Even trying to teach your puppy, some tricks may be hard, so it is understandable when people get intimidated while training dogs with certain behavioral patterns. And the question often appears – How do I train my puppy not to bite people? This article will present the most effective training method to teach your puppy not to bite people as well as some useful tricks to make this process much easier.
Puppies don’t get used to using their limbs immediately, so they mostly use their mouths to explore the world surrounding them during their early stages of life. Most of the time, they use biting as a sign of playfulness and an invitation to play. During the playtime, they will most likely try to bite you, and while this is endearing while they are young, as they grow older, it becomes a bit more dangerous and sometimes even causes small injuries. This will eventually lead owners to wonder about steps they can take to avoid this kind of behavior.
To make sure your puppy is friendly and doesn’t bite anyone, you should start training him early to teach the puppy there are other things more appropriate than biting and to make the puppy understand biting is not going to result in getting attention.
Why does a puppy bite?
Puppies bite and nip around to get a sense of the world surrounding them. Besides their hearing and the sense of smell, their mouths are important for a puppy to navigate the world. Through this process, the puppy gathers all kinds of different information about objects, people, and other animals, such as taste and consistency. This is also a way to adjust the pressure the puppies apply while biting different objects. This is why when left alone in an unknown space. Puppies will often bite and nip on the furniture, rugs, shoes, and similar objects.
Puppies also use biting to reduce the pain from teething. Their baby teeth will start to grow through the gums and cause pain. To make it more bearable, puppies will bite anything in their sight during those few months. While this is perfectly normal and occurs in other species of animals and even humans, it could potentially be harmful as certain items can damage your puppy’s gums. Many chew toys are a much safer option, and that will help you protect your puppy from injuries.
They also use this to initiate playtime with their siblings or other animals. Although it often looks like fighting, it is a way of playing to adapt to how hard they should bite. This is an important part of any puppy growing up period. In addition to that, many breeds are genetically predisposed to use their mouth more often. Good examples of this are herding dogs and retrievers who often start picking things up using their mouths.
When is it reasonable to expect it not to bite anymore?
This differentiates between every dog, but basically, they should stop biting as soon as they stop teething. However, this will only happen if you start teaching your puppy that the only things appropriate for chewing chew toys.
Most puppies start teething around 3 or 4 months old and stop once all of the teeth are fully grown. The process is over. This will usually last up to 7 months at most.
How do I train my puppy not to bite people?
Puppies will usually be easy to train; therefore, this behavior can be easily corrected. To make this even easier, you can pair your puppies with an older dog because it was observed that puppies would adopt the older dog’s behavioral patterns. However, the success of the training will vary depending on the reason for biting. Your puppy will bite things around it either to relieve pain from teething or to initiate playtime. Depending on the reason, you may want to take different approaches to solve this problem.
How can I train my puppy not to bite people? As mentioned before, biting while teething is common with all dogs and stops on its own when the teeth are fully grown. There is not much you can do here besides substituting various household objects your puppy is nipping with safe alternatives. However, this can be a good time to start training your dog to prevent him from biting in the future. As the cause of the pain stops, your puppy should stop biting too.
On the other hand, if your puppy is still biting after the teething process is over, you will have a slightly more difficult task on hand. You shouldn’t try to stop the biting altogether as it is an important part of every puppy’s life. Instead, you should teach your dog what it is allowed to bite and what is off-limits.
The first steps should be focused on changing the habit of trying to get attention by biting people. The easiest way to achieve this is simply ignoring the biting until the puppy finds another way to signal that it wants attention. Most puppies will try to get your attention either by barking or sitting down and looking at you until it gets attention. If the biting gets too hard to ignore, you can always relocate to a different part of your house or maybe a place your dog can’t fully access, for example, the bed. You mustn’t pay attention to the dog until the desire to play is expressed in another way.
If this behavior occurs while playing, make a point to show your dog that the teeth don’t belong on human skin, but rather on the toys. Once the puppy starts biting, you should give him a toy, and if the puppy acts accordingly, make sure to reward it. Give the puppy verbal affirmations and treats to reinforce this behavior. You can also try to encourage noncontact types of games like fetch. If all else fails, you can try to use a taste deterrent on the parts of your body most accessible to the puppy. This can also be used on clothing and other objects. When the puppy bites, you stop and leave some time for the puppy to react to the bad taste, and, upon letting go, praise the puppy for the action.
If everyone who comes in contact with the puppy enforces these steps, you should see some improvement in a few weeks. It is important to be patient during this process to see any results.
This process will work, and in psychology, it’s known as operant conditioning. It comes down to your puppy, not repeating the behavior that doesn’t get reinforced. The reward presents an incentive for the puppy to repeat the behavior that gets affirmation or treats and avoid getting them what they wanted.
Commands to get the puppy to stop biting
Usually, while trying to teach your dog certain tricks, you make them associate certain words with the behavior expected after it. It is practically impossible to teach your dog not to bite on the command as many people don’t recommend raising your voice on puppies. While it is alright to vocalize this through simple words like “no” or “don’t bite,” it is important not to scare the dog or look in the puppy’s eyes not to provoke a confrontation. Experts rather recommend the already mentioned ignoring method. This method can also be used during playtime.
Once your puppy bites, you verbalize that what was done is wrong and distance yourself for a few minutes. At this time, you can also carry a small toy around and give it to the puppy once the time out is over. Another useful tool to achieve this is a leash. You can utilize this by letting the puppy play freely with the leash on the floor. Once the puppy bites, you tug on the leash lightly to signal that biting is not something allowed.
If biting continues into older age, it may become harder to train your dog if the breed is not susceptible to training. In this case, your best bet is to distract your dog. When the biting starts, you can offer different toys or treats made, especially for chewing. This can also help your dog socialize with other dogs that already have these behavioral patterns adopted. If all else fails, you should consider getting professional help or enrolling your dog in doggy school.