Why Your Puppy Bites & How To Stop It

Why Your Puppy Bites:

There are many theories about why puppies bite so much. Famous dog trainer Ian Dunbar's hypothesis is that the reason puppies have such sharp, needle-like teeth is so that they hurt even more! 

The reason being that puppies are learning the skill of bite inhibition. In other words, not to bite hard enough to do damage during play and social interactions. 

Their bites therefore need to hurt in order for them to learn from other dogs what is an acceptable level of pressure during play. 


How Do I Stop My Puppy Biting? 

Given that this is a developmental phase that the puppy must go through there is no way of stopping it, despite what many dog trainers will promise online. Don't stop reading though. 

There are ways to reduce puppy biting and make it much easier to get through without gaining any new scars.  Here's an easy infographic with 5 common reasons for puppy biting; 

puppy biting infographic

1) Overtiredness

Most people don't realise just how much puppies need to sleep. They should be sleeping for around 16-18 hours per day. Which can be hard to achieve in a busy household. 

If your puppy is struggling to sleep during the day then the best way to encourage this is to put them in a quiet environment where they're likely to fall asleep for a few hours. Puppy pens or crates can be fantastic for this. 


2) Over-exercise 

As puppies can be so energetic, and even hyperactive if they're especially tired people often mistake this for a puppy that needs more exercise. 

In fact when you exercise puppies for excessively long periods this will only exacerbate their tiredness and thus the biting. Puppies do not need to be walked for hours every day. Instead do short walks and include training to tire them out mentally. 


3) Frustration 

Puppies can bite when they're unhappy with the way they're being handled. This isn't necessarily 'naughtiness' but rather a sign that some training is necessary. For example this is seen a lot when putting harnesses on or trying to force the puppy into an area. 

If your puppy is biting you when you try to pull them around check out our hand touch tutorial. You can teach your puppy this in just a few minutes and then move them around easily without having to force them physically. 

4) Over-Excitement: 

Puppies haven't developed much self-control at a young age. That means when they get excited they might use their mouth to play or explore without much thought. 

If your puppy does this then you can redirect them onto a toy, stop playing with them or even put them somewhere quiet to calm down again. 

And Finally, They're Just Puppies! 

Puppies have to go through this bitey phase. It will end naturally so trust the process, use the tips above and you will get through this with hopefully as few cuts and bruises as possible. 

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