Puppy biting is one of the most common questions on Dog Training 101! While puppy biting can be frustrating (and painful), it is also a completely normal puppy behavior. Puppies LOVE to bite! It’s how they explore and interact with the world. The good news is that hey almost always grow out of it – it is not a sign of aggression or dominance as some people may fear. The bad news is that puppies are very sensitive to your timing–so be sure not to reward them for biting!

Following are some resources we’ve gathered to help you understand the most effective and gentle ways to approach puppy biting. Hang in there!

Here are some of our favorite tips!
* Make sure your puppy is getting enough play time, social time, and REST! Puppies bite for a reason–they NEED playtime, but they also need rest and time to relax.

* Make sure your pup is getting plenty of interactive time with toys. Toys that you don’t play with are dead. Plan on spending a few minutes every hour playing with your pup.


* Make sure your puppy gets plenty of time to explore the world! Meeting your puppies mental enrichment needs will help prevent biting!

Bad news is puppies LOVE to bite! Good news is they all grow out of it (unless you do really stupid flapping around and squealing stuff). Here is what I do:

Any time the pup bites, I freeze for 3-10 seconds. Then continue what I was doing (if it was play, I go in to “slow mode” play). I’ll do that 3 times in a row. If the pup still bites, I will walk out the nearest door–no muss, no fuss, for a 3 minute break. That usually cures them pretty quick.

The basic idea is they are biting you because they want to play and socialize–if you stop, they lose all that good stuff. It works!

What if they keep biting you while you freeze?

Then it’s time to step outside immediately! I often use a baby gate for this.

Tuck your hands in, look away, and leave. The message is “I am not playing with you when you are being a jerk.”

They will likely escalate the first day or so–be prepared for it. They are looking for your response, so any response can be rewarding. If you (or anyone in the house) has engaged in rough play with them, they may bite down pretty hard. Don’t give in. The other methods–like pushing on their jaw, can make them afraid of your hands and contribute to fear biting later on. It can also cause the behavior to escalate as you get in to a “biting war”.

Kikopup has an awesome new video that uses play to help stop puppy biting–if yo want to use the latest, most fun method available, check it out here!

Be a Tree is used for little kids to help discourage biting–check it out here!

Verena Schleich

Verena Schleich

Verena (KPA-CTP, Family Paws Parent Educator, and certified in Pet Loss Companioning) lives in rural Ontario, Canada, with her two dogs and a cat. She is also an admin on the Dog Training 101: Community Forum page on Facebook.