Tips for Teaching Your Puppy to Stop Nipping

Bringing home a new puppy is exciting, but it is also hard work, as you teach your puppy the right way to behave in your home. One common problem new puppy families face is nipping. It’s natural for puppies to nip, since that is how they explore the world, but that behavior quickly becomes problematic if your pup doesn’t learn to stop before he or she becomes a bigger dog. Make sure veterinarian is part of your puppy’s life from the start, as your vet can offer advice about what behaviors are common, or normal, and can make referrals for behavioral training services if necessary. You can work on breaking your puppy’s nipping habit at home with this advice.

Copy Natural Dog Behavior

When puppies play with each other and with other older dogs, they learn bite inhibition through the reactions of the other dogs they are nipping at. If one dog mouths another too forcefully during play, the other dog will yelp, forcing the first dog to change his or her behavior, otherwise the game is over. You can mirror that behavior at home. When your puppy nips too hard, go limp and let out a loud yelping sound. Don’t play with your puppy for 10 to 15 seconds, and then resume the game. If he or she bites too hard again, repeat the process. This teaches your dog that gentle play is fine but he or she will lose your attention for aggressive nipping.

Redirect Attention

You may wish to teach your puppy that his or her teeth never belong on human skin, even during play. In this case, redirect your pup’s attention any time he or she tries to nip at you. Avoid your dog’s mouth and provide a chew toy anytime he or she wants to bite you. The toy gives your dog something to chew instead of your hand. If your pup nips at your ankles, keep a toy in your pocket to redirect biting when you walk.

Talk to your veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group anytime you have questions about your new puppy’s health. We also offer dog spay and neuter services, dental care, and more. Schedule an appointment for your puppy today by dialing (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas or by dialing (972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney.

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