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Puppy Bites: 9-12 Weeks

How do I keep my puppy from biting? I get this question quite a lot. Here are a few things to help with this issue.

First, you can’t STOP puppies from chewing. Early, in their development they are exercising their natural instincts to chew. So, this comes naturally to them. Look at this as building their biting/chewing muscle(s) for “hunting.” Despite the fact dogs are domesticated this is still in their DNA, and they are carnivorous creature.

However, we can train a puppy towards positive chewing, but biting should never be allowed. Items such as: rubber toys, frozen carrots (within reason), in a nutshell, age-appropriate toys, versus them biting at our legs, hands, furniture etc. Please, don’t give the puppy an old shoe, slipper, towel etc., this is NOT a good idea, and they are potential choking hazards. When puppy begins to chew/bite inappropriately don’t grab puppy roughly by the neck but get his attention by putting pennies in an old empty medicine container and shaking it loud enough to get his attention and then quickly redirect his attention towards the puppy toy. This is how I teach our puppies for most of the dogs it’s quite effective and I don’t need to use it for very long. Patience is key.

During this phase don’t play tug o’ war games or rough play with the puppy since this can encourage unwanted behavior, and this translates “in his mind” he can play on his own terms before you have established ground rules for play. I promise you they will incorporate their “hands,” i.e., teeth into the game. I’ve seen this for myself, and the client is always surprised when their young children get hurt after they have initiated rough play with the dog and have been given permission by the adult.

It’s also a good idea to have puppy on a leash. When you see puppy going towards the living room rug with the intent to chew or maybe your child’s hands, gently tug on the lead but DON’T yank, you can potentially harm the puppy’s spine/throat. Please teach your children to respect the dog too. It’s not okay for children to harm the dog under the guise of “play.” To many dogs end up in local shelters because of mismanagement, and lack of training by their humans.

Socialization with other dogs is also extremely important during this phase there are things that dogs can’t learn from humans but ONLY from other dogs, it’s called “bite inhibition.” The dog learns to control his bite strength, by playing with other dogs, and if they hurt another dog during play the dog that caused harm will often get “time out,” by the offended dogs.

Also, don’t punish the dog by putting him in a crate this will only exacerbate the behavior and adds to his confusion. I do use crates; I am not averse to using them as a training tool, but you can misuse their purpose.

I hope this helps if you need additional information. Please contact me through this website. 🐾

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