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It feels AMAZING to stare into your puppy’s big, round eyes. It doesn’t feel so amazing moments later, when your puppy sinks their teeth into your ankle — or new sofa.
They are adorable and full of love, but puppies come with challenges… and mouthing, biting, and nipping are major ones.
The American Kennel Club says “puppies who learn bite inhibition are less likely to grow into adult dogs who bite.” Here are 5 great tips to get started on that path!
🙁 The ‘Ow!’ technique
Celebrity dog trainer Caesar Millan suggests making a yelping sound or saying “Ow!” when your puppy bites you too hard. This is similar to how puppies let each other know playtime is getting too rough.
A startling sound should make your puppy release their grip. After your pup releases, ignore them for 10 to 20 seconds, then start playing again. But if you have to do this more than three times in 15 minutes, Caesar says to try a puppy time-out.
👉 Redirect and distract
If your puppy nibbles on your hand or furniture, say “No” and swap in a chew toy or bone they can bite to redirect their attention.
When your puppy chews something they’re supposed to, praise them and give them a treat. That should keep your pup distracted for a while! Games like Tug of War are also useful because they satisfy the puppy’s urge to chew in an acceptable way.
🚶 ‘Prevent the pounce’
The American Kennel Club’s “prevent the pounce” method is meant for puppies that go after humans’ legs and feet while walking. To stop this, hold a high-value treat next to your leg to teach your dog to walk nicely alongside you. The approach is similar to teaching them to walk on a leash.
🔥 Burn energy
According to ASPCA, your pup may need to burn more energy before playing roughly with you.
Try taking your bud on a trip to the dog park, or grabbing a ball and playing a long game of fetch until your furry BFF is too tired for chew time.
🐶 Prevent, prevent, prevent
Here are a few great ways to block your pup from biting before it happens:
- Use anti-chew spray to make things your dog likes to chew taste bitter. We recommend an all-natural DIY spray of one part white vinegar and two parts apple cider vinegar, mixed in a spray bottle.
- Discourage your pup from biting by being careful with your own actions. Don’t wave your fingers or toes in your puppy’s face — it may actually encourage him or her to bite you.
It’s normal for puppies to bite. Puppies use their teeth to soothe teething, play, and explore the world. This is also an important part of how human babies learn! The key is to redirect their normal biting to safe items — chew toys and treats, not your ankles.
If you’re still having trouble after trying these tips, don’t be afraid to get the help of a professional dog trainer. And don’t forget to reinforce good puppy behaviour with delicious, healthy treats!
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay curious #healthygang!
Lots of love,
- The healthybud team
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is not meant to replace your vet’s advice or prescribed medications, but only to suggest additional options to explore, based on your dog’s condition.