If shortly after bringing your new puppy home it feels like there’s no safe place to hide your hands and feet from sharp puppy teeth you are not alone.
Yes, puppies are attracted to feet because they are at their level and feet move so they have to be caught. 🙂
I hope this will help you teach your puppy how to be gentle with his teeth and stop the biting.
Here are some stuff you’ll need to pick up from the store to make the process go a little smoother:
- At least two puppy kongs
- Peanut butter or if there are allergies try honey
- A toy on a string such as a rope toy, or squeaky toy tied to a long rope. (This is a special training toy so don’t leave it out) only use it when it is time to train.
Before we can teach our puppies not to bite we need to teach them that human skin is very fragile. This works towards teaching bite inhibition.
Why shouldn’t we just skip to training our puppy not to bite?
Well, as tempting as that is bite inhibition is very important for puppies to learn.
At some point in your dog’s life time he may feel uncomfortable or painful. Bite inhibition has to be taught so that in cases such as a vet examination when a dog may feel the need to bite they understand how hard they can bite without actually hurting somebody. This could be the difference between a vet tech receiving stitches or just a wet arm.
Training Step 1
Teaching your puppy to be gentle.
1.Grab your supplies for this you’re going to need to have either peanut butter or honey.
2.Put a little bit of honey or peanut butter on the back of your hand.
3. Then sit on your puppies level which could be on the ground or if you allow your puppy on the couch on the couch.
4. Show your puppy the tasty treat on the back of your hand. As your puppy starts to lick the back of your hand repeat gentle over and over as your puppy licks.
If at any point in time you feel your puppy’s teeth.
Say “YIKE” as high pitched as you can.
“Yike” is not a cue word, because it doesn’t tell your puppy what to do. “Yike” is also not a replacement for the word no.
We are using “Yike” simply to distract your puppy for a millisecond. Once your puppy moves away from your hand with his mouth stand up and wash your hands.
This ends the session.
Doing this will teach your puppy that if he’s rough he misses out on a reward.
Do this 1-2 times a day.
When puppies are together with their littermates they learn the same way. When puppies are playing and one gets too rough the puppy getting bitten will yelp. Then no longer want to play with the rough sibling…. at least for a few minutes.
Training Step 2
Stopping biting in the act when biting feet or kids.
If you drop a treat can you have your puppy “leave it” on request?
Teaching leave it is really easy and will go a long way in curbing puppy biting.
The next time your puppy gets nippy when your walking try this:
1. Freeze and stop walking. Movement excites puppies and can be very rewarding so if you continue walking while your puppy attacks your feet you ARE rewarding the behavior.
2. Stay frozen and say “Leave it” and the second your puppy complies reward your puppy by allowing him to chase his toy on a string… a much more appropriate outlet for chase. Then ask for a sit and continue this play session for at least five minutes.
3. Then after a fun session of chase the actual toy provide your puppy with a stuffed and frozen kong. This will help bring your puppy back down to a calmer state of mind.
Training Step 3
Stopping biting during down time.
The next time you’re relaxing trying to watching television and your puppy tries to chew on you try this exercise:
1. Freeze with your arms crossed and no excessive movement. The more you move the more you are rewarding the puppy for nipping.
2. Say “leave it” in a calm clear tone. The second your puppy complies reward your puppy with a fun chase session with his toy on a string. After a good 1-2 minute chase session encourage your puppy to chew on stuffed and frozen kong toy.
When you know you plan on relaxing try to be proactive and exercise your puppy before sitting down to relax. Provide your puppy with a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and frozen or a puppy safe chew toy.
Training Step 3
Teach your puppy that biting loose friends.
Set up a training station somewhere like the living room floor.
Use a a tether attached to the leg of a coffee table. Put a dog bed and a kong within reach of your puppy and sit close. You can watch TV or play on your phone while you do this.
When your puppy starts nipping say “Yike” as high as you can and go sit on the couch. 5-10 minutes later comeback and repeat.
Still having trouble? You might have a management problem.
Here are some rules to follow that will make training your puppy not to bite go even more smoothly:
1. Don’t allow anyone in the home to use their hands as a toy for the puppy to chase or bite. Consistency is very important so your puppy has a clear understanding of what’s allowed.
2. Exercise your dog before you plan on sitting down to relax.
3. Keep a leash on the puppy if the puppy is nipping small kids so you can easily cut in if needed. Teach the kids to freeze or be a tree if the puppy jumps or nips. You can also play red light green light.
If your still having trouble try consulting with a professional trainer in your area.