How to Stop Puppy Biting
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How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting You
For young puppies, nipping, biting and "mouthing" are normal behaviors and rarely cause serious harm. But it's important to stop these behaviors before your dog reaches adulthood, when a bite could inflict serious injury.
Begin your training early - when your puppy is 6 weeks old, if possible. This is a job for the dog breeder to start at 6 weeks.
Teach your puppy that biting hurts you. When he bites, give a sharp "no!" or "ouch!" - or even a yelp like a dog would make. This is the same reaction that your puppy would get from another puppy if he bit too hard during play. It teaches him that he's been too rough, and the odds are that he'll be more gentle next time.
Remove your hand slowly - don't jerk it away - and give your puppy a toy that he can chew on without damage.
If your puppy ignores your reaction and bites again, repeat your "no!," "ouch!" or yelp, and leave the room for a few minutes. Let your puppy know that when he bites, he will lose his playmate. This, too, mirrors the reaction he would get from another puppy if he played too roughly.
Be persistent in your training. As your puppy's behavior improves and his bites are softer, continue to yelp or give a sharp "'no!" whenever he puts his teeth on you. Make it clear that all bites are painful and unacceptable to humans.
Reinforce your puppy's good behavior. Whenever he licks you without using his teeth and whenever he plays nicely and appropriately, give him plenty of praise.
Begin teaching the "off" command after your puppy has stopped biting with any pressure. Hold a handful of the puppy's dry food, close your hand and say "off." After a few seconds, if the puppy has not touched your hand, say "take it" and give him a piece of food. You are teaching him that "off" means not to touch.
Continue to give a sharp yelp, "no!" any time your puppy bites you unexpectedly. If you see the bite coming, give the "off" command.
Enroll your puppy in an obedience class where he can socialize with other dogs when he is about 4 or 5 months old. Their interaction will help to reinforce what you teach him, since rough play with other dogs will likely cause them to yelp and cut off play. At the same time, your puppy will learn the difference between people's limits and other dogs' limits - dogs will allow rougher play than people will.
Tips & Warnings
Make sure your puppy always has plenty of chew toys to exercise his mouthing and chewing instincts.
Make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise and play time every day. Going for walks, playing fetch and learning tricks are great distractions that may reduce biting.
Try to create a consistent schedule for play time - perhaps 15 to 30 minutes, twice a day. Your puppy will learn to look forward to that time and will be less likely to seek attention at other times.
Remind all family members, including children, to be consistent about the "no biting" rule.
If your training doesn't seem to be working or if your puppy becomes aggressive instead of backing off when you indicate that he's hurt you, see a veterinarian or professional trainer for help.
Rough games like tug-of-war and wrestling may encourage aggressive behavior, including biting.
If you have young children, don't leave your puppy alone with them until he has learned not to bite.
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