Why Do Puppies Bite?2 minute read
Puppies bite for lots of reasons but they can all be grouped into one of three categories:
Puppies bite because they're puppies
Biting things, chewing things, and putting their mouths on things in general is just part of growing into an adult dog.
Chewing on things is fun. It's a form of play that helps them use their puppy energy.
They eat a lot of food and if there isn't anything around to eat, chewing is a nice substitute.
Everything is new to them, and one way they learn about new things is to pick it up with their mouths the way you might pick something up with your hands.
They also go through a teething phase where their puppy teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. This can be an uncomfortable process and chewing on things helps with any pain or irritation.
Puppies bite because they're overstimulated
Being overstimulated could mean they're frustrated and experiencing a negative emotion. For example, maybe they want to jump on the couch and you won't let them.
It could also mean they're overaroused and experiencing too much of a happy emotion. For example, maybe they have a new exciting toy and they're feeling a little crazy happy.
Either way, they're biting might start or intensify because of the stimuli in their environment.
Puppies bite (rarely) as an act of aggression
Although extremely rare, a puppy that feels threatened may try to protect itself by biting. Also, older puppies may have developed resource guarding habits. It's an indirect form of self-protection to bite something or someone that's trying to take away its food.
The first two reasons are usually what we talk about when we talk about puppy biting. Sometimes an overstimulated dog may seem "aggressive," but unless you have reason to believe they feel scared or threatened, it's fine to assume the biting is just "puppyness" and nothing more serious.