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Puppy Biting Training - Keeping Needle Teeth Away From Humans!

Updated: Mar 24

We've all been there, having a great time with our adorable new puppy - playing, stroking, loving - then out of nowhere our puppy turns into a land shark, desperately trying to grab and bite anything in sight, toy or human! Next thing you know, it's now a case of run for the sofa as quickly as possible to get out of reach of the needle teeth!

So the BIG question, how on earth do we stop it?! Well, the answer may surprise you!

Seven collie puppies in a row

Why Do They Bite?

In order to know how to prevent the biting, we need to know why it's happening. Typically, puppies will start biting for one (or more) of 3 main reasons:

  • They are over tired and need some sleep.

  • They are over stimulated, typically from play, but not restricted to this.

  • They are being over handled.

Over Tired

Our puppies should be aiming to sleep or rest for around 18-19 hours a day. Most puppies don't get this, and this is where we get over tired, bitey puppies.

Our puppy has spent a whole day playing, training, exploring, and learning about us and the world. Every second our puppy is awake, they are learning, and that's exhausting work! We often forget that they need time and rest to process all of this information.

We can help our puppies relax easier by doing some simple steps:

  • Have a safe space/bed away from activity that they can go to without being disturbed.

  • Make sure it's a comfy bed that your puppy enjoys using!

  • Give them calming activities (sniff or lick) to do before they go to sleep.

  • Train them to use a crate so they can be popped away in a safe space when you see they are tired. A cover over the crate or closing blinds really helps with settling.

  • Ensure our puppies have had all their needs met before asking for sleep, e.g. toilet break, fed, water, etc.

Sleepy puppy in dog bed

Over Stimulated

You've got a new puppy. You want to do everything with it, but slowing down will make a huge difference to your puppies' stimulation levels. Puppies haven't quite mastered how to keep on top of their emotions and can really struggle to calm down once their excitement or stress levels have increased - after all, they've only been on the planet for 8,9,10 weeks!

  • Keep play sessions short and calm. No more than about 5-10 mins max. Play should be gentle and at the puppies pace, so no more getting over excited with tug play - 5 seconds of play, then a break! Ensure that the games involve choice so your puppy doesn't get frustrated - there's nothing worse than never winning that tug toy or ball!

  • Keep walks gentle! Consider gentle sniffy walks instead and allow your pup to set the pace. You can start to introduce a little bit of training, but keep it to 10 mins max at a time. Don't be tempted to overwhelm your puppy with "socialisation."

  • Offer long lasting, natural chews to help your puppy decompress! Lamb's ears, Ostrich Tendons, pizzle sticks, beef tails are all suitable options!

  • Your puppy has the ability to focus for 10 mins max at a time. Keep training sessions short. Don't ask or expect too much from them and focus on rewarding them for getting it right to reduce frustration.

Over Handling

Arguably the most important out of all 3 - consent! Our puppies are cute, no, they are adorable! We fell in love the moment we saw them! It makes sense that we would want to surround them with love, cuddles, and fuss! However, let's stop and consider if this is what they want?

It's very unnatural for a puppy to be touched/stroked in the way we handle our pups. They are used to jumping on siblings, biting ears, and grabbing tails, not flat palm over their face and down their bodies. Most puppies find this quite scary and will show this through their body language.

However, if this doesn't work, the best way to handle this intrusion? A bite to the hand! It works! We immediately recall our hand away in horror. So next time, our puppy is more and more likely to bite to say no.

How do we prevent this? With the 3 second rule! A test for consent!

  • Run your hand over your dogs back up to 3 times.

  • Remove your hand.

  • What does your dog do? Do they move away, nothing or paw for more?

  • Unless they snuggle in or paw for more, it's unlikely they want any further touching at that moment.

Chances are, your puppy wants to be close to you and comforted by your presence, but not handled in that moment. Try again later. The more you ask for consent, the more likely your puppy will opt for a different behaviour to biting!

If you need help with your puppy training, get in contact today!


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