Positive Reinforcement Puppy Training Tips
How to Stop a Puppy from Biting and Mouthing People
Teaching your new puppy not to mouth, gnaw, or bite people is one of the fundamental behaviors in raising a polite puppy. What may seem cute, or fun now, can become a serious behavioral problem in the future. Puppies are very mouthy and do a lot of chewing and biting. As you parent your puppy, you will be teaching him what is appropriate to chew and bite on. It is never appropriate to bite or chew on people or their shoes or clothing.
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Make sure everyone follows these simple rules; dogs do not understand they can do something with one person, but not with another. I hate to be sexist, but the men in the family are typically the ones who initiate rough, mouthy behavior during play, but this is not appropriate play behavior between puppies and humans. You will be teaching your puppy it is NOT okay to place their mouth or teeth on any part of any human, including their clothing.
The Right Dog Chew Toys and Bones
- Have plenty of acceptable puppy toys around for your puppy to access. You will want these toys easily accessible, and at least 5 -10 in each of the main rooms the puppy resides in.
- Do not use household items as toys. Your puppy may end up thinking your favorite shoes are his toys.
- Have a variety of bully sticks, hollow rubber treat toys, soft rubber toys, plush toys and fleece tug ropes. Keep in mind you will be actively supervising your puppy and his toys to make sure they are appropriate and safe for him. Puppies have different play and chew styles. You do not want your puppy to break pieces off his toy and eat them. If he does, please throw them away and try a new toy or company. You do not want to take the chance that a piece may get lodged in his intestine. Surgery is much more expensive than a new toy.
Encourage Your Puppy To Chew And Play With His Toys
- If your puppy is not interested in his new chew or rubber bone, try soaking it in organic chicken or beef broth for 24 hours, or smudge a little almond butter on it to initiate some interest.
- Praise your puppy every time you notice him playing with his toys while he is still learning, to teach him that it is a good thing to chew on the right items.
- Once your puppy has successfully learned what is appropriate to chew and play with you only have to praise him occasionally when he is chewing on his toys.
What To Do If He Mouths or Bites You
- If your puppy starts to bite you, say a quick “ouch” as you remove your hand and place your hand tight against your chest.
- If you are on the floor, or were squatting down, immediately stand straight, fold your arms, turn your back and ignore your puppy. A mouthing puppy = an invisible puppy. Do not talk to him, do not tell him no, just ignore him. No attention.
- Once your puppy is calmer, you can calmly praise and interact with him again.
- If your puppy does it again, repeat the process. This is important because he is learning that if he does mouth you, you will continue to ignore him and when he is calm, you will give him attention. If it continues, call a time out. Say “Too Bad,” and walk away and do something else. He will soon learn that his behavior caused you to walk away.
- If he is really acting up and jumping and biting, walk into another room and shut the door behind you, leaving him in the other room. This sometimes really gets the message across. Wait a few seconds and return. Repeat as needed.
Puppy Tips and Reminders
- During playtime with your puppy, try to keep the play and arousal low-key. If your puppy gets too excited, it usually encourages the mouthy behavior.
- Anticipating times of the day or behavior trends when your puppy tends to get more mouthy can be helpful. If you see a pattern, you can direct your puppy on the right toy, before he grabs your hand, clothing, or shoes. Read more on puppy zoomies!
- If your puppy is not getting the appropriate amount of interactive exercise or play with you, he will be more likely to offer undesirable mouthing behaviors.
Does your puppy still have puppy breath? Tell me in the comments.
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