Puppy Biting: survival tips

Puppies…those adorable little piranhas 😆 Nothing quite prepares you for living with puppy biting. It’s probably the most common question I get, even though I have truly great clients who do their research and prepare for their pup’s arrival ahead of time, they are often still convinced that THEIR puppy’s biting is quite extreme. IT’S NOT.

But wow are those teeth sharp 😬 They tear clothing and skin. And early evening witching hour biting is truly next level. You can see it coming on – pupper’s eyes suddenly glaze over and before you have time to react, you are under attack. Your sweet furbaby has left the building. If he were a cartoon character his eyes would be doing that crazy spiral thing.

The good news is that this is normal and will pass by the time your pup is done teething at around 6 months of age. Until then, best accept that you are living with a land shark 🦈 But there ARE things you can do to help make this phase a little easier:

  • Dress for success around your puppy! Baggy, stretchy, flowy clothing will attract MORE biting. Those sweatpants and PJ bottoms we’ve all been wearing for the last year under lockdown? Ditch them in favour of more structured clothing.
  • Be prepared. Have things handy to redirect your puppy to. Find a chew they like or a toy that works. Have the youngest members of the household carry a drag toy: anything long enough that will drag along the floor beside them as they move around the puppy’ s area will help direct biting away from tender little ankles and toes and onto the toy. A baby blanket or towel can work in a pinch.
  • Avoid overreacting/discipline. Getting excited and annoyed and frustrated will only make things worse. Stay calm. Take deep breaths 🧘‍♀️Stay still. Redirect. Refocus them with some training. Your puppy cannot control this (yet), don’t get mad at him for bing a puppy.
  • Recognize and prevent overstimulation. Does your puppy turn into Teeth-With-Feet after play, having visitors or being outside? That’s a sign that they need some quiet time to rest. Try to be proactive and set them up with a good chew or loaded Lickimat before they become hard to manage.
  • Use confinement. If puppy needs to rest and calm down don’t be afraid to use their confinement space (pen or crate). Provide them with something wonderful to do there to maintain a positive association; it’s not intended as punishment – you’re just trying to create a calm environment to help them settle.
  • Make sure your puppy is getting enough sleep. Tired puppies bite MORE. Pups between 8 and 14 weeks need at around 18 hours of sleep daily.

 

Puppies may also be extra-bitey if they are tired, hungry, need to poop, frustrated or bored. This is just communication, not aggression. Learn to listen to your puppy’s needs, stay calm and try to remain compassionate, even when you are feeling like human chew-toy 🐶❤️

 

We offer online training and virtual consultations for behaviour issues!