Basic Training

How to Deal With Play Nipping and Biting in Puppies and Adolescents

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Most dog owners don’t know how to deal with play nipping and biting and chewing, especially in puppies and adolescent dogs. Nipping and biting is natural during a dog’s growth, and we should not try to stop it. Instead, we can find alternatives in handling it. Below is an article from Love my Dog Training about how to deal with play nipping and biting.

If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know how sharp those confounded baby teeth are. Nipping and biting usually gets worse as the pup is losing its baby teeth, and then fortunately the problem usually goes away as the dog matures.

How to Deal With Play Nipping and Biting

If you’ve ever observed litter mates playing, you know they nip and bite when tussling, and quickly learn from one another how much is “too much” because if they bite too hard they soon will have no playmates. A lot of the problems for new puppy owners comes about because the pup was taken away from the litter before it completely learned what was acceptable.

The key to dealing with nipping and biting is to teach the pup what is not appropriate to bite, while at the same time redirecting its behavior. Just trying to stop the behavior altogether usually doesn’t work, especially with the “herding breeds” who used nipping to help control the flock. These include most of the Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Welsh Corgi, and several others.

When your fur ball does this, it is just acting naturally. He is either playing or simply looking for attention. So if all you do is yell “Ouch” or push him away or get mad, he may very well think you’re sending “play signals”.

Stay calm and direct him toward an alternative such as a chew toy. What has worked well for us in the past has been to tap his nose and say “No”. At the same time we physically take him to a chew toy, or give him one if it’s right there, then praising him when he does chew on it. And maybe one out of every 4 or 5 times, we’ll start a game of “tug” with him and the toy. We don’t do that every time, or he would expect it.

All this is important, because you don’t want your dog thinking it is okay to nip and bite. Remember this quote from Pets.TheNest.com:

Bite inhibition training starts with you, as an owner, first. Your puppy will then understand not to bite hard when playing with other people or pets.

Another thing you can do is find a playmate about the same age, or get 2 pups from the same litter, and eventually the play nipping and biting will run its course. In the latter case unless you want 2 dogs, you may want to arrange beforehand with someone else to take the 2nd pup.

As mentioned above, nipping is a natural process and should not be disturbed. We should just let them be, but keep them under control in a way that they do not hurt others and still have fun and be at ease during their growth stages. We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to deal with canine nipping and mouthing.

Are there any other tricks or techniques that have worked for you? Please share with our other readers below.

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