Summary: “My puppy won’t stop biting me – I’ve tried everything!” – Fear not, puppy parent. In this blog, we learn all about why puppies bite and mouth and how to help redirect this innate behavior. We’ll learn when mouthing starts and when their need to bite should wear off, as well as how to help stop it.
Why Does My Puppy Bite Me?
It’s important to remember that puppies are babies – they have a lot to learn in this big wide world and need our utmost patience and understanding as pet parents whilst they learn how to be a dog.
Puppies learn and investigate primarily with their mouths so nibbling, biting, and mouthing are all part and parcel of a baby dog’s essential development stage. However, this does mean that a lot of their interaction with you may involve mouth play and biting. They will have done this with their mother and with their siblings before they came to you and this is very normal.
Also, try and be sympathetic towards your poor teething pup. Just like it is for human children, puppy teething can be a really uncomfortable experience and puppies chew to relieve themselves from the discomfort…
What Age Do Puppies Stop Biting?
Puppies bite and mouth from day dot, and it’s because they want to play and haven’t learned how to do that in the way we like yet. Some breeds are more energetic than others, and this can be reflected in the intensity of their bite. However, biting and mouthing usually ends between 12 – 20 weeks of age by itself.
So, try not to get frustrated. The frequency they will want to bite and mouth with you will be short-lived and is part of the package of being a pup owner, so try and extend your patience during this period. Telling a puppy off for biting and mouthing is useless and cruel – remember, they’re babies! They simply need to have the behavior redirected if the biting is painful or relentless…
How To Stop My Puppy From Biting
Make sure you have a variety of chew toys; you can source chew toys that are suitable for teething puppies from your local pet store. Make sure you have a variety so they can’t get bored of one particular toy. When they begin to mouth or bite your hands or feet, present them with a toy to do it to instead and praise them when they do.
Don’t provide temptation; nightgown ties, shoelaces, and general loose clothing can be incredibly tempting for some pups! Try and resist the need to wear items like this until your pup is past their mouthing phase.
Prioritize routine and rest; although it’s important a pup isn’t over-exercised whilst their bones develop, it’s important they are mentally and physically stimulated appropriately and this can help reduce unwanted behavior like mouthing. Boredom can certainly trigger biting too, as can hunger. Puppies need to eat several small meals a day rather than one or two big ones so they may be biting more when they get hungry. Puppies also need lots of sleep whilst they grow and develop and often they need more rest than they think they do! An over-tired puppy will also mouth so incorporate quiet time into their routine (usually they tire more easily after a meal) and encourage them to spend some time snoozing in their crate or in another quiet area.
Try the leash trick; if you have a very persistent, eager biter and are doing all of the above tricks already, you may need to attach a very lightweight leash to your pup and gently lead them to somewhere quiet and enclosed when they begin to bite. Leave them there for 30 seconds (no longer, or they won’t associate why they’re being shut away) and then let them out once they’re calm. Repeat this if your puppy bites again.
PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If your pup has a crate, do not use this as their time-out zone. Their crate is their room, and their safe space and should not be associated with punishment ever.
What To Not Do When Puppy Bites
Avoid squealing at your pup when they bite; high-pitched noises can encourage the behavior as they may think you’re having fun!
Try not to fall for the cuteness; When your pup is very small, you may think their mouthing is quite cute! But, this will just make them think it’s OK, causing you a problem when they’re older and their jaws are stronger, and teeth larger! Redirect the behavior from the day they come home.
Resist the urge to shout or punish your pup; this will simply make your dog scared of you. They don’t understand punishment in the same way we do. Focus on redirecting the behavior instead.
“Puppy Biting And Mouthing” Blue Cross, Aug. 06 2021 https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/puppy-biting-and-mouthing