This video is going to lay out a few different strategies to help puppies that bite, bark and jump for attention. But first, it’s important to note that biting in particular is a normal and natural part of your puppy’s development. Puppy biting is a social behavior, it’s their way of asking someone to play.
Biting can become more intense when a puppy is over-stimulated, frustrated and when they are over-tired. The same can be said for barking and jumping. People can sometimes encourage these behaviors in the early days and weeks that a puppy comes home because it’s hard to imagine that it could become a problem later on down the road. Puppies that are raised in a home with kids are also more likely to exhibit these high arousal behaviors as most kids are typically a little louder and more active than the average adult.
This video will discuss Teach your puppy that hands are for teaching, not for biting. Sit down with your puppy for 5-10 minutes, once or twice each day to work on calming exercises. Build a reinforcement history for calmly standing, sitting or lying down on a training mat. With repetition these are the behaviors your puppy will default to when they are asking for something they want like food, attention or playtime.
Use your puppy’s meals, and/or supplement those meals with a moist, meaty, nutritious training food that can easily be broken down into small pieces without crumbling. Don’t grab your puppy by the scruff, hold their muzzle shut or do anything else that might result in your puppy becoming apprehensive, fearful or defensive with your approaching hands. This type of advice is common, but it can also set the stage for a contentious relationship Some puppies will become hand shy and others will become combative when you address undesired behavior in an aggressive manner. Do make playtime with your puppy part of your day to day routine.
You should also put aside 2-3 special toys, like a soft tug or two squeakie tennis balls. These special toys should be saved for one on one time with you and your puppy. I usually set aside 5-10 minutes, 2 or 3 times each day for focused play sessions. Play is one of the best ways to build a stronger bond with your puppy, it will also create a healthy outlet for their playful energy that would otherwise be expressed through biting, jumping and barking.
If your puppy becomes over-stimulated in play and begins barking, biting, jumping or mouthing make a point of keeping your play sessions low key. It’s also a good idea to teach your puppy what I like to call “The 0-60 game. ” I encourage puppy parents to alternate between calming exercises on a training mat or inside an open door crate and a 30-60 second play session. Ping ponging between these two activities will teach your puppy how to regulate arousal by going from calm to excited and back to calm.
Don’t use your hands to roughhouse with your puppy. It’s usually not a problem to do this with adult dogs but puppies don’t have the same ability and regulate play, which means that they don’t know when to slow down and when to take a break. Most puppies will not understand why it’s ok to bite on hands in some situations and not in others. avoid sending mixed messages.
Regulating playful behavior is a developmental skill that takes time and maturity to learn. You can help your puppy learn this skill by giving play time a little more structure and context to play in their first year. Their “special toy, ” like a tug toy or squeaky tennis ball, will become the green light for play time while hands will be more like a yellow light that will encourage your puppy to slow down and be calm. It’s important for your puppy to have quality one-on-one time.
It’s also important for your puppy to have quality down time. Make a habit of scheduling potty breaks, training sessions, playtime and “watch the world sessions” into your puppy’s daily routine to make sure that your puppy’s physical, mental and emotional needs are being met on a daily basis. It’s also a good idea to give your puppy regular opportunities to relax or nap in a safe, gated area. Leaving your puppy to roam freely when they are unsupervised will set the stage for bad habits to develop.
Puppies that are unsupervised might eat your plant, chew on electric cords Or bite, bark and jump to get your attention when they’re feeling bored. This is why it’s so important for your puppy to have alone time in a safe, gated space when the attention is not 100% on them. You might be thinking And if you want to learn how to do that you should probably check out this video I created called “How to Crate Train Your Puppy for Separation. ” most of the training is done with an open door crate inside of a gated area.
Once your puppy is adequately conditioned to this space, it will become a valuable asset when you are making dinner, watching a movie, or making a phone call. Even if you are doing everything right there still might be times that your puppy bites, barks or jumps. You should freeze, draw your hands back to your chest … And then show your puppy what you want them to do. Practice training exercises that are incompatible with barking, biting or jumping.
If you are doing daily training exercises it should be easy for your puppy to connect the dots. Continue training for 5-10 minutes end the session with a calming activity like giving the puppy a chewie or a stuffed kong. With repetition you will find that it will become easier to prompt your puppy to offer desired behavior and that your puppy will offer these behaviors more and more in place of biting. Attempting to suppress behavior through verbal reprimands is usually ineffective.
In your first few attempts this approach might appear to “work, ” but with repetition most puppies will become desensitized to these sounds or words, or worse, It can add to the excitement of the situation and make the biting even more intense. There will be times where your puppy is so hyperactive that they will not engage in training or will return to hyperactive behavior after the training ends. If this happens it is usually a sign that the puppy is tired or overstimulated. When this happens it’s a good idea to walk the puppy into their gated area before attempting another training session.
I do this for three reasons: 1. Changing the environment can change the puppy’s mindset. 2. The puppy might associate the space with calming exercises and getting into a learning mind set faster because of that association.
3. If the puppy continues to bite I have the option of stepping onto the other side of the gate. Don’t isolate your puppy. If it’s necessary to step on the other side of the gate I will almost always sit down next to the gate and give the puppy a chewie or a stuffed KONG.
Your presence will help to promote calm behavior and this is a huge part of the training. The goal is to help your puppy learn to de-escalate and come back to calm. Leaving your puppy alone in this space when they are in a state of high arousal is likely to have the opposite effect. With more timid or insecure puppies shaker cans and spray bottles can create trust issues that can negatively impact your relationship with your dog into adulthood.
More confident puppies will develop a callous to the punishment, resulting in people using more and more aversive methods. The last problem is that these approaches work to suppress behavior, but they do nothing to teach the puppy how to work through excitement and frustration in a more constructive way. Instead, help your puppy learn how to regulate arousal by practicing the calming activities mentioned earlier. Puppy biting can be extremely frustrating hopefully the tips in this video will help you use this challenge as an opportunity to bring your puppy’s training and communication to a new level.
Keep me posted on how your training is going in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this video please consider subscribing to my youtube channel. Thanks for watching.