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How to teach your new puppy not to play bite – Memphis Area Pet Health

Posted 06.17.15 by Emily Lindsey

New puppies are so much fun, but, let us warn you, they are also a lot of work!



One of the questions we get asked the most is how to stop them from biting when they are playing.

Puppies innately explore their new world with their mouths. They don’t mean to hurt us when they play bite, but their baby teeth are incredibly sharp!

Puppies can naturally learn from other dogs how hard they are allowed to bite. When nursing, if they bite too hard, their mom will simply stand up and walk away. If they play too rough with another puppy or dog, that dog yelps and immediately stops playing.

Momma says, "No biting!"

Momma says, “No biting!”

A problem arises when play biting turns into a habit, because adult teeth can cause some serious damage! There are far too many cases every year where humans go to the hospital because of a dog bite, many of these cases involving children. These can be avoided by proper training; Both of the new puppy and their owner(s).

Here are some pointers to help train your puppy not to play bite:

  1. When your puppy bites your hand or foot, place your thumb and forefinger on the lower jaw and hold until the puppy begins to let go.
  2. Once the puppy lets go, you can let go. (Puppies don’t like anything in their mouth that they can’t swallow or spit out.)
  3. Redirect your chewing puppy to a safe chew toy instead of your hand.
  4. Allow your puppy to play with other dogs and puppies in a safe area. Be sure the other dogs are up to date on their vaccines. This can easily be done in a puppy training class. (They learn other valuable behaviors while in class too, like the sit/stay/come commands.)

Your play time with your puppy is also learning time.

You should be the one to initiate play. It can be helpful to have them in a sitting calm position before you play or wrestle. If your puppy gets too rough, be still and you may even want to yelp so they know they hurt you. After 20 seconds, you can resume play. If they do not respond, leave the room. Come back in 20 seconds and you can resume play.

Valentine puppies

IMPORTANT: All household members should play by the same training rules. If a puppy gets mixed signals, they won’t be sure what behaviors are allowed and which behaviors upset you.

Children can also be a very important part of training. (They are often the ones who get bitten the most.) Fetch is a great way for your kids to play safely with their new puppy. Start with the puppy in a calm state, then have your child ask if they want to play, then they can throw the toy. Wait for the puppy to drop the toy for them before they throw it again. Sometimes tug of war can be too rough when you’re trying to teach your new puppy to have a gentle mouth. Always supervise children while they interact with their puppy, and try to help them stay calm.

Teaching a puppy not to play bite will be easier than you thought! Enrolling them in a training class is your best bet for socialization and unlearning this bad behavior.

If a puppy can learn not to play bite, it will much more rewarding to play together.

If a puppy can learn not to play bite, it will much more rewarding to play together.

Please contact our office for more information.

You can also enroll in training at The Pet Hospitals with Amy Lear.

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