How to Get a Puppy Dog to Stop Biting

Updated on June 28, 2018
daxamite profile image

James Livingood has been a dog sitter for several years. He has written numerous articles and a book about the topic because he loves dogs.

Puppy Biting
Puppy Biting

Dogs use their mouths to explore their surroundings. Sometimes, this is not as romantic as it sounds! They can chew your favorite carpet, devour your brand new pair of heels and bite your grandmother’s chair beyond repair. Besides the financial (and emotional) damages, dogs' mouths can also put them in danger. They can eat rocks, forks, pacifiers, rubber ducks and pieces of underwear. In fact, several marriages have ended due to a dog’s eating habits. Why do dogs chew like this?

Besides being massively destructive, dogs can also act like crocodiles. They can bite our clothes, our hands, our arms, our feet and even our legs. And, boy, does it hurt! If you’re the proud owner of a puppy, those tiny needles (also known as teeth) can be very painful . . . and did you know they’re meant to be painful? Puppy teeth were designed to cause pain—they’re extremely sharp and pointy. If they weren't, puppies wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn an extremely important skill: bite inhibition.

Dog biting cane
Dog biting cane

Teaching Your Dog Bite Inhibition and How to Be Gentle

Bite inhibition is something you want your dog to have. Simply put, it’s the dog’s ability to control his jaw by reducing the pressure he applies as he bites. If your dog has a poor bite inhibition, he will cause a great deal of damage if he bites someone. On the contrary, if he has acquired perfect bite inhibition, his bites may feel like soft tickles. Unfortunately, this is not directly related to a dog’s level of aggression. If your dog has an aggression problem but has effectively learned how to inhibit his bites, the rehabilitation process may be relatively simple. However, if he bites with no control or restraint whatsoever, you may need to be concerned. Sadly, bite inhibition can be very difficult to teach in an adult dog; it should be acquired during puppyhood.

What is the best method to teach bite prevention?

See results
Puppy litter
Puppy litter

How Biting Stops Naturally

Let’s imagine you happen to own a puppy! Oh, the joys of sharing your life with a puppy. The never-ending pee and poop and especially the constant biting! This is the perfect moment to continue the process of teaching him bite inhibition. Yes, you read it correctly. If your puppy had the opportunity to stay with his mother and brothers until he was 8 weeks of age, he should have some bite inhibition by now.

When a puppy's teeth start growing, they will hurt the mother when they try to nurse; she’ll make sure to let them know by pushing them away. When they’re playing with their brothers and bite too hard, the other puppies may yelp and move away; henceforth, they realize they need to be gentler, otherwise, the fun is over! If your puppy was kept away from his siblings, he never had the chance to experience this, which means you have a lot of work to do!

Puppy playing with toy
Puppy playing with toy

Teaching Bite Control

Here are the methods to help teach bite control:

  • Never allow teeth to skin contact
  • Shout "ouch!" if it happens and stop playing
  • Make life boring (not grabbing and pulling item away)
  • Prevent temptation
  • Professional training

How do you teach your puppy to control his tiny, needle-filled mouth? First of all, never allow him to turn your hands into chew toys. His teeth should never touch your skin! If you’re playing with him, make sure you offer him a toy; if he bites your hand (even if it’s accidentally), stop the play session immediately. You can let him know he made something he’s not supposed to by saying “ouch!” and moving away. Wait 5 minutes and then try again. After a few repetitions, he’ll probably be more careful during play sessions. People tend to play-fight with puppies, using their hands to tease them; they should avoid doing so! Remember, your hands are not chew toys! You can use rubber toys, rope, plastic toys instead—the list is endless.

Puppy chewing shoe
Puppy chewing shoe

Teach Your Puppy What Is a Toy and What Is Not a Toy

Some puppies also enjoy to bite our shoelaces; they’re so fun to play with! If your puppy does it, stop moving. Avoid dragging him around, otherwise, you’ll only make him more excited. Make it boring for the puppy! Stand still and wait. If he lets go, reward him by allowing him to play with an appropriate toy. Make sure the toy is more interesting than your shoes; if he’s not into toys, offer him a yummy treat. If he doesn’t let go and keeps pulling the shoelace, you have to redirect his attention. Waiting won’t help since he’s having so much fun by himself! Grab a piece of food (or a very interesting chew toy), say “let go!” and place it right in front of the puppy’s nose. He’ll probably lose interest in the shoelace and won’t hesitate to grab the treat. Once he gets the idea, be careful not to create a behavioral chain. He may learn that in order to have the treat, he needs to bite your shoelace; this is not the purpose of the exercise! To prevent this, simply ask him to sit or lay down before giving him the treat.

Prevention and Persistence Is Key in Training

Like in any other behavior problem, prevention is the key. If your puppy is very excited and you think he’ll jump right at your hands, offer him the toy beforehand; if he’s running towards your shoes, offer him the chew toy! Persistence and patience are extremely important; make sure to respect your puppy’s learning rhythm!

On the other hand, if your dog has already reached adulthood, you may need to contact a professional. Things aren’t as easy with adult dogs, especially if he’s biting due to frustration or fear. Ask for help! A certified behaviorist or positive dog trainer will certainly help speed up the training process. Don’t wait until your dog hurts someone; a dog with poor bite inhibition can cause serious wounds if motivated to inflict a bite.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)