Puppy Biting and Nipping
- Provide your puppy with appropriate chew toys that they can bite and gnaw on. Rotate the toys regularly to keep them interesting.
- Redirect your puppy’s attention to a toy whenever they try to bite or nip you or something else. Praise them when they chew on the toy instead.
- Avoid rough play with your puppy that may encourage biting or nipping. Instead, play games that involve fetching, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek.
- Teach your puppy bite inhibition. This means teaching them to control the force of their bite and to stop biting when you say “ouch” or make a high-pitched sound. You can do this by yelping and withdrawing your hand when your puppy bites you too hard, then resuming play when they calm down.
- Socialize your puppy with other dogs and people who can teach them proper manners and boundaries. Make sure the interactions are positive and supervised.
- Puppy-proof your home by removing or securing anything that your puppy may chew on, such as shoes, cords, plants, or trash.
- Provide your puppy with plenty of chew toys that are safe and durable. You can also make some homemade chew toys by stuffing a sock with a tennis ball or a water bottle.
- Redirect your puppy’s attention to a toy whenever they try to chew something else. Praise them when they chew on the toy instead.
- Teach your puppy the “drop it” command. This will help you get them to release something they are chewing on without a struggle.
- Avoid scolding or punishing your puppy for chewing something they shouldn’t. This may only make them fearful or anxious, which can worsen the problem. Instead, calmly take away the item and replace it with a toy.
- Provide your puppy with enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored or restless. You can also use interactive toys or puzzles that challenge your puppy’s brain and reward them with treats.
- Identify the triggers that cause your puppy to bark and try to eliminate or reduce them. For example, if your puppy barks at people or animals passing by the window, you can close the curtains or move them to another room.
- Ignore your puppy’s barking if they are doing it for attention. Do not look at them, talk to them, or touch them until they stop barking. Then reward them with attention when they are quiet.
- Avoid yelling at your puppy for barking. This may only make them bark more because they think you are joining in or because they are confused or scared.
- Socialize your puppy with other dogs and people who can teach them proper etiquette and confidence. Make sure the interactions are positive and supervised.
- Ignore your puppy’s jumping and turn your back on them until they stop. Do not look at them, talk to them, or touch them until they have all four paws on the floor. Then reward them with attention when they are polite.
- Ask your visitors to do the same as above. Explain to them that you are training your puppy not to jump and ask them to cooperate.
- Avoid encouraging your puppy to jump by bending down, making eye contact, or using a high-pitched voice. Instead, greet your puppy calmly and quietly and use a low-pitched voice.
- Provide your puppy with enough exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from getting overexcited or hyperactive. You can also use interactive toys or puzzles that challenge your puppy’s brain and reward them with treats.
Cyndi Smasal, CPDT-KA
Certified Professional Dog Trainer / Integrative Pet Specialist
Author, Pet Nutrition Specialist and Pet Care/Health Coach
If you’d like more information about my puppy programs, please contact me today to schedule a free consultation phone call. I would love to talk with you about your puppy and help you achieve your training goals. Don’t wait until it’s too late; start your puppy’s training right now and make living with a new puppy easy!