How to stop puppy mouthing!

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Puppy Mouthing and Chewing

How to Train Puppies : Train Your Puppy Not to Bite

Biting and mouthing are normal behaviors for puppies. Dogs don’t have hands so they investigate objects and their environment with their mouths. To a curious puppy, everything about this big world is brand new and exciting. He learns as he goes along.

You can almost hear his thought processes as he discovers something he’s never seen before:

  • “Hmmm…what’s this? [chomping on it]
  • Something to eat? No? [tossing it around]
  • Can I play with it? Maybe.
  • Can I make it squeak?”

Puppies start learning bite inhibition from their siblings. The puppies all play together roughly, mouthing at each other. If one of the litter mates get hurt, they generally yelp loudly with a high pitch and the game stops, as the victim will stop playing and the other one is taken aback. After a few minutes the game is restarted and both puppies start playing again.

This happens on loop, so if a puppy gets bitten too hard again, he will yelp, the game will stop for a few minutes and then it is restarted again. This teaches the offending puppy that he can hurt other puppies and he will use this to modify his behaviour.

When you take a puppy from the litter and into your home, the puppy will try to play bite and mouth you like he did his brothers and sisters and we need to continue the modification they used. YELP!!

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When puppies are playing with their littermates or Mom’s tail or nipples, puppies quickly learn that hard bites lose playmates and possibly even dinner. 

Once we have our new puppy in our home, we need to continue teaching this technique. This is so that he knows that he can hurt humans as well. We can do this by teaching him that whenever he comes near our skin it hurts, as you do not want your dog growing up and biting people.

Puppies can nip and play bite when they are excited, playing or trying to get your attention. It is important to stop this behaviour to mimic the puppies in the litter.

Polar-Pup-Attack

So whenever your puppy’s teeth come near your skin, let out a high-pitched yelp, as the puppies would do. If you cannot yelp, you can use Ouch. Then stop all play and interaction for 20 seconds. Then you can continue as you were. If you feel his teeth again, yelp, ignore, resume. Continue this cycle, and ask others too, whenever they feel his teeth.

Remember, biting will not stop straight away but your puppy’s bite should become softer over 3-4 weeks. He should then realise that he cannot put any pressure on you. You can then start teaching him that he cannot initiate biting at all, by continuing the above cycle even when he just puts his mouth on you.

Even when pup’s mouthing doesn’t hurt, you should still pretend that it does with a yelp of pseudo-pain. The puppy will begin to get the idea, thinking, “Whooahh! These humans are sooo super-sensitive. I’ll have to be much more gentle.” The force of the puppy’s biting will progressively decrease until biting becomes mouthing and eventually, mouthing succumbs to licking or just plain slobbering.

Play Rules and Consistency

When you have a puppy in their mouthing stage..

DO NOT PLAY ROUGHLY

This can encourage your puppy to bite and give him the wrong idea, by giving him permission to bite. You should encourage other forms of play that don’t involve your puppy nipping at your fingers, hands, ankles, and toes.

Examples can be playing fetch with a ball or a game of tug of war with a rope toy (not your clothes). But if your puppy gets close to your hands, you must yelp and stop the play.

You never want to play rough wrestle games, chase games or let puppies bite and pull on your clothing, hair etc and not until you trust your dog understands the concept of bite inhibition. 

images (1) Don’t invite them to play by sticking your fingers in your puppies mouth. Cute now.. but not so cute when they’re teeth are MUCH bigger.

All children and adults who come into contact with your puppy should also be taught these very important play rules before you introduce them to your puppy and you can also teach them how to “yelp” if your puppy tries to use his mouth on them or their clothing.. consistency is important. L

Everyone who plays with your puppy should be on the same page. Your puppy will eventually figure out that it’s not just you who is “overly sensitive”. It’s ALL these big and little humans.

 

before-bringing-puppy-home_450x319Provide lots of toys and bones for your puppy to stop them getting bored… a bored puppy will want attention from you and will probably bite you to get it not to mention your shoes and anything else they can get their little teeth into.

Toys, Toys and more toys! Don’t bring them out all at once hide some away and swap different toys out every few days so they stay interested.

To inform the puppy that biting hurts, it is not necessary to hurt, frighten, punish or even reprimand the pup; a simple high pitch “ouch” is sufficient and you can also try giving them an appropriate toy or bone that they CAN chew on.. sending them the message that chewing on you is NO fun but chewing on this toy or bone is GREAT FUN!!

Puppies should be taught not to bite by the time they reach 18 weeks and start to lose their puppy teeth. If a puppy is still biting at this age, you may need to seek more help.

Puppy Teething Alternatives to your skin and your shoes…

Bones & Chews Slim Beef Gullet Stick 5-6″ Dog Treats, case of 25

Bones & Chews Slim Beef Gullet Stick 5-6" Dog Treats, case of 25

Bones & Chews Slim Beef Gullet Stick 5-6" Dog Treats, case of 25

Also another great article is TEACHING BITE INHIBITION – Relief from puppy mouthing by Melissa Alexander




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