I always tell people that have puppies that YOU WILL experience puppy biting. The only question is HOW MUCH biting you’ll have to endure. If you approach this training the right way you can typically find that this annoyance can go away fairly quickly.
Debunking a Biting Myth
Let me first start out by debunking one of the most popular methods that I see being taught today by other dog trainers. The method is simple. The puppy starts biting you and you are to immediately say ‘Ow!’ in a loud and hurt voice and stop your play with the puppy.
If you want to get rid of puppy biting DO NOT do this method. It almost never works.
The psychology being taught behind this method is that when the puppy realizes that he’s hurt you that:
- He’ll feel bad and realize he has to be more gently next time and
- He’ll understand that when he bites you that his play time is over.
This concept could not be more wrong.
I love puppies. I think they are cute and great. What I don’t think they possess a lot of, though, is a moral compass. If your puppy realizes that he hurt you it’s likely that he doesn’t care. Not only that, it’s more likely that he realizes that he now has bigger power over you. He doesn’t like what you’re doing? No problem, he’s got a built in method for getting rid of you. All he has to do is bite you. He wants the toy instead of allowing you to have it? No worry, just give a bite and that owner is too weak to defend herself.
For those that think, “Well, the puppy will realize that he doesn’t get to have any fun if he bites you. Then he’ll stop.” Let me ask you, have you ever got up and walked away from a puppy that was biting your hands? What do you have at that point? You no longer have a puppy that is biting your hands, you have a puppy that is biting the back of your pant leg, jumping up to bite your clothes, and doing whatever else possible to nip you.
The bottom line is that this method is wholly ineffective for nearly every puppy out there. What you need is a stabilized approach that uses proper correction and proper motivation.
Stop Puppy Biting
In order to teach a dog that nipping is wrong, you need a correction that is three things:
- Well timed.
As your puppy is biting you the correction occurs.
Turning your back on a puppy isn’t meaningful. Try a spray bottle when puppy is nipping. Use a leash correction. Experiment with what works best for your pup.
- Followed by praise.
You need to communicate to your puppy that attention and affection occur when nipping and biting aren’t happening. After the correction gets your pup to stop then you need to immediately praise.
In following this program you’ll find that most people can shave months off their puppy nipping problems.
Image Credit: Kyknoord