Ouch! Your puppy's needle teeth are sharp. How do you keep your puppy from biting your hands and feet?
Here are a few professional dog training tips to keep your puppy's teeth off your hands, feet, kids, and clothing.
- Start with positive reinforcement. When you hear the words "positive reinforcement," you may think "treats." Positive reinforcement is about giving your puppy something he or she wants so a behavior you like will continue. In this case, your puppy wants to play with you. When your puppy bites gently, or bites a toy instead of biting you, continue playing. A rule of thumb is to continue playing with your puppy if the bites don't cause marks, tear clothing or break skin. Otherwise, take a break and try again when your puppy is calm.
- If your puppy starts to bite hard, say "Ouch" in a quiet voice, and stop interacting with her for a few seconds. Removing your attention is negative reinforcement, or taking something away to discourage a behavior. When your puppy stops biting, give her attention and/or a treat.
- Use a tether or leash to gently keep your puppy away from your hands and feet. Tethers are an easy way to control your puppy's access to you. If your puppy starts to bite, quietly say "Ouch" and step outside the reach of the tether. Your puppy must be supervised at all times while on a tether. You can also use a leash to keep your puppy away from your hands and feet. Hold the leash in one hand and loop it around a nearby solid object. Without pulling on the leash, give your puppy the short end of leash as you quietly walk a few steps away.
- If all else fails, consult with a professional dog trainer to help correct the behavior. A qualified dog trainer can help you set up rules for how your puppy should interact with people and other animals. Dog trainers have additional techniques and tools to help you train your pup how not to bite.
It can be frustrating when your pup is biting at everything that moves! Don't give up if it takes a little while for your puppy to learn to stop biting you. The goal is to help your puppy learn how to control herself in exciting situations where she may feel like biting. You can always take a break from your puppy by offering her a chew toy, stuffed Kong, or other distraction in her crate or on a tether.