Bringing home a new puppy means lots of playtime, petting, and walks around the block. But with most new dogs, it also means biting. If you’ve ever adopted a puppy, you’ve probably noticed their eagerness to nip at everything around them. It begs the question…is there a way to stop puppies from biting?
Regardless of how “normal” puppy biting is, there are a couple of tricks pet owners can use to nip biting in the bud. In this guide, you’ll learn more about bite inhibition training and bite replacement options, such as puppy chews. Here’s what you need to know about stopping puppies from biting:
According to VCA Hospitals, puppies bite for two reasons: to alleviate teething pain and to explore the world around them. Just like human babies try putting everything in their mouth, puppies do the same — except puppies, unlike babies, have 28 razor-sharp teeth within their first weeks of life. This can make for a lot of pain at playtime.
In order to stop your puppy from biting during play, trainers suggest practicing bite inhibition. The basic idea of bite inhibition is to let your puppy know their bites hurt by yelping when they bite too hard. Bite inhibition teaches your dog that mouthing is okay, but that biting will cause play to stop.
This concept comes from the way puppies play with their littermates. Puppies often don’t realize the force of their bite until they bite too hard and their puppy sibling yelps in pain. The yelp startles the puppy, causing them to stop playing for a few seconds. This early socialization is key to bite inhibition, but it isn’t an option once you take your puppy home (unless you adopt multiple dogs at a time). Older dogs can also help model proper behavior for your puppy, but you’ll have to wait until your puppy is all caught up on vaccinations before you let them play with dogs. So what can you do in the meantime?