biting puppy: why and what to do?

During his first months, your puppy develops fine, sharp little teeth… which he intends to use! If biting is a normal behavior, it is however important to make him pass this bad habit from an early age. 

As an adult, it is likely to do more serious damage. Why does your puppy bite and how to correct this behavior? Our advice.

Why does your puppy bite? Is that bad?

When a puppy bites, there is usually nothing to worry about: this behavior is normal. As a child, he discovers the world, explores his environment, and understands that he can grab objects with his jaw (cushion, cable, furniture leg, shoes, etc.) and dissect them.

In other cases, biting is a way of having fun, teething, or getting your attention. If the reasons are multiple and natural, we advise you not to wait to react.

When he is small, your puppy must indeed learn to control the power of his jaw. This learning is essential, even if he is sociable and his biting does not hurt. As an adult, he may bite more seriously (in response to a stressful situation, for example) instead of just growling.

It is also important if you have children. A playful puppy tends to chew for fun. Until he is more educated, avoid letting them play together without supervision.

How to teach your puppy not to bite?

This learning must be done as soon as possible: it will be difficult to get rid of this bad habit once well anchored. Don’t forget that your puppy is still a baby: to grow well, he must have a reassuring environment with rules to follow. To put an end to this bad habit, it is advisable to:

  • Stop any interaction and ignore it

If he bites during a play session, he must be made to understand that he has done the wrong thing and that it is not a way to have fun. Immediately withdraw your hand while shouting “ouch” or “no” in a firm, deep voice. Then stop the game and ignore it for a few seconds. If he comes back and bites you again, tries again by walking away longer, or even leaving the room. In order not to encourage him to show his claws and fangs, also avoid all games similar to “fights”.

If he chews to get your attention, do the same. He must learn patience and understand that biting does not work. Pay no attention and come back to him when he has stopped. Warning: this does not exempt you (quite the contrary!) from giving him time to reassure him. To reward his patience, share some quality time together: cuddles walks, play sessions, and more.

  • Divert his attention with chew toys

It is inadvisable to scold him, or worse, to give him a smack. If your puppy bites, just telling him isn’t enough: you have to give him an alternative so he can let off steam and exercise his jaws. The solution? Give him a special puppy chew, rope, or a chewy treat like a bone.

  • Be patient!

Each animal has its history, its character, and its way of reacting. If this apprenticeship is more or less long according to the puppies, one thing is certain: it will not be absorbed after only a few days. Remain firm, patient, and consistent in your attitude: if you decide to forbid him to chew, this gesture must be definitively banned. Also, make sure that members of your household and visitors impose this ban on him.

  • Isolate it in the most serious cases

If his behavior recurs despite the previous advice, you can leave him alone for about fifteen minutes in a room. This will be perceived as a punishment by your puppy, who may realize that the limits have been exceeded.

If he continues to chew while growing up, do not hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian or a dog trainer. Repeated biting can sometimes be linked to a behavioral disorder or anxiety, especially when left alone.