December 20, 2010

Training a puppy can be a daunting task for any new owner. One of the most aggravating and difficult aspects of this is puppies’ tendencies to bite. As puppies, the biting doesn’t normally cause injury, but if you continually allow your pup to bite, these traits could transfer into adulthood. Early training prevents bad habits and, as the saying goes, it is often hard to “teach an old dog new tricks.”

When your puppy is biting, commanding him to “stop” or giving a sharp “no!” may work at times, but there are other ways to curb this behavior.

Puppies are used to playing with their littermates, which includes biting and chasing. When you bring your puppy home, he assumes that you and your family are his new littermates and will treat you the same. Be aware that this behavior is a type of play, not overt aggression. All puppies have an urge to chew on things, and they will need appropriate toys to chew, instead of your hands.

First, never let your puppy “play” bite on your hands as he must be taught from the beginning that biting is not acceptable. You must assert your leadership over the pup from the start. Secondly, built up energy can cause pups to ignore your commands, so be sure to give him plenty of exercise.

One technique is to “yelp” and say “ouch” just as a littermate would do if another got too rough. After this, say “no bite!” or a similar term of instruction so the puppy begins to learn what is not allowed.

Finally, discourage your family from activities that encourage biting such as tug-of-war or chasing and tackling. Tug-of-war is a game that should only be played once a puppy understands your authority ad leadership.

While deterring puppy biting may be frustrating, being calm and gentle with puppies influences them to act the same.

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