Blog - Dog Training News & Tips
Puppy Biting/Mouthing – how to train your puppy out of it
12th December 2018
Puppy biting is natural puppy behaviour, so do not worry that because your puppy bites (and growls when playing) he will grow up to be an aggressive dog. Pup should have been taught by his mum not to bite too hard but what is not too hard for his mum with a furry coat for protection will probably hurt you. What is not too hard will also vary from person to person so pup needs to get consistency and learn not to bite humans.
If you are reading this & your dog is older, the same principles apply & the same training will work. I have added in additional notes for older dogs.
Steps to follow – consistently
- Don’t shout at pup when he is biting – pup isn’t doing anything wrong. He just has no idea that he is not allowed to do this so you need to train him that this behaviour does not deliver the rewards he wants i.e. attention & fun.
- When pup begins biting, stop playing with him or stroking him and walk away. If the biting is hard enough to hurt then a firm ‘no’ or ‘ah aah’ just makes it clear it is not acceptable.
- Having made it clear to pup this behaviour is not rewarding in any way, teach him what is ok by sending him off to play with a toy or a chew toy.
- If pup comes back & starts to bite again, repeat as above but on the third strike, he’s out! I.e. if the behaviour is repeated a third time, it is time to put pup out in his crate/bed for time out. This only needs to be for a few minutes although if he is tired he may settle down for a sleep. With an older dog I would not give the ‘3 strikes,’ first bite & he needs to be put for time out.
- When you let pup back out of his crate just ignore him, if he’s good he stays, if he’s not, back in the crate but remember to reward the good behaviour, so if pup is good, gentle praise, give him something to do.
- Remember pup will need things to chew on during the teething process.
- If pup has become over excited then maybe it’s time for a rest. Help pup to calm down by putting him in his bed or crate if you are using one. (Crates must be trained properly before being used for ‘time out.’) If you are not using a crate then a space where pup can be confined can be used. It needs to be a place where pup is comfortable & happy.
- Don’t get into a game of chase if you are trying to put pup in his bed/crate. If necessary remove yourself for a few minutes. When you come back in to the room be prepared with a clear instruction of what you want pup to do. Don’t go in all excited & encourage the behaviour to start again.
- You may find the behaviour is worse at a certain time of day, often late afternoon, early evening, when pup is tired. If there is a set pattern, pre-empt it, pop pup in his crate with a kong, BEFORE, the behaviour starts. Teaching pup, when you’re tired your crate is the place to go.
- If pup hangs on to trousers and nips feet don’t allow him to chase you or your children round the house. Feet are very exciting as they move and children make very exciting squealing noises if pups teeth make contact with their skin.
- Support young children don’t expect them to be able to deal with puppy biting. If the children want time to run around, put your pup somewhere else e.g. in his crate/pen with something such as a kong while the children have ‘their time.’
- Pups need consistency so you need to be sure pup is receiving the same messages from everyone all of the time. Young children will need support.
- Be sure to encourage pup in the behaviour you want by plenty of attention and play in the right way. It can be too easy to be constantly ‘nagging’ pup about what we don’t want him to do and forget to praise when he is doing the right thing.
Remember your pup is a dog trying to fit in to a human world and you need to help him understand the boundaries.
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