Teaching a puppy not to bite is a necessity because it teaches him to control the strength of his jaw and thus indirectly learns self-control.
As you now know, it is important to understand the cause of the unwanted behaviour to suppress it. You should also know that chewing is a natural part of a puppy’s life.
Indeed, just like a child, the puppy discovers the world first with his mouth and will chew everything he finds on his way. Moreover, the puppy needs to chew to strengthen and stimulate his jaw.
However, as I mentioned above, it is necessary to control this behaviour to not become problematic later on.
And even if we would tend to say that chewing is a juvenile attitude, which will pass with time, if it is not controlled, the puppy, when he becomes an adult dog, will not be able to manage this “force” and will be able, indirectly and unconsciously, to hurt other people.
How to teach a puppy not to bite?
The best way to teach a puppy not to bite is to “imitate” dogs’ attitude among themselves and especially the attitude of the mother during the first weeks of her puppies’ life: this is called learning to inhibit biting.
It consists of making the puppy integrate the following notion: “I bite too hard = I am excluded from the group”. Ignorance being the strongest sanction for a dog, and the latter being opportunistic by nature, he will avoid attitudes that lead to exclusion and will favour attitudes that lead to interaction, whether with his fellow dogs or his humans.
You will see that “copying” and continuing a learning process that your puppy has already had during his first weeks of life will be very effective and will echo in him. So don’t hesitate to reinforce the learning started by the mother.
To be more precise, here is how the mother proceeded: when one of the puppies bit too hard on another puppy of the litter, following the little cry made by the bitten puppy, the mother intervened and placed the “biting” puppy out of bed.
Therefore, concretely, you should act as follows if your puppy starts to bite you:
At the moment of the “bite”, give a warning signal such as “ouch” or “heh”.
Then ignore your puppy completely: don’t look at him, don’t touch him, don’t talk to him.
If he insists, turn your back or leave the room.
If he follows you and continues to try to bite you, give him a “command” to calm down, such as “sit” or “down”.
As soon as your puppy has calmed down and stopped biting, reward him warmly and offer him all the attention he was looking for by adopting this behaviour.
Be careful, though; if your puppy systematically adopts this attitude, it may be that he has understood that it works and/or that he is bored. So make sure you have a consistent attitude daily and especially that you meet his spending needs.
Additional tips for teaching your puppy not to bite you
Tip #1: All family members must be consistent. If one accepts and the other refuses, it won’t be clear in your puppy’s head. So you all need to act the same way when dealing with your puppy’s unwanted behaviour. Similarly, if you want to prohibit chewing, you must prohibit all chewing and not laugh at some or follow up with a play session after a chew. In which case, you will reinforce the bad behaviour your puppy is doing.
Tip #2: Don’t hesitate to anticipate your pet’s quarter-hour of madness by giving him an adapted toy that he can chew on as he pleases. Remember, chewing is a natural and necessary behaviour for puppies.
Tip #3: The best way to teach your puppy to manage his biting is to have him meet other well-balanced dogs who will know how to “put him back in his place” when he gets out of hand. Be careful, however, to offer your puppy quality encounters with other dogs so that there are no unpleasant surprises and that this does not lead to a bad experience for your puppy. That’s why I insist on choosing balanced dogs, preferably adult and being used to the possible relentlessness of a puppy during these meetings.
Tip #4: Be the one to initiate contact with your puppy. Teach your puppy from a very young age that you are the one who decides when to play, when to pet, etc. Moreover, this training teaches him to manage his frustration and integrate that “giving up is winning”. Indeed, for example, if your puppy comes to you asking to be petted or to play (by bringing you his ball, for example), don’t answer his request right away, ignore him (don’t talk to him, don’t look at him, don’t touch him: basically, turn your back on him) and when he’s moved on to something else: call him to propose an activity. And just as you initiate the beginning, you must also initiate the end of each moment you offer your doggie.
Tip #5: Don’t wait until “it gets old”. I repeat it, but it is very important because your puppy could consider this chewing behaviour normal and accepted by everyone, so why stop?
Finally, teach your puppy to “stop” or “leave it” in a positive way to control his moments of excitement. To do this, all you need to do is to first create the following conditioning in your puppy: “you leave” = treats. First, it is important to do this conditioning in an environment with little stimulation and, therefore, with as few distractions as possible. Then, once each step is acquired, we will complicate the exercises (with a piece of cheese not to be eaten, a ball to be passed, etc.).
Dog training, all the answers to your questions :
Giving a command
The sit command
The lying down command
The give or drop command
The give paw command
The stay command
Barking on command
Fetch an object
Rewarding your dog
Learning not to jump on people
Walking on a leash
Teaching your dog to cross the road
Teaching your dog to play dead
Welcoming a puppy
Socializing your dog
Housebreaking your puppy
Housebreaking your dog
Training a deaf dog
The clicker training method
How to punish your dog?
Does your dog dig holes?
Is your dog dominant: a myth?