There is no magic answer for how to stop puppy biting. Curious young canines use their mouth for exploration. Their teeth are sharp and puppy biting can easily get folks feeling rattled and edgy. Along with your new pup you can expect to encounter some puppy biting but it does not need to be exasperating. If you are feeling overwhelmed try our suggested tips.
Puppy Biting Checklist
- Clock watch – puppies get overtired faster than you think. It may be time for a nap.
- Be an event planner, otherwise, your puppy will find something else to do. Popular choices include a game or something to chew.
- Manage the environment with a leash, crate, or gate. We want to set everyone up for success.
- Redirect the pup to toys and chews he/she is interested in. If the puppy will not spend time and energy on the chews or food stuffed toys you need to reconsider what is on offer.
- Ask yourself is there something you may be doing to amp up the puppy. Too much petting or kids playing close by can often trigger a puppy to start biting.
Let’s Take A Closer Look At Each Tip:
1. Clock Watch
Puppies will tire after a very short period. Be sure and pay attention to how long it takes until puppy biting feels like it is on the rise. Clock watch! Did you know that young puppies need 18 – 20 hours of sleep in a 24 hours span? An overtired puppy will bite more.
Plan short training, play and enrichment sessions between naps. When you are out on socialization outings some of your trips will be longer so plan on carrying the puppy or stopping some so he can rest and rejuvenate. If your puppy is overstimulated and cannot settle or focus it is probably time for a nap.
2. Be An Event Planner
Have a plan when you bring the puppy out of his crate. This will help prevent inappropriate puppy biting. What will you work on? What do you have for him to play with and chew on? It is often the lag time between events where the mayhem happens.
You can prevent this with forethought and planning. In other words, if you don’t set up something for the puppy to do he will find something to do. This is often not something you will like. Counter surfing, off-limit item chewing, and biting the kids are popular choices.
A Sample Morning Plan:
7 – 7:20 AM – Puppy up and out for bathroom. Provide water. Spend some time sniffing in the yard. Toss a few treats. Work on offered attention and chase. Play 3 rounds of ‘find it’. Provide another bathroom break in the pup’s spot. Head inside to the kitchen/family room area. Feed the puppy from a treat-ball. When finished treat-ball puppy pop into the crate with a bully and food stuffed toy.
7:20 – 8 AM – Puppy in the crate with a bully and food stuffed toy. Puppy napping.
8 – 8:15 AM – Bathroom break. Puppy out to interact with kids under your supervision. Kids can practice chase games and treating puppy on the ground, they can play a round of hide-and-seek, they can sit on the ground and interact together with a long toy or chew as long as the puppy is comfortable with the interaction. They can hold a chew for the puppy if it is safe for them to do so.
*With supervised, well-planned time for kids and puppies to be together you are setting everyone up for success. The puppy is less likely to bite the kids and the kids are clear on what time spent with the puppy looks like.
8:15 – 9:00 AM – Puppy in the crate napping or snacking on food stuffed toy or chew.
3. Manage The Environment
Using baby gates helps break up big open spaces. From within these smaller spaces, you still need to supervise the puppy and make sure he has activities and appropriate things he is interested in chewing on. Once again bully sticks to the rescue or treat balls, puzzles, and snuffle mats. I will talk more about this in the next tip.
Keeping a leash on when the puppy is out and moving around is another way to prevent access to something or someone the puppy might be interested in biting.
Here is the point I usually remind folks of the attention span of a puppy. Also, how much time you have to spend managing the puppy. The reality usually is that at some point you are going to need to focus on something other than your puppy and this is a time for the crate and a nap.
4. Toys & Chews That Work
Redirecting a puppy to toys and chews can prevent inappropriate puppy biting and boredom. Your pup will also be learning problem-solving skills. Wins all around!
Not all toys are created equal. It is important that your puppy loves the toys and chews you are redirecting to. Check out our Toytorial blog and YouTube video for inspiration. My top picks are bully sticks and Toppl Treat Toys from West Paw.
5. Am I Too Touchy-Feely?
This sometimes comes as a shocker to folks but I am going to say it. Sometimes your puppy is just not that into being touched by you. It seems silly to think you need to consider how to pet your puppy but you do. Handling her thoughtfully will prevent puppy biting in many situations.
Avoid touching your puppy on the head or grabbing at them and lifting them suddenly. Be sure to coach the kids on how to interact with the puppy and supervise them.
With young dogs, there will always be puppy biting to manage but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. With some understanding of dog behavior, preparation, and a good plan you will spend less time feeling like a chew toy and more time enjoying puppy interaction.
The much-loved Puppy Bytes have been updated and refreshed! Watch for Puppy Bytes 2.0 coming soon!