How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting Me?

  • 04/12/2012

Stop puppy biting is one of the more popular obedience related terms that is searched for on Google, as frustrated pet owners pull their hair out in an ongoing attempt to stop their new pups from nipping. Along with the two main certainties in life, those being death and taxes, I'd like to add a third one: frustration that has at one time or another boiled over and resulted in you doing something to your puppy that you immediately regretted doing.

So why the heck do puppies love to nip so much? Mouthing as it is also referred too, is very normal for young puppies, and actually is a key behaviour in their social development. Puppies will engage in mouthing with their litter mates, and may sometimes nip their mamma in an attempt to suckle, but because dogs have thicker skin than us humans, a playful nip from a puppy to another puppy will not hurt them the way it would hurt a human.

If left with their mamma and litter mates longer, puppies that nip learn very quickly that the behaviour will not be tolerated. Puppies that play too roughly with siblings are put in their place, either by their litter mates or by the mother, thus they learn that nipping is not socially accepted. The problem is however that often young pups are removed from their litter before they have had this little life lesson, thus they go to their new homes, and continue to exhibit this unwanted behaviour.

How do we stop puppies from nipping? There are a few ways of doing this, and I have listed them below. It is crucial to remember when working on stopping your puppy from biting that you can not let your frustration get the better of you. You must be gentle but firm in your approach, never, ever resorting to rough treatment of your little monster.

1. The instant your puppy nips you, react vocally in pain and start ignoring your dog. Dogs do not like being ignored and some will learn very quickly that biting is not a behaviour that will result in them getting attention.

2. When your dog bites you, another option is to mimic the natural method of punishment by the mamma pup. Gently but firmly place one hand over the pup's muzzle and the other on the back of the neck and gently shake him, uttering a low growling noise as you do this. This, obviously is a very uncomfortable situation for Mr. Puppy and he will learn quickly that nipping/biting you is not appropriate.

3. My favourite method of teaching a puppy to stop biting, is also probably the quickest way of stopping the behaviour because it puts the dog in a very uncomfortable situation. When your puppy bites you, push your finger or fingers, back in its mouth and hold them there until your puppy gags, at which time, remove them. Although not painful, this resulting bodily response will scare your puppy and he will learn very, very quickly that biting you results in a scary outcome.

If you are consistent in the approach you take to stopping your puppy from biting, you should see progress relatively quickly. Keep in mind that if you have a family, then it is up to all of you, to be on the same page when it comes to the method you use to stop your pup from nipping.


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