Learn what to do when your puppy just won’t stop biting you, and why it’s happening in the first place. This guide will go over gentle and effective ways to help soothe your puppy’s urge to bite.
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There are a few different reasons your puppy might be biting you. The first step to ending this behavior is to understand why they’re doing it, so you can appropriately handle it.
The reason why they’re biting or nipping at you will determine how you train them.
You’ll also want to know what signs of aggression to look for, and also signs of anxiety or nervous chewing as opposed to teething chewing.
The more you know about your puppy, the better you will be able to train them!
You’ll find out all of this and more, below.
When Do Puppies Stop Biting?
Most puppies stop biting around the age of 7 months old.
Obviously, this can vary and is dependent upon the puppy’s demeanor, training, and when their adult teeth are all in.
Why Is My Puppy Biting Me?
Just like babies, puppies like to explore the world using their mouths. They bite for very similar reasons.
Sometimes they’re teething, other times they’re playing. At times it could simply be that your puppy is exploring the way something feels to chomp on.
If your puppy is around 9 weeks old, this is typically the time your pup is settling into their new home nicely, and feel comfortable enough to explore and play.
Puppies also often bite their owners if they’re missing out on vital play and communication with their litter, or with other dogs.
If your puppy is 3-4 months old and constantly biting, the most likely culprit is teething.
When To Worry About Puppy Biting
The following are signs of aggression and should be taken seriously. If your puppy is biting and exhibiting any of the following behaviors, you should contact a trainer.
- Lip curling
- Aggressive barking
- Dominant body language
My Puppy Won’t Stop Biting Me… Now What?
Here are our top tips for how to get your puppy to stop biting you.
Redirect Your Puppy’s Attention
Typical, we know. But as simple as this training tip is, it’s vital to your efforts to stop your puppy from biting you and others. You simply can’t let them continue gnawing at your hand without showing them that it’s not appropriate behavior.
Consistency is key here, and you have to remember that it doesn’t work every single time. Every time your puppy starts biting you, simply give them an appropriate chew toy instead.
Remember not to thump your puppy’s nose or use negative reinforcement to break their biting habit.
Tire Your Puppy Out
An often overlooked reason for your puppy constantly biting is a lack of exercise.
Some breeds need more walks than others, and tiring your pup out at the park is beneficial in more ways than one.
Try Puppy Teething Treat
There are lots of different puppy treats out there. Firstly, you’ll want to learn which treats are unhealthy or even dangerous for your puppy. Then, you’ll want to narrow it down to treats that are great for teething. Here are some of our favorite puppy teething treats:
You can also make your own puppy popsicles that will relieve teething pain!
Provide Toys With Different Textures
Here are some of our favorite puppy teething toys on the market.
- chew toys with ropes
- nylabone bacon-flavored teethers for puppies
- starfish teether (doubles as a doggy toothbrush!)
- interlinked bone teethers
- nubbies dental chews
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Teach Bite Inhibition
Puppies, particularly those that don’t grow up with a sibling or parent, are sometimes lacking the social interaction they require to learn how to play.
They’re social animals that learn from each other. You can read our full guide on bite inhibition here, but essentially you teach your puppy how to control how hard to bite down, by mimicking what their parent or siblings would do.
When your puppy mouths at your hand, let out a high-pitched “ow!” when they bite too hard.
They will then likely stop and look at you. Repeat this process for 15 minutes at a time, or until you’ve had to “yelp” 3-5 times.
Any more than that, and you’re likely to lose your puppy’s focus.
Learn More About Teaching Bite Inhibition In This Video:
Try an Indoor Leash
This tip comes to us from McCann Dogs, who recommends having a leash on your puppy, even while inside (for training purposes).
The best leash to have on your puppy inside would be a short one like this.
You can snip off the loop at the end so they don’t get stuck on anything.
When you have a short leash on your puppy inside, it makes it easier to get a hold of your puppy when they do something naughty, instead of chasing them around the house.
This changes the dynamic of the relationship when you can quickly and easily handle the situation.
If you suspect your puppy might be on track to be a nervous chewer as opposed to just a teething puppy, you should begin training them a little differently.
Start by purchasing a dog crate and crate training them.
Also, don’t make the mistake of giving them an old sock or shoe to chew on. This inadvertently teaches them that chewing on your belongings is okay.
Learn how to stop your dog from chewing in our full guide.
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What struggles are you facing with your dog biting you or teething? Let us know in the comments!
FrugLife strives to provide accurate advice and helpful resources to pet owners. Your pet’s health is important to us, so please remember that the content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, and is for entertainment purposes only. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical or behavioral condition.
*Post originally published August 2022, last updated February 2023.