While your new ball of fur is undoubtedly a welcome addition to your family, they will come with some teething problems as they get used to their new environment. Like a child, every puppy has to learn how to do the basic things in life. These behaviours include doing their business in a dedicated spot, respecting boundaries in your home and not nibbling on their owners. Puppy biting is a natural behaviour that usually begins when their teeth start to erupt. Your pup is not trying to hurt you!
Just like a toddler would, your dog will shift their baby teeth at around four months old. As your puppies adult teeth (there are forty-two of them) push through, their gums will be hurting. Chewing or otherwise biting is a natural response to this discomfort. The issue arises when your puppy develops a habit of biting their family members, causing pain or general annoyance. Here are a few strategies you can start using immediately to prevent this behaviour from turning into a persistent problem.
Make it clear that you don’t like it
Your dog does not want to hurt you. In nature, dogs are pack animals, biting other dogs when they play. While this is not intended to hurt their friends, their bite will inevitably do some damage. If this happens, the other dog will let them know with a ‘yelp’ - a warning to the aggressor that it hurt them and it was more than a playful nip.
We can also create the same response when our pets go too far. Make a loud ‘ow’ sound or pull away from them, expressing exaggerated discomfort. When your pup stops biting and backs off, praise them verbally or reward them with a treat to reinforce their calm behaviour.
Redirect them to other outlets
Your pup must go through the teething process. It’s not a realistic goal to stop them biting altogether. Instead, teach your dog to take their desire to bite out on the appropriate items. Fingers, furniture, shoes or other home or personal valuables are not the right outlets for your dog’s chew time.
“Redirect their attention to a favourite chew toy”
When your dog goes to bite something you don’t want them to, redirect their attention to a toy. Teach them that chewing the toy is the correct behaviour. Having a varied range of interactive and exciting toys is essential to keep your dog engaged throughout their teething stage.
Encourage them to play instead
Never go along with your puppies ‘playful’ biting. While they may think it is all fun and games, you need to be clear that it isn’t acceptable. Show them what playtime should be by teaching them to have fun in other ways. It could be as simple as playing tug-o-war or fetch in the backyard or taking them for an enjoyable walk around the blog. Biting may simply be an outlet for them to expend pent up energy. Whatever method you choose, your goal is to keep your dog occupied and redirect their biting energy towards other healthier tasks.
Take them to the dog park
If your pup insists on biting, take them to play with other dogs! Their canine pals will instinctively know how to best deal with their biting behaviour, helping your dog release their frustration safely. A trip to the park will also expend energy and get in some excellent exercise, killing two birds with one bone. Just make sure your puppy has been sufficiently socialised and is up-to-date with any necessary medications and vaccines before introducing them to other dogs.
Use an e-collar
If your puppy continues to bite after implementing all these strategies, consider using an electronic dog training collar (e-collar). E-collars are a great tool to enhance your dog’s obedience, prevent excessive barking and stop their biting. They’re a very effective and safe option to reinforce your dog’s good behaviour while out and about or around the home. E-collars use a mild stimulus, such as a high-pitched sound, vibration or mild-static to discourage unwanted behaviour and reinforce commands. Use an e-collar to teach your dog that biting you or your furniture is not okay, rewarding them when they behave correctly.
A quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar is an excellent and safe tool that can ensure living and connecting with your dog remains a stress-free experience throughout their entire life. Dog Gear offers trusted electronic dog training collars, utilising warning tones to prompt your pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!