2 Free Tips to Stop Puppy Biting and Nipping

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 19, 2024

Stop Puppy Biting

For this Omaha puppy class update, Mini Aussie puppy Tank’s human learned how to stop puppy biting. Mouthing, biting, and nipping are 3 of the most common puppy behaviors because they need to learn how hard or soft to use their mouth. Later in this post we will share the best trick to stop puppy biting.

Why it’s Important to Stop Puppy Biting

Obviously nobody wants their puppy to mouth or bite them. But this is actually a really important behavior from young puppies so they learn how to calibrate how hard or soft they bite things. In the dog training world we call this developing a soft mouth or developing bite inhibition. A really important thing to know about stopping puppy biting is the lesson really needs to be taught before the puppy turns 5 months of age.

The best way to stop puppy biting is to set up play dates with other puppies that are within a similar age to your puppy; within 1 or 2 months of their age. This is important because puppies have more sensitive skin, which means they will give better feedback to the puppy that is biting them. This is by far the best way for pups to learn how to stop puppy biting. However, in puppy class we also go over another lesson to help stop puppy biting. This is a simple exercise you can use with a treat that your puppy really likes.

2 Puppy Training Tips to Stop Puppy Biting

In a recent puppy class, instructor Rachel gave a lesson on soft mouth training. Mini Aussie Tank came in full of energy and ready to learn. Because this is puppy class we went ahead and went through the lesson, even though Tank was pretty excited. But when you’re practicing this exercise with your puppy it’s usually best to practice when they are not super excited.

In the free positive puppy class training video below, Tank and his mom practice our method to stop puppy biting. It was great to see how quickly Tank learned that he would only get the treat when he used a soft mouth; licking the treat or using his lips. Once he licked his mom’s hand she’d give him the treat after saying his marker word.

As you saw in the video above, the first step in this tip to start puppy biting is to place a treat under your thumb while holding your hand out to your pup. Make sure you hold this treat at nose level. If your puppy is jumping up when you are doing some training, it usually means you’re holding the treat too high.

The puppy will try to get the treat out of your hand so keep it covered with your thumb. As soon as you feel your puppy lick or use their lips, immediately say your marker word and then release the treat. Most puppies take a little bit of time before they learn to start using their lips, this is okay.

Once your puppy figures this out, you will notice that they start licking your finger right away instead of mouthing or biting. When they do this you’re ready to introduce the cue. To do this, put another treat in your hand, cover it with your thumb and then say the word “soft” or “gentle” then extend your hand so that the treat is right in front of the puppy’s lips. When the puppy licks your hand say your marker word and then lift your thumb to let the puppy have the treat.

Summary on How to Stop Puppy Biting

  • Practice this exercise when your puppy is calm.
  • Practice in 1 minute practice sessions 3 times a day.
  • Make sure you hold your hand at the puppy’s nose level or slightly lower.
  • Be patient, it takes some puppies a little time to stop puppy biting.
  • As soon as your puppy uses their lips or licks your hand, immediately say your marker word then release the treat.
  • It’s very normal for puppies to bite, nibble, or paw at your hand to get the treat. Be patient.
  • By far the best way to stop puppy biting is setting up playdates with other young puppies.
  • Make sure these playdates don’t go too long. 5 minutes per month your puppy is aged is a good rule.
  • Don’t let your puppy play too excited. High energy play is a hard behavior to stop later.
  • If your puppy reaches 50% of their energy level, take them away from the other puppy until they calm down and then let the play resume.

If you have a puppy that bites, our puppy classes will show you how to stop it. Click here for more info or to enroll your puppy today.

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This post was written by: David Codr