Stop a Puppy From Grabbing Your Arm or Hand for Attention (Early access for our Patreon community)

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Stop Puppy Biting Hands

Puppy training tips
Stop Puppy Biting and Grabbing

Today, I’m going to address a common behavior in puppies – puppy mouthing and biting. I received a question from a concerned dog parent whose almost one-year-old Golden Retriever often play-bites for attention. They’re looking for tips on how to stop this behavior. Let’s dive.

Understanding the Puppy Adolescent Phase

It’s essential to recognize that a one-year-old dog, like a Golden, is transitioning into adolescence. Much like human teenagers, adolescent dogs can become a bit more mouthy, bitey, and full of energy. This phase typically lasts from about six months to two years of age. So, when your dog starts asking for attention through mouthing and biting, it might be a sign that they need more engagement.

Increase Playtime and Bonding

One way to address this behavior is by increasing the amount of play, exercise, and bonding time you share with your dog. Dogs often resort to undesirable behaviors when they feel they aren’t getting enough attention or mental stimulation. Engaging in games, tricks, or even short play sessions can help redirect their energy and reduce the need for inappropriate attention-seeking behaviors.

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Provide Appropriate Chew Toys

Golden Retrievers are known for their retrieving instincts. These dogs often enjoy carrying things in their mouths. To encourage them to channel this behavior positively, offer a variety of toys and teach them to have a toy or ball in their mouth.

Reward Appropriate Behavior

Whenever your dog has an appropriate item, like a toy, in their mouth, shower them with praise. Reinforce the idea that having a toy in their mouth is a good thing. You can also carry treats in your pocket to reward them when they exhibit this behavior. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in training your dog.

Dealing with Inappropriate Biting

Sometimes, your dog might grab onto something they shouldn’t, like your shirt. In such cases, it’s essential to teach them a “drop” behavior. You can wait for them to release the item or gently offer a treat near their nose until they let go. Once they’ve dropped the item, reward them with praise or a treat. However, avoid turning this into a game. You want your dog to understand that letting go of inappropriate objects leads to rewards, while inappropriate behavior results in no attention.

Managing Excess Energy

It’s worth noting that excessive jumping, body slamming, and biting, excluding playful “zoomies,” can be signs of pent-up energy. Ensure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent these behaviors from emerging.

Puppy mouthing and biting involve a combination of increased playtime, providing appropriate toys, rewarding good behavior, and teaching a “drop it” cue. Remember that patience and consistency are key when training your pup.


Your questions or comments are welcome below.

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Stop a Puppy From Grabbing Your Arm or Hand for Attention (Early access for our Patreon community)