Puppies bite, chew and mouth on their pet parents' toes, fingers and clothes. It's natural for a puppy to chew, lick and bite when playing, investigating objects and exploring his world. At times, a puppy may bite down hard on his pet parent or family member. Puppies can learn to adjust their biting strength and intensity, assuring that they can still interact with their pet parent without hurting them.
Understanding and Patience
Understanding and patience are required from pet parents who are enduring nips and bites from their puppies. While most bites take place during playtime, there are more serious reasons that cause puppies to bite. Some puppies bite out of fear of their new family members, possessiveness of their toys, bed and objects they feel are their property or due to pain from injury. Observant, understanding and patient pet parents notice changes in their puppy's behavior at the time of the bite. Signs of aggressive behavior accompanying a bite from your puppy need further investigation to find the root of the problem. Never hit, poke, punch, kick or act physically aggressive towards your puppy; this will only cause your puppy to become more aggressive. Keep your calm at all times.
Calmly Guide His Attention Elsewhere
Puppies enjoy playtime and bonding with their pet parents. Pups have a need to mouth and chew or bite -- it's the way puppies naturally play with each other and continue to play the same way with their human family. When experiencing puppy bites during playtime, focus your puppy's attention towards a toy by substituting the toy, instead of your fingers. Allow the puppy to bite, chew and play with the toy. Eventually, when he feels the need to mouth or bite he will find a toy to bite instead of his human family. Also playing non-contact games like fetch will keep your puppy's instinct to bite while playing to a minimum, because the game doesn't allow for biting.
Conduct a Time-out and Apply Taste Deterrents
Pet-safe sour and bitter tasting deterrents can be found online and at pet stores. Before playtime begins, spray your fingers, tips of your clothing or the most frequent place your puppy chooses to bite you. Enjoy playtime with your puppy as usual. Once your puppy starts biting you, he will taste the bitter deterrent, which will cause him not to want to repeat the behavior that resulted in the bitter taste. When you feel the bite, also withdraw your hand or object from the puppy's mouth in a quick manner, pulling away from the puppy. React by waiting about 30 seconds before continuing the activity that you were doing when the bite happened.
React with a Loud Yelp
Pet parents should yelp loudly, with a quick sharp sound as if they were in severe pain when experiencing a harsh bite from their puppy. This sound will alert your puppy that he did something wrong when he bit you. Pausing and pulling away for up to 30 seconds will show him that his behavior was wrong. This is a natural way to react to your puppy's biting behavior and it will teach him to either lessen the strength of his bite or not repeat the behavior in the future. This same technique is used when puppies play with each other one-on-one or in groups.
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images