4 Tips for Teaching Puppies Not to Nip
Puppies are a fun addition to your family, and their cute nature and endless playful antics make them a sought-after companion. Puppies spend most of their time exploring their surroundings and chewing objects with their needle-sharp baby teeth, which unfortunately means they will end up biting your hands or feet from time to time. This may seem like a cute way of playing, but this kind of behavior won’t be so cute when they get older! Here are 4 helpful tips to help teach your puppy what is acceptable biting behavior:
Let Him Know It Hurts
Although it seems counter-intuitive, it is recommended to play with your puppy and allow him to nip at your hands during playtime. This is the primary way of letting him know what are and are not acceptable biting behaviors. To do this properly, go ahead and let him nibble your hand until he bites down to hard. When he does, yell “ouch!” This should stop him momentarily and readjust his behavior. Continue to do this over and over so he knows the difference between playful nibbling and aggressive biting.
Dramatize the Pain
While you are working on the first tip, you can also “play the victim” when your puppy bites too hard. If he continues to bite too hard when playing, yell “ouch” while pulling your hand away and cease interacting with him for a while. Dogs aim to please their masters, so when he sees you stop playing, it will reinforce that biting hard is unacceptable. This also replicates how other puppies would react if another puppy were to cause them pain.
Redirect the Bite
Your hands aren’t the only targets; puppies will also try to test their bite on household objects as well. Before he destroys anything of importance (the sofa!) or harms himself by chewing something he shouldn’t (the power cord!), distract him and give him a proper toy or bone to chew on. This reminds the puppy of what he is allowed to chew on so he can seek out those objects when he feels like chewing.
Ice, Ice Baby
There’s another reason behind your puppy’s nipping habits – teething! Puppies from 3 to 6 months old are experiencing new teeth breaking through their gums, and chewing helps to distract from the pain. A good solution for this is to give your dog ice cubes. The ice will numb his gums and help alleviate the pain.
Training a puppy can be time-consuming, but training him early will ensure that he will become a kind, obedient dog when he grows older. Your puppy is looking for guidance and acceptance while he plays, and these tips will help make your bond stronger while providing feedback that is both reinforcing good behavior and addressing poor habits.
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