Puppies bite, we all know this. They use their mouth to explore their environment. They also use it to play and communicate when they are stressed or don’t like the way you are handling them. But those needle-sharp puppy teeth are no fun in our soft skin – because we don’t have a layer of fur to protect us! If you are planning on bringing home a puppy, or you have one now, then you will want to remember these 5 training tips that will help you teach your puppy not to bite.
#1 – Don’t Play Rough
While it can be hard to resist, don’t wrestle your puppy. Playing “rough” excites and encourage your puppy to also play rough, including biting. If you do make the decision to play that way, don’t blame the puppy when he keeps biting. You created the monster.
Image source: @JuanTello via Flickr
#2 – Hands Are NOT Toys
Do not use your hand (or feet!) as a toy! Again, this teaches your puppy that hands are things you bite! The most common examples are when people rub a puppy belly too rough and the puppy reacts by biting the hand. Or, people move their hand quickly in front of the puppy for him to “catch.” Don’t do it! Use a toy for your dog to catch, pounce and bite. As for the belly, make sure your rubs are calm and nice, so your puppy doesn’t feel the need to bite.
Image source: @Renatalima via Flickr
#3 – Walk Away
As soon as you feel those razor sharp teeth on any part of you (clothing included!). STOP whatever it is that you are doing and walk away. This teaches your puppy that biting ends the game and the attention, which he doesn’t want. Even better is if you have your pup on a harness and tie-down, so he can’t follow you. Once he calms down, return and play can resume. Soon, he won’t bite so play will continue without interruption.
Image source: @JermeryDuff via Flickr
#4 – Be Respectful
It’s not all about the puppy learning to not bite humans. You need to learn to watch your puppy’s body language and respect him. Teach your kids to not pull on his tail and ears, or pat hard. These are things that usually get a bite response – remember, it’s the only way your puppy can think of to tell you he doesn’t like that or it hurts! Not teasing or hurting your puppy will help him not bite.
#5 – Handling exercises
Some puppies don’t like to be handled. My youngest sheltie cried like a banshee whenever I held him on my lap. If you have a puppy that tries to bite when you brush, towel him off, hold him, etc., then you need to work on some handling. To do this, work on pairing food with you touching your puppy and him not reacting. You are going to have to start at a point that does not make him react. So, for example, can you reach toward your puppy without touching him, and not have him move? If so, you are going to mark (say “yes” or click, for example) and then give him a treat. Slowly work up to being able to touch him without a reaction. (PS. your vet and groomer will love you for this training!). Need help? Most positive puppy classes work on this or find a positive reinforcement trainer to help you.
Image source: @SteneDepolo via Flickr
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Written by Kristina Lotz
Why do puppies bite?
A puppy is just like a little baby that when it starts to teethe, everything in the world seems deliciously biteable. Additionally, you might misinterpret this as hunger or thirst, although this is his plain urge to bite everything and feel the power of his growing teeth. Pups bite because they do not have hands that are capable of investigating and realizing the things around them. He sniffs, bites, cracks and chews everything that is around him.
Just as us, in our infancy as we would have continued to bite everything within our crawl’s reach, we would also have turned out into biting creatures on four limbs of equivalent incapability and capabilities hadn’t we learned mouth manners. It is important to be physically present to help train your pup to understand that he has powerful, sharp and painful teeth while teaching your puppy how not to bite. They have to, be, repeatedly told about the harm that the biting causes in the due course of growing up.
Every animal, while growing up, learns the ways and abilities of the physical and mental power of the self through endless games and playtimes. Just as you involve your baby, if at all, to be perpetually engaged, you must make sure that your pup is perpetually engaged in order to notice his ways of teething and biting.
A pup should be trained from the very beginning that nothing is a game or a passing act, but an important lesson to learn and recognize. There are many ways to get the attention of your pup to teach and train him to notice and concentrate on your way of conveying him any message.
Problems during teaching your dog, mouth manners
- Perpetual depression/ mood swingsA common problem during training your dog to healthy mouth manners is the perpetual depression or mood swings due to anxiety, punishments and confusion in the mind of your dog. You must take care to communicate clearly to your pup to help him overcome the fear and understand good behaviour. For a dog, chewing on everything that he sniffs is a necessity, so you must take care to teach it to chew on food and only food while teaching your puppy how not to bite.
- Digestive ailmentsAnother common problem among puppies is that many digestive ailments makes them chew out on the flowers, plants, plastic, paper and trash to vent out the allergic feeling in the mouth and the tummy. Most dogs with sensitive stomachs and digestive ailments should be, taken exclusive care of, to teach mouth manners.
- AggressionIf you poke the mouth of a dog, it will surely bite you. With a puppy, this is even more significant as he develops heavy aggression when you treat him with loud scolding and harsh punishments. If your puppy is not, trained on the good aspects of mouth manners, it is significant that the end-result will be an abject communication to recognise real food from knick-knacks lying around.
Dog aggression can become a serious problem if the behavior is not curbed early on in the puppy’s life. You can learn more in our article about stopping aggression and socializing your dog.
- Untimely or premature teethingAnother common problem in pups is the untimely or premature teething, which makes them bite a lot. The fresh feeling of teeth grows a sensation to bite everything around to vent out the discomfort or newness.
- Consistent disobedienceIf a dog is hurt by your way of communicating and commanding it, consistent disobedience and ignorance is definite to be a few virtues that you will reap from your little guy.
The best way of determining the right time of teething and behavioral changes in your pup is through religious observation, care and awareness about your pup’s sensitivity issues, allergies and liking’s as well as dislikes.
And if you want to avoid that one day your dog will bite everything, you must learn him as soon as possible.
Every dog is different, just as us. One must teach a puppy with sufficient care and dedication to keep him healthy with the help of mouth manners that you veterinarian approves of. Strike a communication with your puppy, if you wish to train him any technique, command or gesture to follow or comprehend you while. Apart from that, continue loving, observing and caring your pup always while teaching your puppy how not to bite
Why is My German Shepherd Puppy Biting and Nipping?
Little pups that bite on hands or chew on toys are doing so because they are developing teeth.
They chew on toys because their gums feel irritated and to make the pain go away, they bite and chew on things. This behavior during the teething period is very normal and not much of a problem. However, if a GS pup doesn’t leave its biting habit behind when it has grown into an adult, it becomes a huge problem for everyone.
Another reason that GSDs bite a lot is that they did not receive proper training as pups. When people start to appreciate or encourage GS biting or nipping, they are making it develop this into a habit. Your dog will start to bite at visitors and household items. This is a problem that needs to be controlled right away or else someone will end up getting hurt. If you let your GS bite and nip, you are letting it take over.
Biting and nipping is also a play game for GSD pups. They like to bite other pups in the litter, and this is usually harmless. However, when a pup gets hurt unintentionally, it makes a loud sound. This sound is an indication for the pup that it is hurt, and it is time to stop.
How to Stop a German Shepherd from Biting and Nipping?
There are several ways you can train your pup not to bite or nip. If your pup is biting because of teething, it is not a problem. However, if your pup’s biting habit is getting out of control, adopt the following strategies to get control over it.
- The first step is to tell your dog that biting is not acceptable.
- You will do this with the help of voice commands, body language, and hand signals.
- If your pup bites at you, make and ‘ouch’ sound.
- Pull your hand away and say ‘No.’
- Move away from your pup and stop playing.
- When you stop playing with your pup the moment it bites, it will associate no play with biting.
- Repeat this practice whenever your GSD bites or nips.
- It will help your GSD learn that biting and nipping is not appreciated.
If this method doesn’t work and your GS pup is still biting, try this:
- Start playing with your pup.
- Let it grab your hand and as soon as the pup bites, say ‘No’ in an authoritative tone.
- Put your thumb in your pup’s mouth and under its tongue.
- Put your other finger lightly beneath its chin.
- Your pup will not be able to bite you and in this uncomfortable situation, it will try to get your fingers out of its mouth.
- This is an effective technique that will make the puppy feel uncomfortable and it will avoid biting you.
- Remember, you will have to repeat this technique several times until your pup completely hates taking your hand in its mouth.
This doesn’t work either? Try this:
- If you are playing with your pup and it starts biting your hands, say ‘No’ immediately.
- Pull your hand backward and pinch your pup in the neck.
- Do not pinch too tightly.
- This will make the pup associate pinching with No, and it will soon stop biting you.
Be Consistent in what You Teach
If you are trying to train your dog to behave and stop biting and nipping, make sure you are doing it with consistency and repetition. While training a GSD, you will need to repeat your technique several times until it starts to learn. Your GSD needs to know that biting and nipping is not acceptable and will upset you.
You will also need to become the leader of your dog, not a friend of the same level. When you are a leader, you control the dog’s behavior. When the dog accepts you as a leader, it starts to follow the rules you set and the commands you give.
Do not let your puppy bite on your hands during the training process.
Doing so will create confusion in your dog’s mind, and it will not be able to learn that biting is not good.