Training Puppy not to Bite

Games Dogs Play

In the canine world there are games that dogs get to play with other dogs. 

These games are :  WRESTLING.  CHASING   and   TUG OF WAR…..

These are all normal healthy activities for dogs learning how to interact with other dogs…. however they all involve dogs using their teeth. . These are games are great for dogs to play with other dogs, but it is a real problem when it is involving humans…. Our human skin is not designed to deal with canine teeth.

It is not advisable for Humans to play these games with dogs especially when you have very young children.

Differences Between Two Legs and Four Legs

Pups will often start play biting once they have settled into their new home. They may also chase after your legs and grab your socks or trousers to play tug-of-war. Thee pup is just imitating the play that they would normally have with another dog.

However your pup needs to understand right from the beginning that he is a dog (Four Legs) and that the adults and children (even babies) are human (Two Legs).

The adults in the family must take charge and block this behaviour right from the start. Often the humans are so excited to have a new pup and allow the pup to continue with this behaviour and hope the pup will grow out of this stage, however many puppies just learn to get the upper hand by snapping and snatching. This can be very daunting for families as they are reluctant to use any form of discipline on the new baby of the house.


From the dogs point of view if you let him play the dog games with you – then you are teaching them to bite…. Once the dog has a strong understanding of this it is possible to introduce tug for a training game… however it is not one I tend to use because it is difficult for people to do this correctly… and I don’t like having dogs fixated about any game….. no fixation on balls, no fixation on toys, no fixation on food….. etc…

Deal With The Behaviour

You will see loads of advice about how you must be very gentle and perhaps re-direct the pup with a toy…  even putting your pup into “Time Out”.  These techniques might work with some pups but what do you do if this doesn’t work…. Well there are a couple of other methods you might try, however not always seen as very politically correct… however they do work and if done calmly and without emotion they do not cause your pup mental anguish.

Creating Boundaries

When pup grabs an adult human (either skin or clothing) then stop moving, ignore the puppy and give the pup a chance to release. DO NOT GET CROSS just remain firm and calm…   This is the first step in showing pup you don’t want to play his games.

When pup is biting you… there are a few options…. Firstly stop waving your hands around and saying NO NO NO it will just excite your pup.

 1. If it is your hand – then guickly make your hand into a fist and gently push it back into pups mouth – hence they back off – then keep your hand still and wait for them to perhaps lick your hand or move away….

 2. If chewing on your hand – make your other hand into a pistol shape using 1st two fingers and then while pup is busy chewing the other hand – Jab the pistol hand into the ribs of the pup, just behind the shoulder blade…. And growl an Ahhhhh! sound….. keep hands still and see what pup chooses to do…. Repeat as many times as needed making sure you go quiet in between to give pup a chance to stop and think…. In time you will just growl AHHHH! And it should work.

3. If walking and they grab your trousers – STOP and growl AHHHH…. If need be you can reach down and use your pistol hand to jab the ribcage again…. 
Hints: Sometimes if sitting on the couch and pup starts to grab my trousers or feet I use a back scratcher as an extension of your arm to push the pup and growl… Doesn’t take long and dog learns…. 


 After a correction, they will often respond with an attempt to lick your hand – the dog version of offering an apology.

If the pup is biting children, then the parents need to supervise their time together. The adult can direct the children how to behave and then the adult can step in and use the same technique to block puppy’s behaviour.

Remember – (especially with children) – your puppy is NOT to chase the children nor do you allow the children to chase the dog…. The same rule applies to Wrestling and Tug of War…. children do not have the capacity to deal with. biting puppies….


Contact Alfoxton Dog Centre to find ouT more

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