You have a new puppy and he would rather chew on you than on his bone. What do you do?
First, lets look at why he’s being so rough. Puppies explore their world by using their mouths. It is normal for puppies to play with their litter mates and use their mouths, but when it carries over to you, this can lead to puppy problems.
When puppies are young, they learn how much pressure is ok to use when playing by the reactions of their mother and their litter mates. Playing puppies will bite ears, necks, paws, tails, anything they can. Then all of a sudden you hear, “iey, iey, ieeeyyy” and you know that someone has bitten too hard. The puppy who was bitten will then walk off and refuse to play for awhile.
The yelp tells the other puppy that it has gotten too rough, and since he’s too rough, playtime is over. Because dogs are social animals, this correction stops the behavior. By spending a few months with his litter mates, this puppy will learn what is good play and what is bad play.
So how does this work for me?
By using the same kind of actions, you can teach your puppy not to bite in the same way his litter mates do. When your puppy starts to get rough and bites down, let out a high pitched shriek (you want it to be loud enough that he stops in his tracks). Quickly give him a toy to chew on instead. If he is still being obnoxious, fold your arms and ignore the puppy for a few minutes, or get up and leave the room. This will tell him that if he can’t play nice, then you won’t play at all.
It is important to not play games with your puppy that entice him to bite you or become aggressive. These include tug-of-war, chase and tackle, or waving your hands in front of our puppy’s mouth.
If yelping and walking away doesn’t work, you can try another technique. Use the same method as above, yelp loudly and if he is still trying to bite, scruff him and give him a firm (not violent) shake and tell him, “no bite.” Eventually, you should just be able to use the command without scruffing him. If you puppy is still being aggressive, you may want to consult your veterinarian or your dog trainer to help you find a technique that will work for your puppy.