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Bluegrass Bernedoodle Blog

Puppy Biting/Jumping - Tips & Tricks for New Puppy Owners

Puppies are adorable, but there are some behaviors that aren’t so adorable. Puppy teething can be one of them. All 28 baby teeth generally have come in by around 8 weeks. Their baby teeth begin to fall out at about 12 weeks and by 16 weeks their adult teeth come in. There is a lot you can do to soothe your teething puppy as well as lots of training you can do to reduce the biting/nipping too as they are wanting to make it feel better. When it comes to jumping, barking, and nipping – know that these behaviors are normal. Training your new puppy will take time and consistent effort, but it is one of the most worthwhile and rewarding journeys! In this blog post we’re going to share some training tips from Baxter & Bella and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Why is my New Puppy Nipping Me or My Child?

At 7 weeks old, puppies have been weened and their Mama has gone home to their guardian family. At this point, puppy hierarchy inside the pack begins to develop rapidly. They use their mouths to establish the pecking order inside their pack. This is normal behavior because they're pack animals. They are not being malicious or trying to hurt each other, they're just trying to show each other who's the boss. Once they go home, this behavior will continue in their new pack - your family.

They are not trying to hurt you or your kiddos, but they are are not playing. They have a purpose and are primarily seeking a reaction. If they have purpose the nipping will be persistence. This is why it's so important to be more persistent in your training. Remember, you are the TRAINER not the TRAINEE. If you're not training, they are training you.

What's the Difference in Nipping/Biting and Chewing?

Chewing is more of a teething response. This generally increases around 12 weeks, after they begin losing their baby teeth. Think of a teething baby, they are going to want harder things to chew on. The stuffed animal toys are not going to sooth their gums. Scroll down for a list of appropriate things to give your puppy when they're teething.

How do I Handle Puppy Biting/Nipping?

One of the best things to do is quickly redirect this behavior to something preferred, such as a game of (fetch or tug), an activity (practicing sitting to say please), or a training session, moving your dog’s attention away from unwanted behaviors by redirecting focus onto something else and taking charge. Use treats and toys to help teach your dog what is wanted, what is appropriate, and how to win!

Similarly if your puppy uses their teeth when taking a treat, stop, pull your hand back and try again by slowly lowering your hand in a flat position and they only receive their reward (treat) once they back off (We call this ONLY IF YOU ARE NICE game) Ultimately, your puppy will learn to use their tongue so they can have a treat. Take the time to be consistent in your interactions / trainings and your puppy will learn more quickly.

Play this Game Daily to Reduce Biting/Nipping

For example, during puppy biting, rather than becoming frustrated, get treats, capture your dog’s attention, wait for them to sit, mark “YES!” and reward. Then take 5 steps away and repeat, helping your dog begin to form a new habit. Play this game 3-5 times per day and 3-5 minutes each time – teaching him biting doesn’t work, but sitting does!

Often times we give attention to things we don’t want our puppy to do and get stuck in the “NO” loop of us saying “NO” over and over – this will frustrate you and your puppy. Instead, show your dog what to do and how they can win. The more you get on the “YES!” loop, the better your training will become!

It’s important to understand that dogs don’t come with patience. They see what they want and they want it right now. Learning to wait for something is an important life lesson. Once they learn waiting gets them what they want, it is a game changer! Baxter & Bella shows you how to teach your puppy patience and impulse control. These qualities lead to better behavior around exciting things like children, other dogs, or outside distractions.

How to Teach Your Puppy that Biting Means “Game Over”

If your puppy bites you while playing, that means playtime is over, with no exceptions. Yelling at or physically punishing your puppy, as strange as it sounds, is also a type of reward. It teaches them that biting gets some kind of response from you, which is known as positive punishment. This can also make them fearful of being handled. Instead, teach them that biting will get them nothing. Kathy Santo, dog training and columnist for AKC Family Dog, suggests turning around and tucking your hands into your armpits.

Sometimes a biting puppy is really an over-tired puppy, and they need to be put in a quiet space or crate to take a nap. Other times, they may need a potty break, or may just be hungry or thirsty. Taking a quiet time break can be helpful for you and your puppy. Gently put your puppy in their crate to give them a chance to calm down and prevent them from biting. (Related Blog Post: Crate Training a Puppy) It’s very important to make sure that they don’t learn to associate the crate with punishment so be calm. You can even give them a treat while they’re in their crate. An easy treat idea: put some peanut butter in a kong and keep it in the freezer, get it out and give it to your puppy so they have something yummy to eat/work on while in their crate. This also helps them understand that their crate it like their own room, it’s a safe and fun place to rest and enjoy.

Recommended Chew Toys to Give Your Puppy:

The chewing gives you the opportunity to set the precedent of what they're allowed to chew on and what they cannot chew on. It’s a great idea to keep multiple chew toys on hand at all times, so you can anticipate chewing behavior and substitute the toy for your belongings, furniture, baseboards, steps, or anything down low on their level. Doing this will let your puppy know what is OK to chew.

What should I give my puppy that's teething?

  • BeneBone Dog Chew Toy - they love these and it lasts a long time

  • Mix a bit of peanut butter and kibble and freeze in a Kong

  • Kong has a small bone that's made specifically for teething puppies

  • Large frozen carrot - great for teething puppies!

  • Wet frozen dish towel can sooth their teeth too

How Do I Prevent Chewing on my Furniture?

We love using Grannick’s Bitter Apple Taste Deterrent Spray. All you have to do is spray it directly on items they’re chewing that they shouldn’t be like shoes, clothing, pet bets, furniture, etc. This has to be generously sprayed and frequently reapplied.

How to Stop Your Puppy from Jumping

Puppies jump on you in order to get your attention, recognize this is normal new puppy behavior. If you give them any attention at all, you are reinforcing the action. We are training puppies to recognize someone in a standing position as an authority and politeness or manners is how they need to get attention. We call this SIT TO SAY PLEASE. When you're in a position on their level - seated, on the floor, or squatted down they see you as an equal. This is a playtime position. If we start petting them from a standing position before they use their manners we are confusing authority with playtime and jumping will continue. Your puppy will recognize your small children in a standing position as an authority and not jump on them. This provides a boundary of safety when puppy becomes too rambunctious while playing. As your child learns to stand up, this will stop the unwanted behavior.

Sit to say please gives your dog a form of communication that will serve them the rest of their life. A dog that can communicate with you is a content and happy dog. A dog that cannot communicate with you is an unhappy dog.

Remember: These habits weren’t created in a day, and they won’t be eliminated in a day. However consistent training on you and your families part is the key.


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