The earlier you learn how to stop a puppy from biting and growling, the better
What’s cute when they’re just a few pounds is downright dangerous when they’re full-grown.
Read on for reasons why early training is key.
Then, check out my tips to make the job a lot easier.
How to Stop a Puppy From Biting and Growling
Stop puppy biting now to avoid unfortunate accidents later in your dog’s life.
As we all know, puppies play rough. They roll and tumble and paw and bite. They bite hard. So hard.
That bite couple with their tiny dagger teeth makes for a painful – if adorable – experience for anyone playing with them.
However, what seems cute for a puppy can be dangerous coming from an adult dog.
It’s important to stop puppy biting earl so that it doesn’t become a dangerous problem for other people, animals, or even your own dog down the line.
Why You Should Stop a Puppy From Biting Early
When puppies play, they bite, and yes, it’s cute.
However, allowing them to continue to bite as puppies makes for full-grown dogs who also love to bite when they play.
When puppies bite too hard, your hand gets a little bloody from their tiny, pointy teeth.
However, when a dog bites too hard, especially a large or giant breed dog, it can result in serious injury ranging from lacerations to broken bones.
Usually, the injury is purely accidental, but that doesn’t change the outcome.
Depending on the circumstances and the person bitten, you and your dog could face some serious consequences from a bad bite even if the injury was unintentional.
Consequences of Neglecting to Stop Puppy Biting
In the pet owner world, things generally come down to context.
For example, when I worked at the vet, I had both my bottom and top lip completely busted open by an overly excited Pitbull.
Ratty was a peach of a dog, but he was also ginormous, powerful, and absolutely bursting with energy.
He was also never trained properly. Ratty was what I call a “love biter.” He someone associated nipping with affection.
Everyone in the office had fallen victim to Ratty’s “love” – and it was love – getting nipped on the bottom, the hand, the ankle, pretty much anywhere he could when he got overly excited.
I knew Ratty, so I knew that he was only saying hello and that he didn’t mean to hurt me. Lots of dog owners are like that.
However, lots of dog owners also aren’t like that, and people who don’t own dogs are rarely so understanding.
If your dog injures another dog or person, there are several possible consequences either or both of you could face including:
- 14 Day Rabies Quarantine for Your Dog
- Medical Bills for an Injured Person
- Medical Bills for an Injured Dog
- Forced Relinquishment of the Dog
- Forced Euthanasia of the Dog
It’s far better to simply nip the biting in the bud, as it were when your puppy is young than to risk these outcomes later in life.
How to Stop Puppy Biting
When a puppy bites, it hurts, and our first reaction is to jerk our hand away and yell.
Jerking your hand away is good. Yelling is not. At least, not yelling out of anger.
Here are some simple steps to help you stop puppy biting relatively quickly.
Use these steps in conjunction with one another to show your pup that biting does not mean what he thinks it does.
The steps are based on the reaction that a puppy would get from another puppy when he begins playing too rough, so you’re essentially speaking to your little guy in a language that he understands.
Pull Your Hand Away
As soon as your puppy starts to mouth or bite, pull your hand away.
Do not engage in play under any circumstances after he begins to bite.
After you pull your hand away yelp loudly and as highly-pitched as possible.
After you yelp, continue to whine for another minute.
This is the reaction that another puppy would have if bitten too hard.
What you’re trying to do here is mimic the sound that another puppy or dog would make if he were injured.
While you continue to whine, back away from your puppy.
Don’t engage with him in any way. In fact, do your best to continue to keep distance between you and your pup.
Do this in conjunction with the whining that you began after you yelped.
This further strengthens the message that you have been “injured” by his rough play.
Avoid Eye Contact
Avoid all contact throughout this process.
When a puppy gets nipped too hard, not only will he yelp and move away while verbalizing, he will also avoid eye contact.
This tells the other puppy that he’s gone just a little too far.
That’s the same message you’re trying to convey during this process, so absolutely do not make eye contact throughout this process.
Don’t Skimp on the Time
Of course, it’s adorable when your little guy comes over and nudges you to say he’s sorry, but give him the full “I’m injured” treatment for that entire minute I mentioned earlier.
You want to drive the point home that his biting has caused you pain and you are not happy with it.
It may seem mean to you as a human, but he, as a dog, is absorbing your message of “that’s too rough.”
Act As If Nothing Happened
After going through the process above, go back to playing as if nothing happened.
Dogs and puppies don’t hold grudges.
So after the message has been sent, they get right back to it as if nothing happened at all.
It’s important that you do the same.
Trying to drive the point home more by continuing to ignore and whine for longer than about a minute won’t be productive.
The key here is to simply send the message and then go on about your life. That’s how dogs learn.
Stop Puppy Biting Easily Now and Avoid Problems Later
It’s so easy to stop puppy biting that there’s no reason not to. In fact, there’s every reason to stop it as soon as possible.
From avoiding accidental injuries to just having a dog that can love everyone without leaving a mark, when you stop puppy biting early, you make for a better life for both you and your dog down the line.
If you follow the steps above, you should have no trouble training your puppy out of biting in no time flat!