Puppies are adorable, but they are a lot of work. Unless you are the dog whisperer, you will have to do a lot of work in training your new puppy to not go to the bathroom inside the house, not chew up the furniture or valuable items in the home and, of course, to not bite you or others in your home. It is no easy feat to train a puppy not to bite, but it can be done.
These 6 simple tips can give you the solutions you need to teach your puppy that it is not okay to bite:
1. Hand them a Teething Toy
Teething toys are not just for babies. Puppies are literally baby dogs, and when they feel the urge to bite, one excellent way of getting them to bite something other than a person is through teething toys. It is all about redirection. Use the toys as a way to get your puppy engaged but also to avoid contact with your hands. Play a game of fetch with your dog so that you are throwing toys away from you while engaging in fun activity with your puppy. Many trainers suggest playing tug of war with your puppy by pulling back and forth with the dog using one of the dog’s chew toys. The puppy will learn that the back and forth game is fun but controlled by the human at the other end of the toy. Just be sure to keep the game controlled and stop playing if it gets out of hand or causes the dog to be overly aggressive.
2. Do a Little Online Research
Online training programs exist to offer quick and accessible advice to dog owners looking to train an unruly puppy. Doggy Dan, the Online Dog Trainer, is one resource available to frustrated puppy owners looking to find the right way to train their dog. Doggy Dan is one of New Zealand’s most trusted dog experts as he utilizes methods that avoid yelling or aggressive physical tactics. The pricing is more reasonable than most in-person dog training facilities, and his personable approach makes the learning interesting as well as productive.
3. Be Consistent
No matter what method you do use, it is very important to stay consistent. Similar to working on behavior management with a young child, if you say no to one action be sure that you consistently keep that “no” if this action or behavior occurs again in the future. Otherwise, the puppy will not remember that when he tries to nip at your hand and you respond with a loud but firm “no,” that behavior is unwanted or “bad.” Speak in a tone that would be clear to anyone or anything that you are not pleased and be firm. Make sure, however, that the next time the same or a similar situation occurs, you are reacting in the same manner.
4. Ignore and Move Away
Time outs and social isolation from your puppy can also be an effective form of discipline for biting. If you find your dog biting in unwanted situations, experts say to say “no” in a firm voice and walk away, ignoring the dog. Dogs crave love and affection. It may seem silly to ignore your own dog as if he or she is just like another disruptive toddler. When you have had the appropriate time apart, be sure to then show your dog some love so that he or she knows that all is well at that point. The time out does not have to be long.
5. Time for Good Behavior
Just as you need to be firm and consistent when saying no to your dog, you also need to be consistent and ensure that you are rewarding your puppy when doing something good or correctly. If your dog looks like he or she is about to bite, but stops before doing it, be sure to reward with a “good dog!” or friendly pat the head. Dog treats also work well in situations like these. It is important you show your dog you are the one in charge, but it is equally important for you to show your puppy your love.
6. Leave a Bad Taste in Their Mouth
For many dogs, a firm “no” will simply not do the trick. Some motivation has to exist to make the dog not want to bite an object or person. Use a taste deterrent spray. Several options exist including tea tree oil, white vinegar and bitter apple. If you are not particularly into buying a product you may not have at home, try using a little Vick’s Vapor Rub on your hands. Be prepared for your hands to smell for a while, but the smells will do the trick. Spray the taste deterrent on the clothes your puppy enjoys playing rough with. If your puppy starts to bite you, simply stay where you are and anticipate the reaction to the taste deterrent. Do this over time until your dog slowly learns that it is not okay to bite. Be sure, however, to wash your hands. No one wants to eat dinner with their hands tasting like bitter apple spray. That would definitely ruin your meal.