Your new puppy is the cutest and most loving pup you’ve ever met. Your entire family is in love, especially your young children who can’t get enough of playing and cuddling. Just like most puppies, your puppy is excitable and sometimes they nip at you or your children. This behaviour makes you feel anxious and sometimes scares your children. You love this puppy SO much but don’t know how to deal with the nipping and biting behaviour.
A puppy that nips or bites can be stressful for the entire family. Children can become scared to be around the puppy and parents may feel overwhelmed, stressed and worried not knowing what to do. In order to establish a healthy bond and nurture your relationship with your new ball of energy you’ll need to ensure that you nip nipping in the bud. But how should you go about correcting this natural and normal puppy behaviour?
At PawPad® Company we know the health and happiness of your family is what matters most. We’re here to provide you with our best tips on how to stop a puppy from biting . We want to empower you to be as close and connected to your pet as possible. Stopping nipping and biting is a great way to allow this bond to form. As cute as they are , no one really wants puppy teeth digging into their skin. Our tips will help you deal with nipping and if you’ve yet to bring puppy home, prepare you to deal with nipping from the start.
What Is Nipping?
Nipping is generally playful puppy behaviour. It’s completely normal for puppies to nip at each other during play and sometimes these nips turn into bites. When puppies play together, they learn when play has become too rough by yelping. Our skin is more sensitive than a dog’s and we need to teach our puppies that biting isn’t safe for us. It’s up to us to set appropriate boundaries for our puppies mouthing and biting. If you don’t address biting and nipping early it may lead to more serious behavior problems in the future. Although it can be alarming when your puppy nips, you can safely correct the behaviour.
It is critically important to remember that your puppy needs to bite. Just like babies, puppies experience some pain as their first set of teeth and molars come in. Biting provides comfort while they’re teething and is also an important aspect of play. And just in case you forgot, puppies don’t have hands! They need to use their mouths to hold and move objects. Remember to never yell or hit a puppy because they are biting. Not only is the abusive, it’s also an ineffective method of dealing with biting. Get started on the right foot with your puppy by teaching them when it is and isn’t ok to bite.
What Can We Do?
If you’re currently struggling with a biting or nipping puppy the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. Remember that nipping and biting is completely normal for puppies and is to be expected. This doesn’t mean that you have love the fact that they do it. Just know that your puppy is normal, and the behaviour is normal too. There is hope and we are here to help teach you how to train a puppy not to bite.
Teach them that biting hurts!
Your puppy is a baby and has no idea that what they’re doing hurts. They love you and just want to play and be loved back! You need to set the limits and get them to understand that biting hurts. When your puppy nips you during play act like another puppy would. Allow your body part to go limp, not tense or pull away and let out a yelp or an “ouch”. Do this in a short burst and in a different voice than you normally use. This helps to teach your puppy that the bite was too hard, and that the behaviour needs to stop. Older children may be able to help with this step of training, but this is not suitable for young children. Repeat this action a few times and follow it up with a short time out. Time outs should be brief, execute them by stopping play or removing the puppy from an over stimulating environment. You do not need to leave you puppy alone or attempt to have them sit still. Simply discontinue the behaviour or play that promoted the puppy to bite or nip. Doing this reinforces the idea that your puppy shouldn’t play rough and that their behaviour isn’t welcome. Always try to use love and patience with your puppy.
Work on discouraging biting and nipping
Once they appear to understand that biting hurts it’s time to discourage all biting towards humans. Start by trying short time outs when your puppy’s teeth come into contact with skin. Remember that time outs should always be brief and the goal is to stop the behaviour that led to the nipping or biting. Do this gently and kindly but establish that teeth and skin don’t mix. In addition to time outs, give your puppy praise or treats when they don’t use their teeth on people. Consider using treats to distract puppies who want to mouth you when you touch them. Additionally, you can give your puppy a toy or teething ring, telling them that they can chew these items. When training your puppy, tone of voice matters remembers to be gentle but firm when speaking to them.
Establish non-contact play
Wrestling and contact play with your puppy are so much fun. But it is important to develop and encourage non-contact play too. Forms of play such as fetch or tugging on one end of a strong toy are good ways to encourage children to play with a puppy without touching. This can help build trust between your children and your puppy and give the puppy a non-biting play outlet. Encourage your puppy to participate in these forms of play when they begin to show a desire to bite. Don’t over use these forms of play as too much rough play can lead to aggression. Instead, cycle this type of play while also using other techniques to discourage nipping and biting. Ensure you have a variety of safe toys for your puppy to chew on. Not only will this meet their need to chew but it might even save your furniture too.
Get Outside Help
If your family is struggling with nipping and biting don’t be afraid to ask for help. A professional can help give you strategies that work for puppy and family. In addition, if you’re concerned that your puppies nipping and biting may be due to aggression, the BSPCA recommends that you seek outside advice from your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your puppy could be experiencing some form of trauma.
Don't Give Up!
Having a young puppy and young children is a learning curve. But the comfort and love your puppy adds to your family is so worth it. Always stay on top of nipping and biting behaviour and remember there are ways to stop it. Talk to your children about why your puppy nips and support them if they feel nervous around the puppy during the learning period.
With love, effort and consistency your puppy will learn to stop nipping and biting. Nipping is normal, but not something that you have to accept. Work with your puppy and you’ll be sure to have a loving relationship that brings joy to your family for years to come.