Is your puppy biting?
Whether they are doing it while playing with other puppies or you and your family, it can be pretty unpleasant.
But the good news is that it's common for puppies to go through this phase.
Some newborn puppies begin nipping when they are just weeks old as teeth come in or while playing with their litter. Older puppies will bite at others when they are months old, as baby teeth are lost and replaced.
The other good news is that with some effort and stern instruction, you can help your puppy break this frustrating habit.
Read on to learn 5 ways you can teach your puppy to stop biting!
1. Avoid Wrestling
Have you ever watched puppies or other dogs play with each other? If so, you've probably seen them roll around and nip at each other playfully. This is one of the ways that dogs interact with each other, whether they are dachshunds or larger breeds.
When you use your hand to wrestle with your puppy, this can send them the same sort of signals they get from other puppies. Your puppy may react to this signal in the same way that they do when they play with others — by nipping or biting.
By sticking to playing with toys and avoiding wrestling your puppy with your hands, this avoids sending them that signal and getting that response.
2. Remain Quiet
When your puppy bites your hand or clothes, you may instinctively act out verbally to stop it. This can come in the form of a yelp or other squeal.
The important thing to remember is that these are the same sort of sounds other puppies make when they are bit or nipped. This can also send the wrong signal to your puppy — one where they see you like they do another littermate.
By being quiet during puppy biting, your puppy will not interpret your reaction to being the same as other puppies and it can help break them of the habit.
3. Try a Toy
Is your puppy biting at your hands as you play with them? Try immediately replacing your hand with a toy, after telling your puppy, "No" very firmly.
By doing this each time your puppy begins to nip or bite at you, they will begin to understand what they are allowed to bite. Some puppies respond well to this tactic but others may bypass the toy and continue to nip at your hands or clothes.
If that's the case, you may need to try our next approach.
4. Stop the Game
If switching out your hand for a toy doesn't work, you should immediately stop the game you are playing with your puppy.
This sends your puppy a message that when he acts out a certain way, play time is over. It's important that you are consistent with your approach to this. If you don't immediately stop the game when your puppy begins to bite or nip, you will not enforce the proper behavior.
Mixed messages are confusing to your puppy and may keep you from accomplishing your goal.
5. Reward Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is an important way to instill good behavior in your puppy.
Be sure to keep some treats around for when your puppy behaves well. As your puppy plays with you and others without biting or nipping, reward them with a treat.
This helps your puppy know they are acting the right way and will encourage this sort of behavior.
How to Stop Puppy Biting
Remember that breaking your puppy of a biting habit is a process.
Some puppies will catch on quickly, while others will take a little bit more time and effort. When you understand that puppy biting is part of growing up, it will help you have more patience with the situation.
By being consistent with your approach and finding what is best for your puppy, you can work through this stage of your puppy's development.