Puppies spend a lot of time playing, chewing, and exploring new things. Puppies use their mouths and their razor-sharp teeth throughout all of these common activities. Puppies frequently bite, chew, and mouth on people’s hands, limbs, and clothing while they play with humans. When your puppy is just seven weeks old, this type of behavior could be cute, but when he’s three or four months old and gaining bigger by the day, it’s not quite as cute!
What to Do About Puppy Mouthing
It’s crucial to train your dog to control his mouthy behavior. There are numerous ways to impart this lesson, some of which are superior than others. The ultimate goal is to teach your dog to completely quit biting and mouthing people. However, the first and most crucial goal is to teach him that because people’s skin is so delicate, he must always use extreme caution when using his mouth.
Developing Your Puppy’s Bite Inhibition: Be Gentle Bite inhibition is the capacity of a dog to regulate the force of his mouthing. Because they don’t understand the sensitivity of human skin, puppies and dogs who haven’t learned bite inhibition with people often bite excessively hard, even when they’re only playing. A dog that has been trained to use his mouth delicately while interacting with humans may be less likely to bite hard and cause injury if he ever bites someone other than playfully when he is scared or in pain.
During playtime with other puppies, puppies typically learn to control their biting. When pups play together, there is a lot of chasing, pouncing, and wrestling. Puppies bite each other on all sides as well. A puppy will occasionally bite his companion too hard. The person who has been bit painfully usually yells and stops playing. The cry frequently surprises the perpetrator, who briefly pauses playing as a result. However, both teammates return to the game quite quickly. Puppies learn to manage the force of their bites through interactions like this, ensuring that no one is wounded and playtime is uninterrupted. Puppies can learn how to be kind from one another, just as they can from people.
Allow your puppy to mouth on your hands when you’re playing. Play on until he starts biting very hard. As soon as he does, yell loudly as though you are harmed and let your hand fall limp. Your puppy should be startled by this and stop mouthing you for a while. (If yelling doesn’t appear to work, use a harsh voice to exclaim, “Too bad!” or “You blew it!”) Praise your puppy when it stops or licks you. Resuming your previous activity. Yelp once more if your puppy bites you forcefully. No more than three times in a 15-minute span should you repeat these instructions. If you discover that yelling by itself is ineffective, you can use a time-out method. Puppy time-outs are frequently highly successful in reducing mouthing. Yell out loudly when your puppy gives you a forceful bite. Then, when he jerks and looks at you or around, take your hand away. If he mouths off to you again, either ignore him for 10 to 20 seconds or get up and walk away for 10 to 20 seconds. Return to your puppy after the little timeout and invite him to play with you once more. It’s crucial to instill in him the concept that playful activity that isn’t painful continues. Play with your puppy until he starts biting firmly once more. When he does, go back and do it again. You can make your regulations a little stricter after your puppy’s bites aren’t as severe. Make your puppy even more gentle. In response to moderately hard bites, yell and stop the game. Continue yelling at your puppy, then ignore him or put him in time out after his nastiest bites. Repeat the process until your puppy can play with your hands very softly, modulating the force of his mouthing so that you feel little to no pressure at all. As those bites fade away, repeat the process for his next-hardest bites, and so on.
- When your puppy tries to chew on your fingers or toes, replace it with a toy or chew bone.
- Puppy mouthing on human hands when being stroked, patted, or scratched is common (unless the puppy is asleep or distracted). If petting your dog sets him off, try distracting him by giving him little treats with your other hand. Your dog will become accustomed to being touched without biting if you do this.
- Instead of wrestling and rough play with your hands, promote noncontact games like fetch and tug of war. Once your dog is capable of playing tug safely, keep the toys nearby or in your pocket. You can immediately direct him to the tug toy if he starts to mouth you. Ideally, he’ll begin to anticipate when he feels like mouthing and look for a toy.
- Carry your puppy’s favorite tug toy in your pocket if he bites your feet and ankles. The moment he ambushes you, halt all foot movement. Pull out the pull toy and enticingly wave it. Start moving after your puppy takes the toy. If the toy isn’t nearby, simply freeze and wait for your puppy to stop biting you. Give him praise and get him a toy as soon as he stops. Follow these instructions repeatedly until your dog becomes accustomed to seeing you walk about without chasing after your feet or ankles.
- Give your puppy a ton of fun, fresh toys so that they may play with them instead of biting you or your clothes.
