Two Easy Methods to Teach Bite Inhibition to a Puppy

Updated on January 9, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He also trains dogs, mostly large breeds, and those that suffer from aggression problems.

All puppies love to bite!
All puppies love to bite! | Source

What Is Bite Inhibition?

I was wrestling with an adult male Siberian Husky at a home I visited the other day, and was truly impressed with the dog´s powers of bite inhibition. What is bite inhibition?

Despite the fact that he was enjoying himself, growling and putting his teeth on my arm, never once did he put even a slight pressure on my skin. The dog understood how to control the pressure from his bite.

Did the owner teach him to play with such finesse? No, the dog learned how to be polite from his mother. Puppies learn this when wrestling with their mother and littermates and should know enough to not bite hard by the time they are sixteen weeks old. Not all dogs are around their mothers long enough to learn this skill, however, and it is one of the most important things your dog needs to learn.

When they cannot reach your hands they will go for your jeans.
When they cannot reach your hands they will go for your jeans. | Source

How Do You Teach Bite Inhibition?

Teach That Biting Has Consequences

Let your puppy know that her play bites hurt, and that the bite has consequences: No, I do not suggest you hit your puppy. Using physical force on her is most likely going to cause her to bite even more. Yell “Ouch” (a behaviorist I once heard lecture suggested you say it like “Oww-oww-oww-oww” in a very high pitched tone), tell your puppy to sit/down/stay, and then stop playing with her for about five minutes.

(I think this is the perfect time to give your puppy something to chew on. Kong toys work great, and you can put something inside that will make your puppy interested in chewing the new toy.)

Why do I suggest walking away for at least five minutes? Five minutes is a long time for a little puppy. If your puppy is not obedience trained yet, and will not sit/down/stay, you should leave the room for about five minutes after yelling “ouch”.

What do you do when the dog follows you and bites you as you walk out of the room? A good suggestion is to reach down and pick up the puppy (after removing him from your leg or jeans, gently). Hold him away from your body but do not give any sort or attention to him, and you certainly do not want to caress him in any way. As soon as he stops struggling, put him down and then leave him alone. If he grabs you again, you´ll have to repeat the whole process. Eventually any puppy is going to learn that biting is equal to “game over”.

  • Yell "ouch"
  • Stop playing with the puppy
  • Give her something else to chew on
  • Leave the room for at least five minutes

Teach That Biting Hard Has Consequences

Teach the puppy to stop putting any pressure on when she starts to bite: After your puppy has learned that biting has consequences, you can also teach her that biting hard has consequences, too. When she is mouthing your hand, wait for a bite that has a little more pressure than the others. It does not need to be a bite that hurts, just enough so that she will know the difference. Yell “Ouch” again, and stop playing with her and leave the room.

A moving target is even more fun to bite.
A moving target is even more fun to bite. | Source

When Is the Best Time to Teach Bite Inhibition?

Bite inhibition training should take place during the sensitive socialization phase and by the time your puppy is 16 weeks old she should understand this concept. Training needs to continue after this time, however. The best way to continue with this training is to play with your dog. Every time she dares put her teeth on you and uses even a little pressure, make a big deal about it. You should not scream at her, scruff her, or “alpha-roll” your friend. Just let her know she has gone beyond the limits of good play, stop playing with her, and walk away.

Any dog may end up biting. If your dog ends up biting someone as an adult, however, and he has not learned bite inhibition, the bite will be more severe and he is much more likely to be killed by the authorities. In a study done by Dr. Ian Dunbar, dogs that are taught bite inhibition are statistically more likely to bite, but they are also less statistically likely to be involved in a serious bite. They may nip, but they are not likely to bear down and draw blood!

A dog belonging to a neighbor was never taught this skill and my dog is not even willing to play with her anymore. Another local dog, a Fila Brasileiro that can fit my dog´s head in her mouth, plays rough but never hurts my dog and understands how to inhibit her bites. It makes a difference, both to the humans and the dogs, and dogs who do not learn bite inhibition will end up as social outcasts.

If you introduce a new puppy to your household, teach bite inhibition early. It is going to make a big difference in your relationship with her.

If you teach your dog bite inhibition you can play with her even more.
If you teach your dog bite inhibition you can play with her even more. | Source
A goodbye bite is okay though.
A goodbye bite is okay though. | Source

Questions & Answers

    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)