use a Tie Down

If you have a persistent puppy that follows you and bites your ankle as you try to leave, play with your puppy on a tie down. A tie down is a leash attached to something that prevents your puppy from moving. That way, your puppy can’t follow you and keep biting. However, for safety reasons, do not leave the room while your dog is on the tie-down. Just move out of their reach, wait for them to calm down, and then go back to them and resume play. This is one of the best methods for how to stop puppy biting.

Puppy Wearing Leash

#4 – Stop and Go

Do you have a pup that loves to chase and bite your feet? This is common for all herding dog breeds. The chase is what activates this behavior, so as soon as you feel your puppy on your feet, stand still. Do not move until their mouth is removed. Your puppy will learn that the only way to keep you moving, or “herd you”, is to not bite. It can help to have them on a leash to move them away from you when you stop if necessary. If your puppy nips at your feet often, consider keeping a toy in your pocket. That way, you can also redirect them with the toy if they try to herd you.

Puppy Chewing on Pants
Image: @BillSalak via Flickr

#5 – Stay Quiet

Many dog parents believe that you should scream or “cry” like a littermate when your puppy bites you. This action supposedly alerts your dog that they’re hurting you. Ideally, your dog should stop when they realize you’re in pain. But do you know what also makes that kind of noise? Prey. So, a yelping sound might excite some dogs, causing them to not learn their lesson. Thus, screaming will not get your puppy to stop. For some prey-driven dogs, it might encourage them. Instead, you should remain silent so your puppy doesn’t think they’ve won.

Puppy Play Biting Hand
Image: @JuanTello via Flickr

#6 – Give Them a Toy

One of the best ways to learn how to stop puppy biting is to redirect your dog’s behavior. If your puppy puts their mouth on you, you can swap yourself for a toy. As soon as they go in for a bite, immediately swap your body part for something they can chew on like a squeaky toy or a bone. That way, your puppy will learn what they can and cannot bite. Toys can also keep your dog entertained if they are biting out of boredom. Plus, toys are often more exciting than fingers anyway.

Puppy Chewing Tennis Ball

#7 – Do Not Wrestle

We are not another dog. But if we act like one, we get treated like one. For puppies that love to bite, it’s best to not engage in rough play. It can be hard to resist a playful wrestle, but it’s confusing for your pup. It sends mixed signals to your puppy, making it harder for them to find out what the rules are. Instead, try no-contact forms of play. This includes games like tug-of-war and fetch, where your hand doesn’t need to be used as a chew toy at all. This can also help your dog learn what’s okay to chew on and what isn’t.

Puppy Wrestling Hand
Image: @manima via Flickr

#8 – Socialize Your Puppy

Oftentimes, puppies bite because they’re bored and don’t know how to entertain themselves. If your puppy only sits around inside all day, they might bite just for fun. So, once they’re up to date on vaccinations, let them explore new places. Introduce them to new people and let them play with other dogs. Make sure the dogs they socialize with first are vaccinated, friendly dogs. Otherwise, their first social interactions could result in negative situations. Meeting new people and dogs can help puppies get their energy out and teach them to be friendlier. Signing up for a puppy class or working with a dog trainer can also be great ways to address their behaviors.

Puppies Playing Outside

#9 – Time Out

Sometimes puppies get too excited. If your dog becomes all teeth and won’t settle, it’s time for a break. Put them in their crate or puppy pen with an appropriate treat, like a bully stick, to chew on. This isn’t a punishment, but instead, it’s just letting your puppy calm down a bit. Sometimes, extra biting can mean your puppy needs a nap or a break from people. So, always follow these steps for how to stop puppy biting and never encourage biting. That way, your puppy should start to learn the rules.

Puppy Calming Down

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