I love to nip and bite when I’m excited — it’s my favorite way to play and one of the only ways I know how to, other than running around the house because of the “zoomies.” All my brothers and sisters used to nip and bite me — and I’d return the favor — when we were puppies before my owner took me to my new forever home. It’s ingrained in who I am! Puppy = bites. Simple as that.
My owner yelled at me a lot when I was younger for biting, though. She didn’t like the way I’d use my teeth when I thought we were playing, or when I wanted her to play with me. Who knew the tall weird dog-person that feeds me didn’t like biting for playing? That was kind of a tough lesson to learn. I’m betting you’re having trouble teaching your furry friend not to use their teeth when they get excited and hyperactive because it hurts you.
Us pups experience the world and our playtime with our noses and mouths. We love chewing on things and gnawing at them; sometimes, that includes your hands, arms, legs, and earlobes (yup, we love those!). We nip and bite when we play with other dogs because, well, that’s just what we do. I know I speak for myself and likely your pet when I say we take that same mentality into effect when playing with our owners. When we’re especially young pups, we don’t realize how hard we can actually bite and have to learn through playing. If another dog bites me too hard, I yelp loudly because it hurts me. They, in turn, realize I’m hurt and stop playing for a bit and feel bad. Then after a few minutes, we’re back at it because we don’t want to miss out on any of the fun.
You need to do this too! If you play with your dog and feel them bite too hard, you need to yelp as if you’re a hurt dog so they understand the natural mechanics of it all. When you yelp and they stop, you should praise them, especially with treats, when they stop biting you. If they bite too hard, repeat the process – they’ll get the hint!
The next step is substituting toys and bones for your hands and toes. Keep some toys close at hand for when your dog starts to get nippy and tries to nibble at you; you’re redirecting their brain to want to have their mouths on toys, not your skin. You can teach them to play tug of war so that their mouths are in use for play, but aren’t all over you!
As an added bonus, don’t forget to introduce your pup to new doggy buddies so that they can get all of their roughhousing and energy out, rather than saving it all up for you.
If you’re still having trouble teaching your pup to not bite after trying out these tips, you should call a professional puppy trainer in Los Angeles to help you. They’re kind, patient, smart, and ready to help make sure you and your furry friend are on the same page. No one says you need to do this alone; reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to help!