When Will My Puppy Stop Biting?

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Puppy Stop BitingIf you’re worried about your puppy’s sharp teeth, you may be wondering, “When will my puppy stop biting?” Biting and nipping are normal parts of your puppy’s behavior, which may be lost to new puppy owners. In this article, we discuss all you need to know about biting behavior and how you can encourage your puppy to grow into a good dog.  

When Do Puppies Stop Biting? 

If you’re wondering about whether puppies stop biting, the short answer is that they don’t. But you should also keep in mind that the more a puppy bites, the more it will get used to putting its baby teeth on human skin. Letting your canine companion know the proper way to use their teeth can put a stop to a biting puppy.   

Why Do Puppies Bite and Nip? 

Before you come up with ways on how to stop your puppy from biting you, the most important thing is to understand why your puppy bites in the first place. A puppy bite isn’t uncommon and will take place due to a wide range of reasons; below are some of the most common reasons behind this normal behavior. 

  • Rough Play: A play session is important for puppies because it’s part of how they interact with one another. But whether they use chew toys or squeaky toys, puppy mouthing and play biting are part of their growth.  
  • No Training: Puppies may start biting and nipping because they don’t know what can and can’t be bitten. Because puppies don’t know what constitutes acceptable behavior to humans, the ones who should teach them are their dog owners. 
  • Puppy Teething: Their first weeks can be an exciting time for puppies, and they will need to find a way to start teething. 
  • High Prey Drive: All dogs come with prey drive but they will vary in individual dogs based on genetics, breed, past experiences, and upbringing. Pups with high prey drive might bite and nip at everything that moves. 

How to Stop a Puppy From Biting You

If you’re still wondering how puppies will stop biting, you’ll be happy to know that getting them to stop isn’t too hard. The best way to get your puppy to stop biting you is by teaching it an alternative behavior that it will naturally do. For instance, if your pup wants to start playing and nips at your hand, then put your hand behind your back and say “no.”

You can then give it an appropriate chew toy that it can nip and bite; this will teach your pup that playing is allowed but only on the toy and not on your skin or hand. The general rule of thumb is that if your puppy bites you, it’s best to stop everything and then redirect your pup onto a dog toy that it can bite. 

Puppy Bite Inhibition 

This refers to the ability of puppies to control the strength of their bite, which is an essential skill to have. Puppies need to learn this from their siblings at a young age, so be sure to take your pooch out on playdates with other puppies. When your puppy delivers a hard bite or becomes too rough to one of its playmates, it will make a high-pitched yelp. 

Alternative Methods

If your pup gets too nippy but loves to chase, there are two alternative methods that you can teach your puppy to help it nip and bite less.  

  • Fetch: For puppies that love to chase, playing a game of fetch using their favorite toys will help satisfy their need to bite and chase. 
  • Tug of War: Using their favorite tug toy, be sure to play a game of tug of war with your puppy! 

How to Stop Biting in Specific Scenarios  

Should you notice that your pup bites on a wide range of occasions, then use the guide below to help you stop it for that specific time. 

Ankle Biting 

If your pooch loves to ambush you and nip at your ankles and pants, you can be sure that you’re not the only one who experiences this. Puppies are drawn to movement and will take the opportunity to bite whenever they see movement. To prevent your pup from biting your ankles, look for an appropriate toy such as a rope toy that it will want to bite. 

When you get a toy for your pup, just wiggle it at any time your pooch comes for you and make their toy “get away” from it. This is a great way to teach your puppy to fixate on something else instead of your ankles. 

Biting When Guests Arrive  

If you notice that your dog will nip and bite your guests, there are rules you can put in place to ensure this doesn’t become a habit whenever there are new people around. First, you’ll need to understand your dog’s level of excitement. You should only reward your pooch and only let it greet your visitors once your pup becomes calm in their presence. 

Usually, new puppy parents will allow their puppy to meet guests during their most excited state, which leads to them biting and nipping as a result of over-excitement when they want to play. Rather than doing this, be sure to tell your guests to leave your puppy alone until it becomes calm enough to meet your guests. When this occurs, make sure to give your puppy high-value treats, then you can allow it to properly greet everyone.   

Dogs with a High Prey Drive

As mentioned, all dogs come with different prey drive levels and some will be higher than others — this refers to your dog’s desire to do behaviors such as chasing and catching. Because puppies won’t know how to spend all their energy, it’s vital that you give your pooch another way to release their energy. As such, it’s also crucial to understand your puppy’s needs according to its specific breed.  

