If you're like most people who have recently decided to share your home and lives with a new puppy, you're undoubtedly looking forward to spending many happy years with your canine companion. However, if you've never raised a puppy before, you may be in a for a few surprises. For instance, puppies are hardwired to bite and chew on things, and they don't know the difference between a chew toy and your fingers or other parts of your body. Because puppies have sharp little teeth, their bites are often quite painful.
Here's what you need to know about training your new puppy not to bite you.
Always Have a Chew Toy Handy
Puppies are hardwired to chew because it helps their teeth develop. The trick is to teach your puppy that it's only okay to bite certain things but you aren't one of those things. Always have a chew toy available when you are playing with your puppy so that if it bites you, you can quickly substitute the toy for your fingers.
Use Bite Inhibition Training
Bite inhibition is something puppies teach one another naturally during the course of playing with their siblings. Puppies yip when they are bitten too hard, and this teaches the one doing the biting to bite more gently during play. You can use the same technique as well — simply make a high-pitched noise and remove your puppy's mouth from your skin when it bites you too hard. Most puppies will immediately lighten up on their grip when you do so.
This technique will need to be reinforced a few times, but your puppy will catch on to this a lot quicker than if you used the traditional training method of bopping it on the nose when it bites. It's also recommended that you should say "No" in a firm voice after you emit your high-pitched squeal. This will help teach your puppy to stop whatever it's doing.
Put Your Puppy in a Time-Out
Puppies are like small children in that they sometimes simply get too wound up. If you're playing with your puppy and the bite inhibition technique isn't working, it's probably because your puppy is overly wound up. Putting the dog in time out allows it to calm down, plus this reinforces the idea that biting you is not okay.
Puppy training is a lot to take on if you're busy with family and work obligations. Consider enrolling your puppy in dog obedience lessons to help it learn how to be a pleasant companion.