Puppy Training Guide – Saying Bye-Bye to Biting
Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or it’s been a minute since you’ve raised a puppy, a rundown on puppy training and care can always be helpful. With their baby dog eyes and incredibly small bodies, puppies are the definition of cuteness. But the tradeoff for their insanely adorable faces is their destructive and sometimes annoying behaviors. And nothing takes the puppy-love glasses off like constant chewing and biting. Whether they’ve chosen your furniture, shoes or you as their favorite chew toy, puppies tend to bite literally anything and everything. The good news is that training them and dealing with the issue is a lot easier than other puppy training tasks.
Why With All the Biting?
After so much nibbling and gnawing from your new puppy, surely you’ve asked in your best Seinfeld voice, “What’s the deal with all the biting?” Puppies experience a level of teething as their teeth grow just like babies, but they also bite as a natural habit when playing. If you’ve ever seen puppies play, between your aww and heartwarming emotions, you’ll notice they tend to playfully bite one another. Your puppy is doing the same thing with you. They want to play, and they’ll bite you because that’s what they instinctively know to do. But just like Peter Parker after getting spider powers, they don’t know their own strength, which is why they sometimes bite a little too hard.
The way they know to stop is really based on reaction. Usually when playing with another dog, a dog will loudly yelp if they’re being bitten too hard. In order to get your dog to stop biting you, you can do the same thing. However, as funny as it would be, you don’t have to imitate a dog’s yelp. Instead you can react by responding to the pain and warning them that they are biting too hard. Stern words of warning and loud, high-pitched “OWs” simulate the same yelp and notify them. When they stop biting and calm down, reward them with a treat to reinforce the good behavior.
This obviously isn’t the only way to teach them to stop biting. You can only say “Ow” so many times before it becomes a moot point. Another way to teach a dog to stop biting is to stop engaging with them when they bite. This probably seems like the hardest thing to do, but if your puppy bites you during playtime, stop playing. This teaches them that when they bite, that means game over (Insert gif of Bill Paxton from Aliens yelling game over). You can take it a step further by turning around and tucking your hands into your armpits after being bitten. This is a calming signal and notifies the puppy that playtime is over. Soon they’ll realize biting leads to the end of play, and they’ll avoid the action. Like we said, it’ll be hard to deny your puppy attention, but it’s like Teagan and Sara sang in Faint of Heart: When it's love, it’s tough.
Not the Furniture! Or the Shoes!
You’ve got your good girl or boy to stop biting you, but how do you get them to stop biting on your stuff. From your favorite pair of shoes to the hand-me down couch you’ve had since college, everything and anything you own can become a target for your new puppy to tear up. The answer to this is the same answer to most dog problems you’ll inevitably face – toys and treats. A good treat like ear chews, bully stix or safe-to-eat bones will get their attention off your stuff and can provide nutritional health benefits such as improving bad breath. Like our food, the treats and chews of "I and love and you" are made with real meat, have no grains or fillers and are without artificial ingredients. Every pet is different so be sure to personalize the training, the chews and the toys to your dog’s preferences and personality. If you stick with this training, your dog will soon be biting just their toys and chews in no time.