How to Stop a Puppy From Biting People & Clothes

by Amy Hunter
Puppies often view flapping pant legs as a play thing.

Puppies often view flapping pant legs as a play thing.

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Puppies look at everything as a plaything, and that includes their new family. While the pouncing and biting are cute when he is small, as he grows the behavior can get obnoxious and even dangerous. Take charge of his behavior now to prevent him from developing habits that will be very challenging to change later. As he grows up, he won't understand your changing attitudes toward biting and chewing, so it is important not to allow any behavior now that you will not find acceptable in six or nine months.

Step 1

Provide plenty of exercise. Puppies require lots of exercise, and if they don't get enough, they will work out their excess energy by being rough and rowdy with you.

Step 2

Teach bite inhibition. Puppies typically learn how to play from their littermates and mother. If your puppy is playing too rough, spend some time teaching him how you want to play so he learns that if he is too rough, he won't have any fun. Sit down on the floor with your puppy and use your hand to tussle with him gently. When he starts biting and gets too rough, say "ow" and stop moving entirely. Don't squeal or jerk your hand back, both of which he may interpret as an invitation to play. Leave your hand completely still for 10 to 15 seconds, then resume playing. If he gets rough again, repeat the process. Give him a few chances, then if he continues to play rough, stand up and walk off, halting the play session. Repeat this process over a period of days and he will learn how to play calmly.

Step 3

Make chew toys readily available. Puppies chew as a normal part of their development, and will find something to chew on. Many puppies have an affinity for one type of toy over another, so if you haven't had any luck finding a toy your puppy enjoys, try something different. Hard rubber toys, braided rope bones and nylon chew toys are all popular choices.

Step 4

Reprimand your puppy when he chews. There is no need to be aggressive, a firm "no" as well as removing your fingers, pant leg or whatever else your puppy is chewing on should be enough to get your puppy to stop chewing. If you have a chew toy close, replace what he was chewing on with the toy to reinforce what he is and is not permitted to chew on.

Step 5

Start obedience training. Obedience training burns off excess energy and keeps your puppy's mind busy. Basic obedience work will teach your puppy to listen to you and improve his overall behavior.

An Item You Will Need

  • Chew toys

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Amy Hunter has been a writer since 1998. She writes about health and lifestyle issues and enjoys writing about hiking, camping, trail running and other outdoor activities. Her work has appeared in "Sacramento Parent," ASPCA's "Animal Watch" and other print and online publications. She is the author of "The History of Mexico" and "Tony Gonzalez: Superstar of Pro Football," aimed at young-adult readers.

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