PUPPIES BITE HARD!
Your arms are scabbed and scratched, your clothing has rips and snags. One moment you’re snuggling with your sweet baby and the next minute they’ve turned into Cujo! While puppies can come with a host of frustrations, Puppy Biting, Mouthing, and Chewing is often one of the most destructive and painful. Those puppy teeth are SHARP and puppies LOVE putting things in their mouths! Here some simple solutions to reduce this undesirable behavior.
BEYOND THE PUPPY BITING PHASE
Puppy biting is a phase! Like a human baby puts everything in it’s mouth, puppies bite and mouth to explore their environment and develop experience and coordination. Some puppies ARE mouthier than others but most puppies will mouth when antagonized, over-tired, or over-stimulated. As other more preferrable behaviors are reinforced and with good management this phase will soon go by the wayside.
Imagine your puppy doing something you’d prefer. Are they laying relaxed on their mat? Are they walking alongside you while keeping 4 feet on the floor? Maybe they’ve latched onto a toy instead of your pant leg. Each of those alternatives are reasonable things to encourage your puppy TO DO!
MANAGING YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
What is it about the evening hours that bring out the landshark in your sweet puppy? It seems to be a universal witching hour for young dogs. They’ve eaten dinner and you know that any minute they’re going to begin running circles, gnashing teeth, and generally running rampage around your home.
By anticipating the onslaught we can direct and divert it so that this energy explosion is expressed outward and you avoid the bearing the brunt.
- You could redirect your dog with a tug toy or ball to fetch.
- Use a shield or barrier to protect yourself from those happy little hole punches.
- Perhaps it’s really just time to wind down in the kennel with a frozen stuffed Kong!
The same goes for moving throughout the home during other times of the day.
- Use your baby gates to set boundaries between rooms
- Exercise pens are great for confining puppies in open layouts.
- Drag leashes make it easy to get a hold of your puppy
- Tethering your puppy makes it easy for your kids to get away.
You know that when you wear your scarf your puppy is going to try to grab it. That’s just what they do! So use these tools as needed throughout the day. The kennel only becomes a punishment to the puppy when you use it out of frustration. Proactively, it’s a tool for setting good boundaries. Take the time to create positive associations with the kennel so that your puppy sees it as a place to settle and relax.
TEACH YOUR PUPPY WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO!
Your puppy is learning something new every minute they’re away. Are they learning what you want them to know? You feed them anyway so maximize your resources and investment by Hand Feeding your puppy their dry dog food. You can teach them things like:
- Coming when called,
- Lying down on their mat,
- Walking on a loose leash,
- and ‘Drop It!’
By Hand Feeding your puppy they will learn what you want them to do and you will curb less desirable habits before they have the opportunity to take root. Focus your attention on growing the behaviors you do want and as those actions blossom the unwanted behaviors will fade away.
A FINAL NOTE ABOUT PUPPY BITING
If your puppy bites when you reach for them chances are they’re telling you to stop what you’re doing. If their early more subtle communication signals aren’t working to resolve their problem they may resort to tools more effective at getting their point across. If what you’re doing is causing your puppy to exhibit unwanted behavior then stop what you’re doing and try a new approach.
NO, you won’t have to hand feed your puppy like this forever! We’ll address some Common Objections to Hand Feeding in a future post. For now, help your puppy habituate good habits but taking the time to create win-win situations that you both feel good about. Your puppy gets food, attention, or play time and you get a calm puppy with self control and skin that’s as smooth as a…
Thanks for reading! Are you struggling with puppy biting? Check out our FREE RESOURCES or call us at 913.712.8742 to schedule your virtual or in-home Private Puppy Primer!