Puppy Biting2 minute read
There's a reason puppy biting is the most frequent topic of questions at Harper. It's really frustrating and there isn't much you can do about it.
Our apologies for leading with the bad news. The good news is your pup will eventually grow out of the teething phase, usually around five or six months of age. In the meantime, there are a lot of things you can do to minimize the behavior and manage it in a way that keeps you from going insane.
Here are the strategies we recommend:
Once in a while, give your puppy some indication that what she's doing hurts even if you have to fake it. A loud, high pitched "ouch" is what you're going for. She might not (and actually probably won't) stop biting you completely, but these signals help her understand the boundaries of acceptable play. You witness a similar back and forth when your pup is learning to play with other dogs.
Switching for a Chew Toy
It's hard for puppies to nip when they have a chew toy in their mouth, so another easy thing to do is to try to engage them with a chew toy when they start nipping. Again, it probably won't work all the time, but you are building up her understanding that human arms are not an acceptable thing to chew on—but toys are.
Active Rest aka a "Timeout"
Sometimes puppies are just too excited, and sometimes you just need a break. In either case, we recommend putting your pup in her crate with a chew toy for some alone time. This stops her from practicing the behavior and helps restore some calmness. Young puppies are totally fine spending most of their day in the crate and, at Harper, we encourage this. It's a safe place for them, it makes housetraining easier, and it also just keeps them from rehearsing bad behaviors that are harder to unteach.