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Puppies bite for many reasons. They use their mouth to explore their environment and to play. They also use it to communicate when they are stressed or don’t like the way you are handling them. But those needle-sharp puppy teeth are no fun on our soft skin because we don’t have a layer of fur to protect us. So, if you’re planning on bringing home a puppy, or you have one now, these 5 training tips can help you teach your puppy not to bite.
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#1 – Don’t Play Rough
While it can be hard to resist, don’t wrestle with your puppy. Playing “rough” excites and encourages your puppy to also play rough, including biting. If you do decide to play that way, your puppy will think it’s okay to bite, making it harder to teach them otherwise.
#2 – Hands Are NOT Toys
Do not use your hand (or feet) as a toy. Again, this teaches your puppy that hands are things to bite. The most common instance is when people move their hand quickly in front of the puppy for them to “catch.” Also, when people rub a puppy’s belly too rough, the puppy may react by biting the hand.
Instead, use a toy for your dog to catch, pounce, and bite. As for the belly, make sure your rubs are gentle so your pup doesn’t feel the need to bite.
#3 – Walk Away
As soon as you feel those razor-sharp teeth on any part of you or your clothing, stop whatever you’re doing and walk away. This teaches your puppy that biting ends the game and the attention, which most puppies don’t want.
It’s especially effective if you have your pup on a harness and tie-down so they can’t follow you. Once your pup calms down, return to playing with them. Soon, they may stop biting because they don’t want playtime to stop.
#4 – Be Respectful
It’s not just about the puppy learning not to bite humans. You also need to learn to watch your puppy’s body language and respect them. Teach your kids not to pull on tails and ears. Also, encourage kids to pet dogs gently.
If someone is too rough with a puppy, that usually causes a bite response. Biting is the easiest way your puppy can tell you they don’t like something. Avoiding teasing and hurting your puppy can reduce biting.
#5 – Handling exercises
Some puppies don’t like to be handled. My youngest Sheltie cried like a banshee whenever I held him on my lap. If you have a puppy that tries to bite when you brush them, pick them up, etc., then you need to get them used to human touch. To do this, help your dog associate tasty treats with being touched.
Start with something simple. For example, if your puppy lets you reach toward them, start there. When you do that, use your mark (saying “yes,” using a clicker, etc.), and then give your dog a treat. Slowly work up to being able to touch them without a reaction.
With this training, your dog may also behave better for their vet and groomer. If you need help, most positive puppy classes can advance your dog’s progress.
Start Training with Your Puppy!
Training doesn’t have to be a chore. Let SpiritDog help you make training time a fun, productive bonding experience between you and your best friend. Whether you want to work out bad habits or strengthen good canine manners, SpiritDog can help guide you!
SpiritDog’s courses are developed by real trainers who know that the best teacher for your dog is the person they love most in the world – you! Even if you’ve never trained before, you can get better behavior out of your pup with SpiritDog’s guidance. With so many happy pet parents who have used their courses, SpiritDog guarantees 100% satisfaction!
SpiritDog offers over 17 science-based courses, as well as 12 free bonus courses to get you and your pup bonding and building better behaviors. Their Tackling Reactivity Bundle can help you keep your pup safely by your side and help anxious or reactive pups keep calm. For new pet parents, the Ultimate Puppy Program can help you start your pup off on the right paw from the beginning. Those who want to teach their pets great behaviors at any age, check out their Ultimate Masterclass Bundle. Whatever you need, SpiritDog can help keep your dog safe, happy, and well-behaved!