Dogs have always been regarded as man’s best friends, but while they are young and undergoing the teething process; if not well understood they may be every man’s nightmare. Teething generally results in a puppy feeling the urge to chew on objects. This behavior is called mouthing or nipping. At first, it can fun, but because puppy’s teeth are sharp and they don’t really know how hard they bite; it may be very dangerous. It is therefore essential to stop puppy biting while the dog is still young. This can be achieved by doing simple exercises with the puppy.
Naturally, when puppies play, they bite each other as they prefer using their mouth to their paws. When this happens, the puppy in pain yelps and this, in turn, signals the other puppy to release. This inborn perception by dogs can be used as a training tool to stop the puppy from biting.
Each time the puppy bites your finger, be sure to imitate the yelping sound. Take great care not to pull away from the bite. This may cause the puppy to think that this is part of play and can trigger its chase instinct, making the situation worse. You can substitute the yelp with a loud “Ow” or you can also verbalise your disapproval.
When the puppy lets go, leave play for about a few seconds and then resume play. If the biting behaviour persists and you have to keep on repeating the yelping more than 3 to 4 times in 15 minutes, it is advisable to give the puppy some time out.
This exercise creates boundaries of play between the puppy and its owner. The puppy becomes conditioned to understand that hard biting results in stopping of play hence they begin to avoid it with time.
Each bite attempt by the puppy should be accompanied by a pulling away gesture. Give the puppy a treat or wave around a toy to provide a substitute for the puppy biting your hand.
However, if you are unable to pull away easily and the puppy bites you. You should teach the puppy commands such as “LET GO” or “LEAVE IT”. This is meant to make the puppy let go of something without being aggressive. If this persists, giving the puppy a time out can also help in reinforcing the conditioning process.
Great care should be taken to avoid punishing the puppy by beating it as this may make it more aggressive. Also don’t discourage play, because play is very essential in building the bond between you and your puppy which also makes it easier for you to train them.
POWER OF DISTRACTION
Mouthing is also a product of curiosity. If you find your puppy chewing away on furniture or your valuables, it may be because it is boring. This is a simple problem and it can be easily fixed by providing your puppy with an assortment of biting or chew toys. Apart from stopping puppy biting, toys can also aid in mental stimulation.
You can also check for products like Bitter Apple or YUCK NO CHEW SPRAY, that are designed to put an unpleasant taste in the dog’s mouth. These help the dog to associate the smell of the product with their taste. This, in turn, causes avoidance. For effective training, apply or place the products on things that the dog is not supposed to lick or bite once a day for 2 to 4 weeks.
WHAT IF THE PUPPY STILL BITES?
Sadly, most dog owners become frustrated when this behavior continues. However, patience will get you the desired results in due time. Mouthing is natural to a puppy and thus continual training will help in conditioning the puppy in the right way. Seeking professional help is also advisable if the problem is excessive or persistent.