- Give your puppy lots of chances to play with other puppies and amiable, vaccinated adult dogs. Your puppy has to play and socialize with other dogs in order to grow, and if he spends a lot of time doing that, he won’t feel as driven to play rough with you. Consider putting your puppy in a reputable puppy class so that he may play with other puppies under supervision and pick up some crucial new abilities. Find a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) who offers puppy lessons in your region by reading our article Finding Professional Behavior Help.
- Use a time-out process similar to the one previously described, but with somewhat different ground rules. Instead of punishing your dog for forceful bites, consider punishing him whenever you feel his teeth brush against your skin.
- Give a loud yelp as soon as your puppy’s teeth make contact with you. the moment you say that, walk away from him. For 30 to 60 seconds, ignore him. Leave the room for 30 to 60 seconds if your puppy follows you or continues to bite and nip at you. (Before leaving your dog alone in a room, be sure it has been “puppy-proofed. Don’t leave him alone in a space with potentially harmful or destructive objects.) Return to the room and calmly carry on with whatever you were doing with your puppy after the brief timeout.
- As an alternative, while your puppy is being trained in time-outs, you can retain a leash linked to him and let it dangle while you watch over him. When your puppy mouths you, you can grab hold of his leash, guide him to a calm location, tether him, and then turn your back on him for the brief time-out instead of leaving the room. Untie him, then carry on with what you were doing.
- Consider utilizing a taste deterrent if a time-out is not practical or efficient. Spray your puppy’s favorite mouthing spots on your body and clothing before you engage with him. When he mouths you or your clothing, halt all movement and wait for him to respond to the deterrent’s unpleasant taste. When he releases you, give him a hearty thank you. For at least two weeks, rub the unpleasant flavor all over your body and clothes. Your puppy will likely learn to curb his mouthy behavior after two weeks of getting a bitter taste every time he mouths you.
- Be understanding and patient. A puppy or young dog will typically playfully mouth people or objects.
Don’t be reluctant to seek the assistance of a Certified Professional Dog Trainer because mouthing issues can be difficult to deal with (CPDT). A CPDT will provide group or one-on-one lessons that can help you and your dog with mouthing. To find a CPDT in your area, please refer to our article Finding Professional Help.
- To get your puppy to play, stay away from smacking his face or waving your fingers or toes in his face. Actually encouraging your dog to bite your hands and feet by doing these things.
- Don’t stop your puppy from generally playing with you. The link between a dog and his human family is strengthened via play. Instead of not playing at all, you want to train your puppy to play softly.
- When your puppy mouths you, try not to yank your hands or feet away from him. He will be inspired to advance and seize you as a result of this. Letting your hands or feet become limp and less enjoyable to play with is a much more effective strategy.
- Puppies may bite more forcefully if they are slapped or punished for mouthing around. They typically retaliate by playing more violently. Physical punishment can also instill fear in your puppy and perhaps lead to actual hostility. Do not punish your dog by scruff shaking, hitting him in the nose, sticking your fingers down his mouth, or using any other harsh methods that can harm or frighten him.
When Does Mouthing Become Aggression?
Most puppy biting is commonplace. Some puppies do, however, bite out of fear or frustration, and this behavior can indicate future aggression issues.
Puppy “Tempers flare-ups Puppy temper outbursts really happen. A puppy typically throws a fit when you force him to perform something he dislikes. Even something seemingly innocuous, like holding your puppy still or handling his body, could frighten him. Play that gets out of hand might also result in tantrums. (Even people) “Puppies who become overexcited or angry during playtime may throw tantrums! Playful mouthing by puppies is less severe than a puppy anger tantrum, although it’s not always clear which one is which. A playful puppy will typically have a relaxed body and face. Although his face may appear wrinkled, you won’t notice any stress in his facial muscles. Your puppy may appear to be frozen or very stiff when he is having a tantrum. He might growl or pull his lips back to show his teeth. His bites will almost always be significantly more painful than playful mouthing at regular volume.
Avoid yelling like you’re hurt if your puppy starts to act off while you’re holding or touching him. By doing that, your puppy can continue or escalate his aggressive behavior. Be really composed and emotionless instead. Don’t injure your puppy, but hold him firmly until he stops wriggling without constriction, if as all possible. Give him some time to calm down before letting him go. then arrange to speak with a knowledgeable expert for assistance. Your dog’s behavior needs to be evaluated and dealt with as soon as possible since persistent fits of biting out of frustration are not something the puppy will simply grow out of.
