One of the things that worry (and bothers) the owners the most, is that the puppy starts biting everything he finds at home: shoes, table’s and chairs’ legs, cushions, clothes... even members of the family. This is something that is considered normal in puppies at a very young age, but that should be corrected so that it does not become an annoying and dangerous habit.
In this article, we will discuss the causes that may be behind the "biting puppies" and what guidelines should be followed to prevent it from becoming a habit. Remember that you have our ethologists, canine behavior experts, to help you with everything you need.
Why does my puppy bite everything?
The reasons why a puppy can bite or chew anything that is within his reach are several:
1. Exploratory conduct
It is a behavior characteristic of the puppy. At early ages, puppies are great explorers; and one of the ways they have to recognize what is around them is using their mouths: they nibble and they grab with their teeth...
For starters, we recommend that you download DOGO app, an app to educate your puppy in an easy, step by step, positive way.
2. Early weaning
Many studies have shown that separating the puppy too soon from his mother and siblings predisposes them to have a greater tendency to bite and also to do so with greater intensity. You have to think that the puppies learn to inhibit the bite by playing with their littermates: when one bites too hard, the other puppy screams to stop the bite.
The same happens if the puppy bites his mother very hard, either while playing or sucking the tits. In this way, they teach each other to modulate the force of the bite, avoiding in the future that the dog bites in an uncontrolled and too strong when playing with other dogs and their human companions.
3. Tooth emergence
When he is a few months old, the puppy starts to get his teeth, which will later change at the age of 4 months to have the final dentition. Both stages are a bit painful and annoying for the animal, which makes them feel the need to bite objects; soft ones.
If they are accustomed since early ages to play by biting the owner's hands, that habit is created in the way of playing and interacting with people. This will result in, as they grow, that they learned a way of playing by biting the hands or feet of their owners, or anyone with whom they want to play.
Dogs turn their heads when you talk to them or when they hear a strange noise. And at that moment they look really really adorable, don't they? If you've ever wondered why they do it, you just got lucky! In this video we'll tell you about several theories that try to explain it.
How do I prevent my puppy from biting without control?
There are a series of guidelines that must be followed to help the puppy control the bites and thus prevent them from destroying things at home or nibbling us to play.
The ideal is to adopt the puppy at a suitable age, when it is between 2 and 3 months, never before (depending on whether the breeder or caregiver can do a good socialization). This is more than enough time for the little one to learn from his mother and siblings the canine body language and the inhibition of the bite.
My puppy keeps biting me aggressively
When we get home, we must prepare several soft toys that he can bite. If we offer alternative objects to our shoes, the sofa, the legs of the table and chairs... you can redirect his behavior towards those toys and reduce the damage he does to your home.
Avoid playing with your hands and feet. Sometimes it is very funny to see how the puppy follows our hands and feet when we incite him and watching him nibble at them. The problem is that the little teeth of the puppy are like small needles that stick and make cuts at us. In addition, when his jaw grows, he will have greater strength, so that the nibbling can still cause lesions and injuries. Therefore, from the first moment, it is recommended not to use any part of our body as a toy. To do this, teach the puppy to play with balls, biters, and other dog toys.
Every time the puppy bites us, we can give out a little cry. Only enough that the puppy stops biting (you do not have to scare him with the screams). As soon as he stops biting, reinforce the good behavior with a prize or by offering him a toy that he can bite, like a ball or a nylon or rope biter. Also, when he starts nibbling on us, we can say ‘No!’ with a firm voice, rewarding him as soon as he stops doing it.
When do puppies stop biting so much?
For very destructive puppies, it works very well to make them used since they are small to go inside the carriers. When you should be left alone, you can leave him in his carrier, always with water at his disposal and never for more than 4 hours. This is also very useful to avoid him peeing and pooping around the house while learning the elimination habits.
Of course, it is a learning process and, as we always say, it takes time for the puppy to learn not to bite objects in the house or the hands and feet of the owners. Therefore, be patient and do not despair while your little companion learns to control and modulate his behavior.
Borja Ros Villanueva, veterinarian and ethologist in Adetcan.
Adetcan is a project formed by two veterinary ethologists and canine educators who provide counseling, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral problems in dogs and cats. The service is at home. We are in Santiago de Compostela but we work throughout Galicia.