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Any suggestions on how to stop puppy mouthing and play biting?

asked 2015-08-24 16:34:22 -0500

Our 12 week old puppy is very energetic and when she plays she mouths a lot and sometimes her "play" bite hurts. Any suggestions to stop this behavior?

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I agree with all the folks who say "ow" or "ouch" and stop playing. This also works with rabbits.

Dee A.'s profile image Dee A.  ( 2015-08-27 21:59:30 -0500 ) edit

Dont use your hands as a play toy. Only play with toys. They'll associate hands with toys forever and then always wanna bite. And yes, when they do bite the hand, always scream by saying a key word. Always use one word so it's consistent. But definitely stop using your hands as toys. Play only with toys.

Anibel S.'s profile image Anibel S.  ( 2015-08-31 00:45:56 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2015-08-24 17:51:36 -0500

I tried a lot of methods with my dog when she was a puppy, but the best way to show that it hurt us was to stop whatever we were doing (playing) and walk away from her. So anytime she play bites you say OW! and get up and walk away for a few minutes. It stops the play so she wont want to do it again!

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Thanks! I found out your advice works. I turn & walk away whenever she gets all riled up with playing & starts biting.

Evangeline C.'s profile image Evangeline C.  ( 2015-08-28 17:24:15 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2015-08-26 14:02:04 -0500

A high pitched OUCH is usually best. Puppies usually play fight with their litter mates and learn pretty quickly what sounds mean they need to cut it out and be more gentle. Avoiding hand play altogether is also pretty helpful -- use toys instead! The older a dog gets the more frightening/painful its biting can be especially to a small child or someone who is a little nervous around dogs. If they think its okay to chew even gently it can seriously damage their relationship with people who aren't so comfortable with that!

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The ouch doesn't work for her. She gets more excited & bite more when I let out a loud yelp. But turning my back & walking away works. She's more calm when I get back to her a few minutes later.

Evangeline C.'s profile image Evangeline C.  ( 2015-08-28 17:26:13 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2015-08-28 14:19:56 -0500

Puppies need to chew, just like babies. Provide lots of chew toys. Don't play tug or any games that encourage potential aggression. Make sure your fur baby gets lots of walks and exercise. Work with teaching "fetch". When you get nipped say "Ouch!" and when giving a treat say "Be Gentle" When your puppy takes a treat gently "Praise, praise, praise". Praise for everything your puppy does "right or correctly". And, most of all be patient.

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answered 2015-08-27 19:08:41 -0500

Usually I just say "OUCH!" and remove my hand will do the job but if you really hate the "bite play" you can spray some bitter apple or tree tea oil on your hand so that the puppy doesn't chew on your hand.

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answered 2015-08-26 13:49:52 -0500

You have to teach your puppy bite inhibition. Meaning that they can control how forceful their bite is. Never allow a puppy to chew on your hands, even if it does not hurt. When a puppy is play biting you or even accepting a treat from your hand, say OUCH and remove your hand until it bites gently. Repetition is the key in teaching anything to a puppy. Do it over and over and over and he will finally get that he has to bite softer to get what he wants.......the treat or you.

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answered 2015-08-25 13:01:56 -0500

One of my customers say that bones help with his play biting. I would recommend a treat toy to burn out some of his energy and keep their mouth busy.

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answered 2015-08-26 13:45:01 -0500

When your puppy starts to bite when you're playing with her, try putting a toy in her mouth. That should teach her that it's okay to bite those things, and not hands.

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answered 2015-08-28 19:48:58 -0500

I do two things. First, I yelp (I don't say "ouch," I actually making a yelping sound). That is usually plenty to get my puppy's attention, then I stop all excitement for a few seconds or go back to what I was doing. I don't usually turn away or pull my hand away necessarily because this can trigger her to chase it. Second, what I recently started doing was teaching her a "stop" command (you can also do "leave it," "drop it," or "be gentle") and giving her a treat when she lets go of my hand. (In the beginning, you can have a treat in your other hand and wave it in front of her nose to trigger her to let go as you say the command.)

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answered 2016-03-27 12:02:37 -0500

Whenever she mouths at you make a loud sound and see what she does. If she continues to mouth then get a toy to play with her or just simply walk away and come back a few minutes later.

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answered 2016-03-16 15:51:15 -0500

The "ouch" only works if you pair it with removing your attention from her. Actually turn your back to her and don't give her attention no matter what she does. If this doesn't work, e.g., she still solicits your attention, leave her sight (go to another room, go into the house and leave her alone in the yard, etc).

Use a clicker or positive reinforcement to reward her when she's being calm. She would be classified as reactive by some behavioralists, meaning, she reacts to stimuli in an undesirable manner. (Note: this does not mean she's a bad dog). Help her learn that calm behavior will be rewarded. Read, "Click it Calm" by Emma Parsons for more extensive exercises if you need more ideas than what's been posted here.

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