Buying a new puppy is always an exciting time for a family. Puppies are so cute and cuddly and fun to play with. However, having a puppy that bites can be annoying and should be corrected right away. From the moment you get your puppy home, it is important to start with obedience training right away. Puppy biting is natural, common and fortunately an easy fix. The sooner you start by showing your puppy what behaviors are acceptable, the quicker you will have a well-established bond and a great addition to your family.
It is going to be essential to teach your puppy the basics before you can progress with any further training. We love playing with our puppies and might think it’s cute to play rough or let them chew on our hands. However, this is one of the worst things you can do if you plan to get them to understand it’s not okay to bite. Fortunately, we don’t have to be mean about it and can use positive reinforcement to change bad behavior.
By playing with your puppy normally we can stop their nipping with time. Once again patience is going to be your key to a successful end result. If your puppy has already started nipping at your hands, start right away in correcting the issue.
Start by stopping the play anytime he nips you or your hands. Sometimes just ignoring your puppy is all that is needed to correct the issue, but not always. If they continue to bite even after you have discontinued the play session next time let them know that it hurts(even if it really doesn’t).
When your puppy nips you firmly tell them, “NO” and squeal as his littermate would let him know that it hurts. Or you can say ouch or Ow if you feel silly squealing like a puppy! Then again stop playing with him for several seconds until you resume play. While remaining consistent with time he will soon realize that biting leads to no play.
Sometimes children can get a little rough with puppies and this isn’t uncommon, it’s fun to play with puppies! However, you should never allow your child to play roughly with your puppy because it could hurt them both. If your trying to work with your puppy on biting you should make sure that all other family members are on the same page with the training. You should make sure your kids are not allowing the puppy to bite them either because your training won’t help. Just to be safe supervise your children until you get your puppy where you want it to be with the correct behaviors.
Instead of using your hand to play with your puppy you should offer plenty of toys and bones. Puppies are teething and love to chew to soothe their gums. If you don’t provide them with the toys to chew on they will find something to chew on and you won’t like this option. If you catch them chewing on something they aren’t supposed to be, simply tell them NO! Then give them a toy to play with instead.
Toys and treats, patience and consistency are the main components to a well-trained well behaved puppy. You want to teach your puppy all the fundamentals sooner rather than later to keep your home stress-free. Having a biting puppy might look really cute right now but there will be consequences down the road if you don’t teach him or her appropriately. You may think it’s okay, your dog is going to be too little to hurt anyone. Even the tiniest of dogs can break the skin of a human and could really hurt a child if not resolved in time.
Toys just for Puppies
Some good toys to invest in for a puppy are going to be ones that are specifically designed with your teething puppy in mind. I like to give my puppies a variety of toys to choose from and let her pick her favorite ones. Investing in the right toys will save you a ton of money that you won’t spend later on replacing things the puppy will otherwise destroy without the proper teething items.
Kong known for their indestructible line makes a puppy toy you can fill with treats to keep them busy for hours or you could try Kong’s new tough tire. Bones are another great teething option, just make sure they are designed for a puppy.
Multipet makes a bone that you can freeze to make it more soothing for your puppies teeth and gums, much like an infant teether. NylaBone is also a good brand and has a couple of bones made just for puppies. Puppies are just like teething infants in their need to soothe sore teeth and gums. Anything you can do to help alleviate the discomfort the better for them. Then once they get all of their adult teeth you will still want to provide toys, chews, and bones for proper dental health.
Reward Good Behavior
Like we discussed in my French Bulldog training post, you always want to reward your puppy with treats for good behavior. This will literally work reverse phycology on any dog and make a big impact when it comes to improving any negative issue you have going forward. Our dogs only want to please us and will do anything for a treat. Use this to your advantage rather than using scolding or whippings. Scolding and harsh punishments only make your dog afraid and will make any problem you have worse because they won’t know what you expect from them. Dogs can also act out of fear and lead to unnecessary stress on both of you.
Anytime you see your furry baby chilling, chewing on their toys give them a treat and let them know you appreciate their good behaviors. They will quickly learn what is expected from you but you have to teach them.
The Leader of the Pack
You want to make sure with any form of training you are well establishing yourself and other members of the family ahead of the dog in the pack. If your dog thinks he is dominant of you in pack order, he will not listen and in turn, do whatever he wants to do. See my ultimate puppy training guide here for more tips and tricks.
Normally a puppy would learn appropriate behavior from its littermates and mother, however now at our house, it’s important that we teach them. Puppy biting shouldn’t be acceptable and should be fixed immediately. Think like a dog and establish your role as pack leader, and they will follow behind. Understanding dog behavior and why they do these things, we will be able to more effectively apply our teachings.