There are lots of reasons that puppies bite. You might experience excited biting, attention biting, overtired biting or what feels like aggressive biting.
In this blog we’ll explore the reasons why your puppy is biting, and crucially, what you can to stop it!
Table of Contents
Why do puppies bite and mouth?
Puppies bite because they’re dogs! They’re not biting to be horrible, because they’re trying to be dominant or aggressive. It’s a normal way for dogs to interact.
If you see a litter of puppies playing together, they don’t take any prisoners! They’ll be leaping all over each other, biting tails and pulling ears and ragging on each other.
We need to teach your puppy that it’s not appropriate to bite a person’s clothes or skin.
Is puppy biting a phase?
Your puppy won’t grow out of biting, unless you teach them what to do instead!
Ignoring puppy biting doesn’t work!
In fact, it usually encourages your puppy to up the ante. They might start barking, jumping higher or biting harder. This escalation is an attempt to get your attention.
When you become more animated as your puppy bites you, their enthusiasm only escalates.
To stop puppy biting, we need to look at the reasons why they might be biting!
5 common reasons for puppy biting
- They want attention
- They want to play
- They’re overexcited
- They’re overtired and fighting sleep!
- They’re suffering with teething pain
Puppy teething starts at around 15 weeks old. Frozen carrots or a clean face cloth popped in the freezer can give your puppy some welcome relief from sore gums and teeth.
You can also offer your puppy age appropriate chews to give them something legal to bite!
Puppy biting hands and feet
Movement can trigger excitement in puppies. If you find yourself having your hands and feet bitten by your puppy – it’s often the movement that leads to this.
Dressing gowns and slippers can be very appealing to your puppy! But we also often get very excited, animated and squeaky when we play with our puppies – which only encourages higher arousal and less self control.
You can use a long puppy toy to redirect your puppy’s excitement onto a more appropriate victim!
Try to keep your tugs a little more gentle and movement of the toy slower to lower your puppies arousal and keep the game slow and steady.
How to stop puppy biting
Keep the rules about puppy biting super clear – this rule must be very black and white. Don’t let the boundaries slip and mistakenly encourage your puppy to play with you using their teeth during this stage in their life.
Avoid wrestling and overexciting play, so your puppy isn’t amped up. An overexcited puppy will often nip which hurts A LOT! But you already know that, it’s why you’re here!
When your dog is older, has self control and understands the boundaries, you can wrestle and play with more excitement.
Choosing the right puppy toys for play
Not just any puppy toy will do! I’ll be honest, most puppy toys are too short – putting your hands right in front of your puppy’s mouth.
Hard rope toys are often the other option, or a rubbery toy. These textures aren’t ideal, as your puppy’s gums are still soft and their teeth are still developing.
Puppies have poor coordination at this stage in their life, and their teeth are needle sharp! If you get the texture of your puppy toy wrong, your puppy is more likely to redirect their play onto your skin or clothes.
Choose a slightly longer toy with a soft bite area – like these puppy toys from Tug-E-Nuff. The added bonus is your back will thank you for it, the super long bungee handle takes the strain out of play.
Puppy hyper and biting at night
The most likely reason your puppy is hyper and biting at night is they’re overtired.
Common signs your puppy is overtired are:
- Unable to listen
- Unable to settle
- Big, wide hyper eyes
Puppies need a lot of sleep. 18-20 hours of sleep when they’re young. Often owners fall into the trap of an overtired puppy.
An overtired puppy is much like an overtired toddler; wired, fidgety, manic and a nightmare to deal with!
Playing with a toy is not the solution to a tired puppy’s biting. Your puppy needs some quiet time to calm down and take a snooze.
Try giving your puppy a chew or pop them in their crate or sleep area to wind down. Chewing is a natural dog behaviour and it releases dopamine which makes your puppy feel good.
What age does a puppy stop biting?
Your puppy won’t naturally stop biting, you need to teach your puppy what’s appropriate and acceptable behaviour. Why not enrol in our puppy training course now, and get started with raising your pup to be an awesome companion (who knows exactly how to behave).
If you need more help in the meantime, download our free puppy biting guide + webinar below.