Is your piranha-toothed pup nipping at you often and it becomes irritating?
Although his behavior is unpleasant, it is useful to know that a puppy who is mouthing is completely normal behavior!
Unfortunately, there may also be another problem attached to it.
To properly socialize your puppy, it is important to know how to react well so as not to aggravate the problem and so that the biting can finally stop.
Why Is My Puppy Biting?
Several causes can be at the origin of this problem.
Here are the most common reasons for puppy biting :
- To relieve the emergence of baby teeth
- To explore
- Did not learn biting inhibition
- Don’t like manipulation
- Lack of stimulation
- Don’t distinguish between your hands and his toys
- Seeks your attention
- Too excited (overstimulation)
All puppies need to chew. They want to relieve the discomfort associated with the emergence of their baby teeth. In addition, they explore the world around them by tasting and chewing on everything they see, including your carpet, your shoes, or your arm!
Therefore, your puppy may want to communicate with you. For example, a puppy tugging at your clothes is seeking your attention and indicating that he wants to play with you.
Also, puppies that get removed from the litter or those that haven’t had a chance to play with other puppies before 6 weeks of age may bite too hard. This stems from the fact that they have not had time to experiment with the strength of their jaw by playing with their congeners (known as biting inhibition)
No puppy should be separated from their mother before they are 7 weeks old for proper development.
Correcting any behavioral problem in a dog requires understanding where the problem is coming from and when it occurs.
Does he bite you during a walk or a game? Is he chewing on furniture or any other object? Does he bite you when handling?
The procedure for changing your puppy’s behavior is different for each situation.
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting?
First, when playing with a puppy, it is important to keep control of the situation, because it can quickly escalate. This is why we must set our limits.
To prevent a puppy from nipping during play, stop the activity and immediately ignore him. To reward the good behavior, resume play or give him a treat as soon as he becomes calm.
Most behavioral problems are due to a lack of stimulation. So, to avoid biting, make sure he has received enough physical and mental exercise throughout the day.
In addition, never use your hands as a game. This way, he will be able to distinguish between his toys and your hands.
Why Scolding Your Dog is Not the Right Option
Using a harsh tone or getting angry at your dog doesn’t do any good.
Scolding your dog affects the bond with the owner and creates unnecessary stress which can put him in a state of distress.
Some believe that if he stops biting and has a shameful face, it means the puppy must feel guilty.
No studies prove that dogs can experience guilt. Also, when a dog looks guilty, it’s actually because he’s scared and stressed.
For example, a dog that looks guilty after urinating in the house has probably done so before and probably felt a strong reaction from its owner.
Thus, he is not being shown the desired behavior by punishing him, because he needs to be motivated to be taught to behave well.
Using force by holding the puppy down puts the dog in a state of helplessness. If this technique is used repeatedly, it can lead to depression, anxiety, or aggressive behavior.
Some people think that you have to dominate your dog. On the other hand, the dominance theory between man and dog does not exist. Moreover, it has been demystified for several years by the same person who conceived it. Thus, several studies show that punishment is ineffective and impede learning.
If you want to know more, read this article written by Someone Raffa, founder of De Main De Maître.
How Do I Prevent My Puppy From Chewing During a Walk?
A puppy biting on a walk is a sign that he’s overstimulated and it’s time for him to relax.
To prevent your puppy from nipping, jumping on you, barking, or growling on a walk, go home and give him a bone in his bed.
Provide him with a quiet space where he can feel safe and won’t be disturbed when he chews on his bone, such as his crate, bed, or bedroom.
How Do I Prevent My Puppy From Chewing on Objects and Furniture?
A puppy chewing on an object or a piece of furniture is not a sign of revenge or rebellion. It is simply because he wants to chew since it is an essential need in dogs, especially puppies.
To prevent a puppy from chewing on a piece of furniture or an object, redirect his attention to a toy such as stuffed animals, wood, rope, or chew bones. For a dog chewing on a chair leg, for example, get his attention by saying his name. As soon as he stops chewing the chair, say «leave it» and give him a chewing treat or toy. If he returns to chew on the chair leg, the exercise must be repeated. By doing this every time, the dog will understand what he can and cannot chew.
It’s important to redirect his attention as soon as you see him chewing on what he shouldn’t. The longer we let him chew something he shouldn’t, the more he will be conditioned to reproduce the same behavior.
Since puppies want to experiment with textures, make sure to have several toys made of different materials.
How to Choose the Right Chew Bone for Your Puppy?
Although your hands taste better than a rubber toy, it is possible to ease his cravings by giving him several equally enticing options.
Here is a list of the best chew bones for puppies :
- Raw Poultry Bones
- Bully Stick
- Duck Neck
- The Achilles heel of beef
- Salmon Tail
- Plant-based Sticks (Dental Sticks)
- Fish Skin Stick
- Duck Leg
Be careful of bones that are very hard to chew, such as antlers, ox hooves, and yak cheese, since their teeth aren’t hard enough yet.
Also, you can use an interactive ball, like a Kong Puppy toy, in which you can put treats and kibble, without exceeding his calorie limit per day.
If you find that your puppy devours his Kong too quickly, you can soften his kibbles in water, put them in a Kong, and put it in the freezer for about 4 hours or more. This method allows your puppy to cool off on hot days while relieving teething and the desire to chew.
Also, you might be interested in our article: “Dog Bones & Chews: The best and the Worst“.
Why Does My Puppy Bite During Handling?
The puppy that bites during handling wants to tell that he is uncomfortable being handled. Some dogs are more sensitive to handling than others. This is why it is crucial to stop touching your dog when he shows signs of discomfort. This way, you avoid putting him in a state of distress.
Here are the signs of discomfort to look for when handling :
- Sudden immobility (the first signal)
- Body stiffening
- Looks away
- Licks his nose
After giving you all these signals, the last step is to nip or bite, since he no longer knows how to tell you that he does not want to be touched.
By not respecting his limits, he will bite you harder and harder, which conditions him to adopt aggressive behavior. This can have serious consequences on his development.
It is advisable to call a dog trainer or a behaviorist who will be able to guide you in properly desensitizing your puppy to touch.
How Do You Control Bitting Cravings In a Puppy?
A routine is essential to controlling your dog’s chewing habits. Establish a schedule where he can chew at the same time each day.
Give him a space where he can be calm when it’s time to chew. Thus, he can make the right association with his bones and chewing toys. It is also a great way for him to exercise physically and mentally.
In addition, his cage is the best place to avoid someone disturbing him while he chews. A room where he feels safe or his bed is also a good option.
Never Give Up!
It is never pleasant to have your arms and legs bitten. However, this is only a phase!
The good news is that your pup will stop giving you trouble with the right management, the right reactions, and a steady schedule.
Take the opportunity to see him grow and have fun. Have a good training!
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