How and When to Seek Assistance You can find out if your dog is mouthing normally by consulting a qualified professional, who can also help you create an efficient treatment strategy. Please see a certified specialist, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior, if you feel that your puppy’s biting meets the criteria of aggressive or scared behavior (Dip ACVB). If you are unable to locate a behaviorist in your area, you may be able to find assistance from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). However, you should make sure to ascertain whether the CPDT you choose has received professional training and experience in successfully treating fear and aggression issues. To find one of these experts in your region, please refer to our article Finding Professional Behavior Help.
Why do dogs randomly bite their owners?
Dogs can become aggressive when they feel threatened, according to Sean Wensley, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
He claims that fear is a common cause of dog bites. “Others are possessive, especially when it comes to defending their favorite sleeping spot, their bed, or guarding anything they cherish dearly. Aggression may also arise if they have mastered the ability to defend something, like a dog dish.”
Dog trainer and behaviorist Carolyn Menteith observes that around the holiday season, dogs bite a lot, and frequently not their owners.
She claims that around the holiday season, folks could ask someone to simply watch their dog while they run errands. The dog may become disoriented and bored if there are numerous visitors staying at the house, lively kids are present all day, or walks are skipped altogether.
We are a communicative species, so when we don’t feel safe, we speak up, according to Ms. Menteith. Only body language cues are available to our canines for this purpose.
With so many unfinished Christmas chores, it’s simple to miss what they’re trying to tell us.
How do you prevent puppies from biting?
Calmly direct your dog to a suitable toy when he begins to chew something inappropriate. Thank him for chewing the right things. Never support mouthing while playing. Choose a toy and follow a set of standardized rules when playing tug of war: I start the game, I finish the game, the dog must give me the toy when I ask for it, and teeth on my skin end the game instantly.
When your dog starts to grow mouthy while you are playing with him, stop the game. Place him gently in a time-out area or his crate. Only release him once he has calmed down.
Punishing your dog could actually make the issues worse that you’re attempting to address. Any dog, but especially one that has been stimulated or is overexcited, might become aggressive in response to physical or verbal punishment.
Avoid using any techniques that involve force or intimidation, including leash jerks, muzzle grabs, alpha rolls, and scruffing. These could cause major behavior issues because they don’t teach the dog what is appropriate. As a punishment for mouthy conduct, put your attention on taking away the items your dog enjoys.
Teach your dog to give you something that is in his mouth without lunging at you. Place a delectable goodie in front of his nose and say, “Should I have that? Give him the treat when he drops the object.
You must instill good conduct in your dog. Keep him on a leash or inside the home if he chases and bites your kids as they play. Use a Gentle Leader if he mouths your hand while you are walking. Stop moving and gradually draw up on his Gentle Leader; when he stops mouthing, release the strain.
If your dog discovers that mouthing you causes something positive to begin or something negative to end, he will keep doing it. Some dogs come to understand that getting their owners’ attention by leaping up and grasping them is preferable to going to the kennel. Others discover that if they don’t want to be restrained, they can end it by gently mouthing. Let the consequences motivate the desired conduct.
Exercise that is difficult won’t make your dog stop mouthing you, but it will help you get rid of extra energy that can aggravate mouthy behavior. Play with other dogs, fetch activities, and long walks can all be beneficial. Till your dog is a year old, stay away from running and long walks (more than a mile). He is still forming the growth plates at the ends of his bones, so strenuous exercise may result in edema or even stunted growth.
Some dogs utilize their jaws because they have discovered that doing so causes their owners to react favorably. Giving your dog lots of positive reinforcement and instruction will help him/her become “legal pursuits that will attract attention to him for the proper factors.
- Learn to high-yip. A high-pitched, piercing yip is released by the puppy who is being bitten when playtime between puppies becomes too aggressive. To shock the majority of puppies, imitate the high yip; then remove your hand and replace it with a toy. Stop utilizing this technique right away if you realize that it just makes your dog more excited.
- Keep an eye on children and puppies as they play.
- Many kids will require your assistance because they can’t apply these methods on their own. Puppies pick things up quickly and may discover that aggressive play and biting can terrify young toddlers. Children enjoy doing things that make pups overexcited. Until the puppy and the toddler learn how to play appropriately, adult supervision is required.
for sympathetic guidance and information to address all of your animal-related worries.