This is because not all breeds of dog will have the same requirements. For instance, an English Bulldog doesn’t need as much exercise as German Shepherds do. While biting is a natural behavior for all dogs, dogs with a high prey drive may need professional help to stop this type of biting. If you want your puppy to learn good behavior, be sure to give it positive reinforcement starting no later than a few months of age.   

Things to Avoid when Your Puppy Bites 

If you really want to stop your puppy from biting you, here are a few things to remember. 

Playing with Your Hands 

While it might seem cute to play with your puppy using your hands, doing this may make it harder for your pooch to see when it’s time to stop biting. If your puppy doesn’t have a clear understanding of the force of a bite, then it won’t know when enough is enough, making it that much harder to know what a hard bite is. So when you want your puppy to know when to stop, you need to make things easier for them to identify the right time to stop. 

Once your pooch gets a good understanding of when to stop biting, it will get easier for it to identify when you’re hurt and when you’re playing. While playing with you won’t be an issue later down the road, teaching them the right way in the beginning will make your job easier. 

Letting Guests Reinforce Bad Behavior

If you have guests coming over, it’s up to you to let them know that your puppy’s in training and that you have rules that need to be followed. These can include the following: 

  • Ignoring your puppy until it becomes 100% calm
  • Saying no when it nips and then following up with an appropriate object
  • Refraining from petting the puppy if it jumps up and only petting it when it stops jumping

Keep in mind that your pup is still learning, so it’s your responsibility to teach your pup how it should behave in various situations and environments. 

Never Punish Your Puppy 

You should never punish a young puppy; they don’t know where to put their energy, and won’t be able to discern what’s appropriate, which is why it’s up to us to teach our pups. You shouldn’t be upset if your puppy nips at you if it hasn’t been given a lesson on what it can nip and bite. Always remember that when you want your puppy to stop biting, you need to teach them how to do so first. 

What is Aggressive Biting? 

If you think that your pooch might be biting as a result of aggression, below is a short list of things you need to know about. 

Reading its Body Language 

Before anything else, what you need to understand is if their body language is the result of truly aggressive behavior or if it’s displaying normal puppy behavior. Those who are new to dogs will often mistake vigorous play for aggression — for example, your puppy’s growling during a game of tug-of-war doesn’t mean that it’s being aggressive, it just means it wants to play. Here are a few signs to observe in your puppy to see whether it’s really aggressive or not.  

  • Tail: A puppy’s tail will either be tucked underneath it or erect and stiff.
  • Mouth: A puppy will curl its lips to show teeth or it will actively show teeth while growling. 
  • Ears: A puppy’s ears will be erect, with a stiff tail or they will be folded back with its tucked tail. 
  • Eyes: If the white parts of your dog’s eyes are actively showing, and are open wide, then it may be aggressive. 
  • Body: If the hair on your puppy’s back is raised on ends, while its body is extremely stiff, then it could be aggressive.  

It’s worth noting that puppies are not aggressive, but may experience a brief period of fear; they may also check to see the kind of response they can get from their owners. 

The Truth About Puppy Biting 

Now that you know about the things to look for in terms of your pup’s body language and behavior, the next step is to find out the underlying reason for your dog’s aggressive behavior. As such, you need to know that a puppy won’t just become aggressive for no reason, so it’s up to you to find out why. Here are the most common reasons why a dog might become aggressive. 

  • Resource Guarding: Should your pooch suddenly show signs of aggression, it could be doing so in an effort to protect its resources such as food, water, and toys. It may also growl if you try to take something away that it sees as high value. 
  • Insecurity and Fear: All puppies will go through a brief period of fear. If your pup is insecure, uncomfortable, scared, and unsure, then it may bark and lunge to try and distance itself from what makes it feel this way.  

Working with professional dog trainers is the best way to help your dog eliminate fears and insecurities. If your puppy keeps barking out of fear be sure to give your pooch a safe place. 

When Will My Puppy Stop Biting? 

While your dog might never stop biting you, it’s important that you remain consistent and clear with their training to reinforce appropriate behavior. This will also help your pooch understand the difference between right and wrong behaviors over time while allowing it to calm down whenever it feels restless. The success of your dog’s training is up to you so be sure to follow the guidelines above designed to help your young puppies.