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Puppies bite.  A lot.  They have weak jaws and sharp teeth for very good reasons.  So that it hurts but doesn’t do any damage.  If they were to bite mom, dad, or a brother or sister, they would yipe loudly or turn and “correct” them.  We will never be able to fully replicate that communication with our dogs and to try can may make things worse.  Stay away from the old methods of the”alpha roll” or the smack on the nose. Most painful young dog bites occur when someone holds their mouth shut after a warning nip to scold and lecture, this builds frustration and as soon as they let go… OUCH.  Negative attention is still attention and if a pup only gets negative attention for negative behavior, those are the behaviors that will be repeated.

My favorite techniques to get rid of puppy biting is to “actively ignore” the behavior.  “Actively ignoring” simply means being there to ignore the behavior.  Tie-outs work great.  Have your puppy dragging a leash around when she is supervised and when she bites you, CALMLY, pick up the leash, act really bummed out that she did that and tie the leash to a doorknob in the same room as you.  When she calms down a bit, reward your puppy with appropriate behavior like playtime with you.  Don’t give any attention at all to the behavior.  Remember, Dogs Do What Works.  You want to be an interactive owner, not a reactive one.  If biting gets you to squeal and yell, she will do it a lot.  If biting gets no attention, that behavior will go away.

Dogs all have instinctual behaviors and tools given to them by nature. Teach them to target bite toys and appropriate items. Actively teaching tug and fetch games with rules and structure will keep teeth from finding inappropriate marks through trial and error.

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