How to get a puppy to stop biting

Chewing puppy

There are many effective ways to train your puppy not to nip! 

Puppies have sharp teeth! Anyone that lives with a puppy knows that you need to train them not to nip, or your arms will be bruised. They’re like adorable little sharks. 

There is a lot of advice out there on how to handle sharp puppy teeth. The most significant rule is to redirect them with a toy or something safe on which to chew. 

Mimic that ‘yelp’ when you get nipped

First, it’s important to remember that your dog learned some essential rules when playing with litter mates and having a soft mouth is one of them! When you took your dog to puppy play class, and you heard that yelp of pain when a playmate grabbed too much fur is what we’re talking about. We need to mimic that ‘yelp’ when we get nipped! 

According to Dr. Yin, “It mimics the learning that should have occurred back in the litter when the pups roughhoused with their siblings and learned that a sudden yelp in pain from a playmate marks the immediate cessation of play. Humans can parrot this “yip” when they feel tooth on the skin by emitting a loud, sharp, but surprised, “Ouch!” the way you would if you unexpectedly stubbed your toe. The pup should startle and suddenly release. If they’ve learned the automatic sit, they will then sit.”

Other ways to get a puppy to stop biting

How to get a puppy to stop biting
Appropriate puppy chews and toys are part of the game!

Dr. Yin recommends the following tips: 

  • Immediately give a treat and go into the automatic sit game. 
  • Or praise the pup and then swiftly shove an appropriate chew toy in his direction. 
  • If he starts nipping again, repeat the exercise. 
  • Once he learns the routine, you can switch from the word “Ouch” to the word “Out.” Now, “out” is your new cue word for Fido to release things from his mouth. Remember always to treat.

Make Like a Tree

For dogs that don’t seem to have any sensitivity to the ‘yelp’ or ‘Ouch’ words and panic in your tone another way get a puppy to stop biting is ‘Make Like a Tree,’ which may seem silly, but it works! You have to practice these techniques at least two or three times a week to decrease the nippy play behavior. This behavior won’t just disappear without help from you! 

Our doxie, Walter, is very sound sensitive, and he reacts even when the wind blows. The ‘Ouch’ worked well for him, and he has a soft mouth now. He didn’t stay nippy after practicing this for a few weeks. We also left his X-pen area for ten seconds if we wanted him to understand that nippy behavior resulted in a safe chew toy, but his favorite human would also disappear.  

If you can stand silently like a tree, then you’ve nailed this exercise. This technique is for dogs that could care less about the urgent and loud sounding ‘Ouch.’ 

  • Every time Fido nibbles immediately stand up silently and make like a tree. 
  • Hold perfectly still and even look away so that he can see that you’re ignoring him.
  • The minute she sits or freezes for an instant, give him several sequential treats and play the automatic sit game. 
  • Or reward him and then give him a more appropriate toy to chew. 

Your puppy will quickly learn that his interactive human chew toys turn into a boring tree when nipped. This technique is also like leaving the area your puppy is hanging out in, as that also demonstrates the nippy playing makes their human BFF dull. 

We have a lot of amazing, safe puppy toys that can be used for these exercises, so please let us know if you’re interested! 

5 Toys to redirect puppies from biting

Here are a few brands we carry, ask our staff with questions.

Here are five important toys, chews and antlers that get a puppy to stop biting that they will learn to love.

  • Outward Hound: Natural chews and puzzle rope toys (Natural latex, jute & felt)
  • Tall Tails: Leather and wool chews
  • P.L.A.Y.: Honeycomb rope chew 100% cotton (machine washable and non-toxic dyes)
  • Elk Antlers: Whole or split

In addition to “How to get a puppy to stop biting,” you also may be interested in “Getting a Puppy: What You Should Know.”