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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Puppy Biting: Why Won't it Stop?

Puppies, with their adorable eyes and fluffy fur, quickly capture our hearts, but the transition from a sweet bundle of joy to what feels like an "angry land shark" can be unexpectedly challenging. Dealing with persistently puppy biting can be frustrating, leaving pet owners searching for solutions. However, understanding that there might be underlying reasons for puppy biting, is the key to finding effective solutions.

So let's explore the 5 root causes behind puppy biting so that you can curb this behavior and fostering a more harmonious relationship with your furry companion.

Puppy biting


1. Your Puppy is Tired: Puppies, much like us, experience fatigue! If your pup is persistently biting, it might be an indication that they are excessively tired and require some rest. Similar to an overly fatigued toddler, puppies may resort to biting as a means of signaling their need for a nap. Establishing a structured schedule for your puppy, encompassing designated times for naps, play, potty breaks, and feeding, can contribute to a more predictable routine. This not only assists your puppy in understanding what to expect but also enables you to anticipate when they require rest. Additionally, ensuring your puppy has a calm and secluded place to nap is crucial; their crate should be situated away from the most bustling areas of the house.

2. Your Puppy is Overstimulated: Puppies arrive with batteries at full throttle – always on the move, exploring, and occasionally letting their exuberance tip into a bit of mischief, including biting. In moments of heightened arousal or excessive excitement, biting can emerge as an outlet for their surplus energy. To navigate these situations, it's beneficial to redirect your puppy's focus towards a more serene activity. Encourage them to engage in calming pursuits like chewing on a bone or exploring a lick mat. These soothing activities work wonders to ease their excitement, channeling their energy into a positive and constructive outlet.

3. Your Puppy is Frustrated: Much like us, puppies can experience frustration when their desires go unmet or their attempts at communication fall short. When faced with frustration, puppies may resort to biting as a means of expressing their discontent. The crucial step in managing this behavior is to identify the root cause of their frustration, whether it's a misplaced ball or a need for attention. Addressing the issue head-on is essential. By improving communication with your puppy, you can help mitigate their tendency to bite. Pay close attention to your puppy's cues and observe their body language. Over time, this awareness will enable you to better anticipate these moments, allowing you to intervene and prevent biting behaviors effectively.

4. You are Accidentally Reinforcing the biting: At times, we unintentionally strengthen biting behavior. If your puppy engages in biting, and even if they receive negative attention, they might perceive it as a way to garner notice. This attention could take various forms, such as saying "no," expressing discomfort, pushing them away, making noise, or employing punishments. From a puppy's perspective, any interaction, even if disapproving, reinforces their behavior by providing attention. If a particular behavior consistently results in attention or reinforcement, the puppy is likely to persist in that behavior. Consistency in responses is crucial. Redirecting their focus to an appropriate toy and avoiding rough play helps convey the message that biting is not the desired form of interaction. Engaging in rough play during their early stages may inadvertently communicate that hands are fair game, fostering a habit that is challenging to break.

5. They are Just Being a Puppy: Puppies biting is a normal and essential part of their developmental journey. This behavior serves various purposes, reflecting their natural instincts and need for exploration. During the teething phase, biting helps soothe their sore gums, much like human babies. Additionally, biting plays a crucial role in their play and socialization, allowing them to interact with littermates and develop vital social skills. Through playful biting, puppies learn the appropriate pressure for their bites, a key aspect of communication within the canine community. Understanding these aspects can assist pet owners in effectively managing and embracing this normal phase of puppyhood.

In conclusion, approaching puppy biting with a blend of understanding and patience creates a positive environment for your furry companion's growth and well-being. Consistent training is the key, paving the way for your puppy to transition from this phase into a well-mannered adult dog. With time, dedication, and a supportive approach, you'll witness the transformation of your energetic pup into a delightful and obedient canine companion.

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