Why do puppies bite?
Like human babies, puppies explore their world by mouthing items they encounter. This means everything goes into their mouth, whether it’s appropriate or not – like human hands, feet, fingers and toes!
How to play with your pup without being bitten
Here are a few tried-and-tested methods to teach your pup bite inhibition – the ability to use their teeth without causing distress to others.
Toys, toys and more toys
It’s fine to play energetically with your dog and for your puppy to use their teeth, but this type of play should be directed on to appropriate play objects. It’s best to play with your puppy in a manner that’s less likely to hurt, right from the beginning. Have a variety of strong and sturdy toys on hand, when you start a play session. When your pup goes to use their teeth, push a toy into their mouth.
Another effective method can be to react as another dog might and let out a high-pitched yelp “Yeowwww!” when your pup uses their teeth. You can do this even when the bite doesn’t hurt and your pup has merely made contact with your skin. This squeal makes the pup back off for a few seconds, allowing you to withdraw your input in the game. It’s important you don’t react further to your pup and that the game ends, at least for a short time. When you resume, have toys handy to place in your pup’s mouth.
Teaching your pup a command like “leave it” can be useful and prevents them mouthing or eating items that are inappropriate. It often helps to do this away from the heat of the game; however, once your pup has mastered the command, you can use this during a play session. Reward your pup when they obey.
Punishing your dog will give them attention and may be more likely to encourage the very behaviour you do not wish to happen. It’s also likely to reduce the bind between yourself and your dog. Dogs that are punished, both physically and verbally, are more likely to retaliate with aggression.
When your pup plays well with you, remember to praise them. This will ensure they’re encouraged to play in a manner where everyone has fun
Adopt a puppy at 7 weeks so he has had the opportunity to practice normal, social play with littermates and mom..