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Puppy Play Biting

Puppy Play Biting

Having a new puppy in your household is an exciting and exhausting time. Play biting is an aggravating occurrence that many of our new puppy owners ask about. Play biting occurs because that is how puppies play with their littermates and other dogs. They may be confused that what seems so natural to them is something of which we disapprove.

This is not something where the training is quick and easy. Persistence and patience are needed. We will give you some steps to try.

  1. First and foremost, provide your pup with plenty of exercise and game time with you. Play tug with your pup, throw a ball, play outside.  Use food puzzles to engage his mind. View our blog on teaching how to play tug:
  2. Do not encourage roughhousing or playing with your hands. This may seem obvious, but frequently one member of the household will want to play this way. Your pup will have a difficult time if biting one person is ok, and another, not so much.
  3. Meet your pup’s need to chew. Provide suitable chewing toys for your pup and change them out so boredom doesn’t occur. Your hands move and therefore are a great interactive toy from your pup’s point of view.
  4. If your pup becomes too excited, disengage and allow him to calm down. If he is well kennel trained (which he should be) you may place him in his kennel with a chew. This is not a punishment, just a place for him to calm.
  5. Teach your pup to sit as an alternative attention-getting behavior.
  6. When your pup begins to chew on you, immediately redirect to something he can chew on and praise him    
  7. You may try yelping like another pup does when your pup bites. This works well with some pups (for about 10 seconds-their attention span is short) and may excite others. A firm “no bite” may work.
  8. Finally, reward the good. If your pup is quietly chewing on something appropriate or resting quietly, softly praise him and maybe give him a few gentle pets. We tend to react only to the bad and ignore the good, forcing your pup to behave badly in order to get your attention
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