Updated: Jul 5
Nipping, chewing, and mouthy behaviors are common in puppies. They can be addressed through consistent training and positive reinforcement.
Provide appropriate chew toys:
Make sure your puppy has access to a variety of chew toys. When your puppy starts nipping, redirect their attention to a toy they are allowed to chew on. When possible, select a toy most like what they are going after. For example, if it is moving fabric like a dress, grab a fabric tug toy.
Use positive reinforcement:
Reward your puppy when they exhibit good behavior. When they refrain from nipping or chewing on inappropriate items, praise them and give them a treat. Positive reinforcement helps reinforce the desired behavior.
Socialize your puppy:
Expose your puppy to different environments, people, and other animals from an early age. If possible, sign your puppy up for a puppy play group where all puppies are up to date on the vaccine as per their age. This helps them develop good social skills and learn appropriate play behavior from other dogs.
Avoid rough play and never play chase games:
Discourage rough play with your hands or feet, as it can encourage nipping and biting behaviors. If your puppy becomes too excited during playtime and starts nipping, take a break and give them a chance to calm down. Never play any sort of game that involves you chasing the puppy.
Teach bite inhibition:
Puppies learn bite inhibition from their littermates, but it's important to continue this training at home with humans. This is especially important when rewarding the dog with treats during training. If your puppy bites too hard or gets too excited, you’ll need to spend some time teaching them how to calmly take a treat without grabbing for it.
Consistency is key in training. Make sure all family members are on the same page when it comes to addressing nipping and mouthy behaviors. Establish clear acceptable behaviors for your puppy and enforce them consistently.