Puppies are notorious for biting and nipping while exploring new toys and objects around the home. This is a natural way for them to investigate objects they come into contact with and it is their harmless way of playing. Puppies will also bite their owner’s hands when playing. This can quickly become an annoyance and may hurt as the puppy grows and gains strength. It is best to stop a puppy from this behavior at a very young age to avoid injury. If you have just acquired a puppy of your own, follow these steps to stop them from nipping people when playing.
Give A Reaction After Each Nip
Puppies need to be taught to control how much force they use when they are playing with a person. This process is called bite inhibition. If you display a reaction that will capture the attention of the puppy after it bites too hard at your skin, it will soon associate your pain with the reaction. This reaction should be something that startles the puppy such as a shrill whistle or a loud cry. This should stop the puppy from biting momentarily. Do this every time the puppy bites too rough for your liking.
Ignore The Puppy After A Bite
In conjunction with the startling method, ignore the puppy if it does not stop biting when you yelp or whistle. Get up from the play area and walk away from the puppy for several seconds. Go back and play with it again and continue using the startling and ignoring method with each nip you receive. In time, your puppy will realize you will walk away and stop playing with them if they bite you too hard. Their mouthing will become less forceful as a result. You can continue altering the amount of force they are allowed to use on your hand until they are barely touching your skin at all.
Ease Toward Other Play Toys
When you puppy finally learns to stop biting and nipping your hands with force, you will want to stop them from doing the same with your feet or legs.This can be done by giving them a chew toy or bone when they start trying to put their mouth on one of your limbs. If they try nipping at your feet as you walk, freeze in place and hand them a chew toy or bone that you keep in your pocket for this occasion. Pet them with one of your hands as they bite on the chew toy or bone so they get used to physical contact without the need to bite.
Start the same process when your puppy puts its mouth on your hand during playtime. Make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise outdoors with a variety of toys they can bite or chew. Your goal will be to stop it from biting at your skin altogether. For further assistance, contact local puppy care professionals, such as those from Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic.