Simple Steps to Stop Puppy Biting (that really work!)

Puppy biting is not something you have to, or should, put up with. In this post I give you some strategies for how to stop your puppy biting you that are simple yet effective!

How to stop puppy biting

So question number two is, how can I stop my puppy biting me?

So this owner has got a 3-month-old puppy that’s biting their hands, that’s biting their ankles, they've got a couple of kids and the puppy’s actually made them cry a few times because of it. They've tried a few things, they've tried just saying ouch, they've tried holding the mouth closed and telling him no biting, but then that causes the dog just to bark at them.

They also added that their husband has actually disciplined their dog by spanking him on the bottom when he's being naughty and because of that they've noticed that the dog is becoming a little bit nervous when he sees that they're raising their hands and even when they try to just pet him.

So he's also not fully vaccinated and so they haven't brought him out to socialize either. So how can they stop his biting behavior?

Well, there are a couple of ways that we can stop biting in puppies.

Consistency is key to stopping biting

The most important thing is to be consistent, and that everyone in the family does the same thing. So parents, children, anyone visiting, they all do the same thing. So consistency is key so that the puppy gets the same idea from whoever's hand that they're biting. They're doing the same thing and that's just going to reinforce what needs to happen.

If you're sending mixed messages to any dog, but to a puppy especially, it can get very confusing for them.

Shout “ouch” or “no”

So the owners were definitely doing the right thing by saying “ouch” or “no” loudly, but at this time all play also needs to stop and you should ignore the puppy for a few minutes.

So completely ignore, turn your back, put the toy down, play stops.

Now, if the puppy continues to bite or if they bark and they're making a fuss, they're jumping up and as soon as you interact with them again they're biting, then instead of just shouting ouch or no, then actually just remove them from that area is the next step. So they need to learn that if they bite, then play stops.

Puppy biting means play stops

Just pick them up, take them to another room, shut them in that room by themselves without any toys where they're going to be bored. It only needs to be for a few minutes, and then bring them out and then you can make a fuss of them again. You can give them a treat and they're not going to associate that with their biting behavior.

But what they need to do is they need to learn that if they bite, life gets very boring.

Respond immediately

The important thing is that you need to do that straight away. So you can't let them bite you and then a minute later, a couple of minutes later put them in another room because they're not going to make that association between biting and boredom. So it's very important that when something happens, it has a response from you straight away.

So we use this as well in training. If you're training your dog to sit, as soon as they sit down you give them a treat straight away. Again, if they sit down and a minute later you give them a treat, they're not going to know why they got it. They're not going to associate that sitting with the treats so in a similar way life needs to get boring straight away as soon as that bite happens.

Avoid mouthing, biting games

Now, also you need to really stop playing any tugging games or games where you're putting your hand in their mouth. If that's what you're doing this again only encourages biting in those situations and it's just sending mixed messages to a puppy.

Avoid physical punishment

Finally, really negative punishment like spanking, it should always be avoided. It's much more likely to result in a fearful dog who doesn't understand the link between punishment and the unwanted behavior.

So punishment in any way is actually very hard to get right and it's very easy to get wrong. And the last thing you want is a dog who is scared of you because they're worried that they're going to get punished or they’re going to get hit. So negative punishment is definitely something to be avoided.

Ask for help

And then my final point would be if you're still struggling, if biting is still happening, you don't seem to be getting anywhere then consult a dog trainer or a behaviorist or talk to your vet and they will give you some other strategies that will help stop puppy biting.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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