Puppies like to bite and mouth on things because that’s the way they explore the world around them. Also, just like babies they go through a teething stage, which increases their biting tendencies more than ever. Puppies are the cutest things in the world and as humans we can’t help but to instantly fall in love with them. It’s easy to be the instigator of bad puppy habits because they’re just so darn cute and we aren’t worried about what might happen or how certain displayed behaviors will have a lasting effect and become worse in the future. When it comes to biting it’s important to – for lack of a better word – nip this habit in the butt as quickly as possible. This type of training is called bite inhibition.
Bite inhibition is first learned with litter mates during play. Mouthing each other is typical play behavior, but if one puppy bites too hard, the other one will usually yelp and not want to play anymore. Or, they will give a warning signal saying “hey, you took that overboard.” As humans we can use this same method of teaching. If your puppy bites you too hard, you can give out an exclamatory “ouch!” Then, immediately cease playtime for about 30 seconds. This teaches your pup that if she bites too hard, playtime ends. This bite inhibition training filters out the hard bites that are not okay during play.
Redirecting your dog with objects that he can bite down on is another great way to keep him from biting or mouthing your hands and feet. Make sure you give your pup toys that he is allowed to bite down on. Tug of war is an excellent game to teach your dog and better yet, also allows time for you to bond with him over a fun game.
Combining the two methods I just mentioned will help teach your puppy bite inhibition, which is a critical part of living a well socialized life. When raising a puppy be sure to implement this into your day to day activities. Taking your dog to the dog park to practice this with other dogs is just as important too!