Did you bring home a new puppy?
Do you experience sharp puppy teeth on your hands, ankles, pant legs or anything else he can get his mouth on?
How annoyed and frustrated are you by the constant puppy shark teeth coming after you?
Do you experience your puppy chewing on things he shouldn’t be and you’re tired of saying “NO”!
I hear you! Puppies are no joke.
They are adorable and spirited youngsters. They don’t know the bounds of their energy nor do they know how much their teeth hurt!
This is where you come in and teach your puppy what you do want.
Let’s look first at giving a verbal reprimand like the ever popular “No
Saying “no” is directionless. I mean, if you are going to yell at your dog for doing something, what are you teaching your dog to replace the inappropriate behavior? Without something else, your dog won’t know what to do instead!
Also saying “No” is only for you. I know you are looking for control and some reprieve from the biting, jumping or whatever else you’re puppy is doing and you’ve had enough. Your dog is its own being. Way back when, when the first dogs became “man’s best friend”, they actually self-domesticated themselves. Humans did not make them submit or no did they dominate them to become our friends, it was the “survival of the friendliest”.
Saying ”no” is ineffective in eliminating the behavior. Because let’s face it, the behavior continues even after you said it the first time. Am I right? That means, it didn’t do what you thought it would do. End the biting. In actuality, it reinforced it because you gave your attention, your voice, your eye contact, all the things your dog loves. Saying “no” was actually saying “YES”!
Or, on the flip side, saying “No” could scare your puppy and interfere with your relationship with him. If your dog cowers or bends his ears back when you say “NO”, your dog is not showing guilt or remorse. He is showing he’s afraid of you!
Let’s keep your relationship in tact and give him the direction he needs from you! This will go a long way in building a secure and trusting relationship with you.
Now, let’s look at what you can do instead.
The thing about puppy biting, is that it’s normal. Just like small children who explore the tactile world with their hands and mouths, so do your your puppies.
The same type of approach of baby proofing your home when you’re child becomes mobile, the same is necessary for your puppy, but with different management needs.
Your will want to create a safe zone for your puppy. Using baby gates or an exercise pen will allow for your puppy to have his area that is like a playground. It should have all wonderful things he can chew on and play with while he’s in this space.
Along with puppies using their mouth explore their world, its also normal for them to chew. Its a way for them to relax. Chewing is a full body exercise and giving your dog appropriate chew items is necessary.
Biting may be because your puppy may be hungry too!
Having frozen Kong toys filled with delicious meals and snacks can satiate hunger as well as be an aid for teething. Puppies can lose their puppy teeth and their gums can become sore.
Being prepared with a rope toy will help teach your puppy to put teeth on the toy rather than your legs or hands. When your puppy’s energy spikes, the mouthing can increase and this toy can help redirect him on to the timing most appropriate for him.
Getting your puppy problem solving with enrichment activities, to taking him out on a walk can also be a great way of relaxing your puppy’s mind and body.
Lastly,, your puppy may be biting because he wants you to stay way from whatever he’s got. Start working in Trading Up with him. Have something that is HIGHER in value than what he already has and present it to him. Once he let’s go of whatever you don’t want him to have, then praise and reward with the higher value in your hand. Then you are starting him on his learning of “Drop It”.
Understanding your puppy’s needs and motivations will set you up on a life long journey of learning and having fun!