It’s really tempting for us to let our puppies chew at our hands and feet, even with those sharp puppy teeth. At the puppy stage, this can be cute, fun and playful. As an adult dog, this is not so cute, fun and playful because it actually hurts. Despite how cute this may be at the start, it is best to teach your puppy that biting is not an acceptable behaviour so that it doesn’t become an issue with him as an adult dog.
Like human babies, puppies explore and learn from their environment with their mouths. When puppies play with each other, they often bite. If the play gets a little too rough, you’ll hear a little yelp. This helps the pup to realize that he has to be a bit more gentle, then he’s back to playing again. You can do the same when the play bites become more and more painful. Let out a small yelp, which may cause your puppy to take a step back and help him to understand how to control the intensity of his bite.
You can also use redirection to help your puppy understand that biting is not ok. When your puppy tries to mouth or bites you redirect his focus by pulling your hand away before he makes contact with your skin and provide a treat or a toy. Be sure to have an assortment of interesting chew toys to distract your puppy from chewing on you or your valuable possessions. This also helps to provide mental stimulation since he has to figure out how to get the reward.
As I mentioned in my last post, puppies learn from each other. Get your puppy involved in some playgroups to help socialize him and watch how other dogs will help your puppy to learn when a bite is too hard.
Biting and nipping are sometimes considered to be cute in puppies, but not so much in adult dogs. It’s important to teach your puppy from a young age that biting is not acceptable. If you act now to prevent aggressive behavior down the line, you will enjoy a stress-free, life-long relationship with your furry friend as she grows.
Stay tuned for our final tip in the Training Series- Discipline, not Cruelty.
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Wishing you a great day.