Puppy Biting: It Will Get Better

by Melissa R. on May 15, 2013

Puppies bite, but not out of spite

Puppies bite, but not out of spite

One of the most asked questions I see (and ask myself!) is about puppies BITING. Almost all puppies bite. This is the main way they know how to communicate with their littermates, so when they come to their new home with us, they don’t know any better. They think biting is OK to do. So it is our job to show them what to do INSTEAD.

We must always keep in mind puppies are not biting to be spiteful or hurt us. Sometimes it is hard to remember – especially when you have a larger breed dog with BIG SHARP puppy teeth! But it is true. Overall, the BEST thing I can tell you to do is this:

When your puppy bites you, say “OUCH!”, and get up and walk away. Do not make eye contact with your puppy and do not look their direction. Wait several minutes, and then you can go back and try to encourage them to play with an appropriate item like a toy or chew.

Hopefully, after some time, they will start to learn that “OH, when I BITE, my favorite thing in the world (YOU), goes away! That’s no good.” So they will stop biting. This will not happen overnight. In fact, you could deal with this for many months, or even years, depending on the dog. You will get impatient that this isn’t working, but it takes time. Some dogs will get better quicker than others will. Be patient and keep it up!

Do not play games with your hands that encourage a puppy to bite; this will just exacerbate the problem. Play only with toys or chews, and ANYTIME your puppy “accidentally” bites you, stop the game and walk away.

Many people claim that once a puppy gets their adult teeth in, a lot of the biting goes away. And the adult teeth are not as darn SHARP as those puppy teeth! I have read that puppies teeth are so sharp so that they DO inflict pain easier… of course this is meant to be on other dogs, but it winds up being on us instead. So the “OUCH” we say when they bite us, should be mimicking what another puppy would do if he was bitten too hard.

I promise you IT WILL GET BETTER. Just keep telling yourself that… over and over and over again. Soon enough, it will.


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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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