No doubt puppies are cute, well that is until they sink their sharp baby teeth into your delicate skin. The truth is for a young pup; biting is one of the most natural things in the world to do. For them, biting is a means of exploration, playing and fending off attacks.
Stopping your puppy from biting is one thing, but, you have to make sure your puppy’s spirit does not get broken in the process. It is up to you to devise an approach to curb this habit while instilling positive behavior. Once that is done, you can move on to other fun things, like teaching it cool tricks.
Merely listing the steps is not enough for you to embark on correcting your dog’s ingrained habit. As a result, here are the five steps explained in greater detail.
Step 1: Teach your Puppy Bite Inhibition
The first step when teaching your puppy to stop biting is to react consistently to bites. When playing, it is not rare to find puppies nipping at each other. The same thing applies to when they get over excited when playing with their owners.
Sometimes, they don’t realize the pain they can cause. So, it is up to you to show that this is wrong with your actions by teaching it bite inhibition. When your puppy bites you or another dog, you can react by saying “Ow that was painful” or say “No” in a firm voice. Doing this will give feedback to the puppy that what they are doing is wrong.
Step 2: Make Use of Taste Deterrents to Dissuade Biting
Biting is most likely to occur when the puppy is playing, so before you start playing with your puppy, use a taste deterrent. Taste deterrents can be mixed in your kitchen with ingredients like white vinegar or bitter apple but nothing with toxic chemicals. You can spray the taste deterrent on your clothes or on parts of your body that the puppy likes to play with.
If the puppy bites you, stop any form of movement and wait for it to react to the taste of the deterrent. The biting may continue for a while, but once the same taste keeps making its way to your puppy’s mouth, it will stop biting. When the puppy stops biting, praise it and continue playing.
Step 3: Distraction Can Be A Useful Tool
Puppies are curious pets. Naturally, they would love to explore their environment, and with the aid of their teeth, they satisfy their curiosity. One thing you can do is to puppy proof your home and also have an array of safe and exciting chew toys. The chew toys chosen should match your puppy’s level of curiosity – that is, if it is into biting to shreds a toy, then it would be best to get a plastic or rubber toy.
Another thing you can do is to mentally stimulate your pet by getting “hide the treat” toys. This distracts your pet from biting stuff as it has to figure out ways to get the reward. Finally, make attempts to socialize your pup with other dogs that are already trained, and this will get it on the right track to proper behavior.
Step 4: Redirect your Puppy’s Attention
Redirection is another way to teach your puppy that using his teeth on human skin or other dogs is not okay. If your puppy tries to bite you, immediately drawback or pull your hand away before it can make contact. You can then provide a treat or a toy for it to nibble on.
You can also engage your puppy’s urge to bite things by involving them in non-contact games of tug or fetch. However, be careful not to let the tugging get to an aggressive stage.
Step 5: Encourage Appropriate Play
Once your puppy bites you, a good strategy is to let them know it hurts by voicing out your pain, then walk away. Ignore it for a few minutes and do this consistently any time it bites. This will teach your puppy that biting you is not appropriate play and will make you walk away, making it curb the habit.
You can also teach your puppy basic obedience commands very early. A well-trained dog will more likely follow your orders to stop biting then an untrained one. Another method includes putting the puppy on time out till it calms down. Doing this will let your puppy know that bites only lead to isolation.