If you have a new puppy, you’re probably already well acquainted with their needle-sharp little teeth. While biting is a normal part of puppy behaviour, we don’t want it to become a habit.

Here are our tips on how to teach your puppy to stop biting.

Why do puppies bite?

Biting, chewing and nipping are normal behaviours for puppies. As they do not have hands, puppies use their teeth and mouth to communicate and play with other dogs, and to explore new things in their environment.

Even though it is perfectly natural for your puppy to bite, these are behaviours we want to manage correctly to prevent problems in the future.

While biting usually indicates that your puppy wants to play or is trying to get your attention, it is a different behaviour than chewing which often signals that your puppy is teething and needs to relieve some pressure in their gums.

How to discourage your puppy from biting

Respond with a yelp

Puppies play with each other using their mouths which can soon result in bites as they have not yet learnt to control the strength of their mouthing. When this happens, the puppy being bitten will let out a yelping noise to let their friend know that the bite hurt.

To discourage your puppy from biting you, use a similar method to teach them that it is not okay to chomp down on you. When your puppy bites you, say ouch or let out a yelp like their littermate would. Then, stop playtime and ignore your puppy for 10-20 seconds; you may even want to leave the room if your puppy is overly excited. Once they have settled you can resume play.

By repeating this process, you can teach your puppy that when they bite you and play rough, playtime will end. However, if they play nice, then you can continue to have fun together.

Redirect your puppy to appropriate chew toys

Do not respond harshly to your puppy biting as this is a natural behaviour for them and you will only cause confusion. Instead, if your puppy is repeatedly biting you, distract them with a chew toy.

Once you have redirected their attention to this toy and they are happily playing with it, reward them with praise. Reinforce this behaviour by praising your puppy whenever you see them chewing on appropriate items.

Soon your puppy will understand what they are allowed, and what they aren’t allowed to chew on.

Take them to puppy school

Want to learn more about training your new puppy? Petbarn’s puppy school program is conducted in partnership with Greencross Vets.

Our fun and interactive course will teach you how to understand how your puppy communicates and give your puppy the chance to socialise with other dogs their age in a safe and friendly environment. Register your interest now!

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Need more personal advice to help reduce your puppy’s biting? The friendly team at your local Petbarn store will be able to help.