Who doesn’t love the sight of a cute puppy? But how many of us enjoy their sharp teeth?! It is a well known fact that puppies like to use their teeth in various ways. In this blog we look at why do puppies bite.

Part of the pack

Right from the moment they are born, puppies mouths are busy. Latching onto mum to be fed, and discovering who is in their litter. They will also discover and learn about their own bodies with their mouths. By the time they have groen up enough to leave the litter and their mum, their mouths have done a lot of work and they are used to using them.

New arrival

You may find that once your puppy arrives home with you, they are keen to play and bite your hands, fingers and other exposed parts of you. But why do puppies bite? This is a follow on from what they did with their litter. You may find that this follows a time pattern each day that was established in the litter.

What can you do for a puppy who bites?

Puppies teeth can be extremely sharp so you don’t want your puppy hurting you or other family members. Make sure to have appropriate chew toys available for your puppy. When he wants to play and chew, offer these to him instead of your fingers or hands. Try to avoid yelping or making loud noises if he does bite you, as this may signal positivity to him! Swap in the chew toy calmly and without fuss. The sooner you introduce these items, the more he will get used to chewing them and not you. Try not to tell your puppy off if he does bite or nip you. He is not trying to hurt you and doesn’t understand how sharp his teeth are. Biting is very normal during the teething stage, just the same as with toddlers, so having chew toys handy will help with this. And like toddlers, this is just a phase.

You can play tug games with your puppy using appropriate tug toys. Soft ones are best initially. It’s a great way to focus his biting and spend time bonding with him. But make sure he doesn’t think that any slippers or socks left lying around are also an ok tug toy! The best thing to do is remove any tempting items that you don’t want chewed or played with.

Establishing a good routine with your puppy is a good start to minimising biting. If your puppy has time when he can play and pull with his toys, he will learn that biting your hands or ankles isn’t appropriate. After he has had a good play he should then sleep. 

Remember that puppies biting is a very normal part of their puppy stage. And that most puppies, with a good routine and consistent behaviour expectations grow out of biting. 

Read our other puppy blogs here

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How much sleep does my puppy need?

How to socialise your puppy

21 Top Tips for a New Puppy