If you recently added a puppy addition to the family, you most likely have learned that while puppies are full of spunk, life and hundreds of cuddles, they also need a whole lot of training. At some point, potty-training your pooch, teaching her to sit and quit nipping all while getting her accustomed to your new home may seem overwhelming.
First, don’t panic. Any new parent will tell you it’s normal to feel anxiety in the beginning. From here on out though, you want to be able to bring over friends and family to meet your newest companion, but what can you do about the nipping? No guest wants his ankle to become your pet’s new chew toy!
Nipping is part of a puppy’s teething process and all puppies do it. The behavior is not only unattractive and unwanted, but if left unchecked, some puppy’s playful nips can become harder and even draw blood.
To help you tackle this training, below we provide a few pointers to nip your puppy’s nipping in the bud.
It’s common for puppies to get excited and become extra mouthy as you pet them. To avoid this, try distraction.
As you reach down to pet your puppy with one hand, have a chew toy or a treat in your other hand to give her. This will accustom your furry friend to feeling your hands on her without nipping you in return.
Some toys, like a KONG, are great for distraction, because they provide mental stimulation and minutes of your distraction as your puppy relentlessly searches for the hidden treats or peanut butter inside.
Did you know puppies tend to nip each other when they play? However, if one pup bites down too aggressively, the other pup will yelp, which generally alarms the aggressor and teaches her over a period of time that her bite is too hard.
When your puppy is playing with you, you can try the same tactic. If your puppy bites down too forcefully, imitate a high-pitched “Yipping” noise that a dog would make or an exclamatory “Ouch!”, and allow yourself to go limp. Quickly pulling your hand away may increase aggressiveness, so going limp is the best option.
If your puppy nipped at you, the next step is to walk away and ignore her for a few moments. According to Healthy Pets, ignoring your pooch after verbally reacting to her bite negatively reinforces the bad behavior.
You can continue playing after a few moments and try again. If the biting continues, repeat the “Yipping” or “Ouch” noise and try ignoring for a few more minutes.
According to Cesar’s Way, allowing your dog time to play with other puppies or adult dogs that are vaccinated provides a great opportunity for your pup to learn social norms.
As stated above, other puppies will yelp when your dog bites too aggressively, and older dogs won’t stand for nipping, so your dog will quickly learn to control the force of her bites as she socializes and plays with other pets.
If you’re still having trouble, purchasing an unappealing spray like YUCK No Chew Spray or Bitter Apple can deter your puppy’s nipping.
Put the spray on any clothes or areas of your body you don’t want your dog to nip. As play continues and your dog becomes mouthy, allow her to react to the bad taste of the spray before you respond. Once she stops mouthing you, Pets.WebMD suggests praising her for ceasing the behavior.
Initially try wearing the spray for two weeks so your pooch can learn that mouthing you is not the tastiest or best option.
Avoid Physical Punishment
Whatever you do, avoid physical punishment such as grabbing your dog’s snout, closing her mouth or hitting her. Doing so can actually cause fear and increase her aggressive behavior and the forcefulness of her bites.
The goal is to gently train your new friend to behave and foster a lifelong friendship. Using physical force can oftentimes have the opposite effect and destroy any potential for a trusting companionship.
Thanks for stopping by! We hope you learned a few quick tips to help nip your puppy’s nipping in the bud. Please feel free to share this article with friends, family and on social media sites.