Make your pooch Paparazzi ready with Pupparazzi

Meet Tyana Somani, certified canine obedience trainer. She’s here to help you understand all about your puppy biting – why they do it, how to handle it, and the right age to start puppy training.

–by Tyana Somani

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Understanding puppy biting

For some people, one of the most frustrating things about raising a puppy is dealing with nipping and biting. The good news is that it’s entirely normal for your puppy to want to nip and chew on any and everything they see. The bad news is that their needle-sharp puppy teeth can really hurt.

Puppies can only explore the world with their mouths. As a pet parent you want to make sure that your puppy nipping on your fingers doesn’t turn into a lifelong habit.

The WHY behind your puppy nipping?

It’s essential to understand the motive behind your puppy’s nipping so you can modify your training and management of your puppy. Your puppy might be nipping for different reasons depending on the time of day or how they’re feeling. Here are a few reasons your puppy might be nipping:

  • They want to play
  • Your puppy is bored and looking for something to do
  • Your puppy is overstimulated
  • Their gums hurt from teething discomfort
  • They want your attention

Biting is a bane – How to stop your puppy from biting?

When puppies are biting us in play, it’s because they are trying to interact with us in the only way they know how to. What they want out of the behaviour is for us to interact back.

If you’re saying, “No, don’t, stop, cut it out!” and moving your hands all around to stay out of their reach, to the puppy you’re simply playing back and encouraging them to go after those flying hands. They don’t understand your words and moving targets are for chasing. The message you want to give your puppy instead is, do this instead of biting me and when you bite me, I will immediately STOP interacting with you.

Teach them what you would like them to do, rather focussing on trying to stop biting, instead, teach them to sniff, lick and explore your hands, rather than bite them.

The most important thing you can do when your puppy is little is to make sure that nobody in his world is rough-housing or wrestling with him and with their hands. If this is happening, then no matter what else you do, you are confusing him with a game that tells him, “Go for my hands!” Most puppies love to rough- play, and you can still do it. Just substitute a toy for your hands.

A little calmness and a lot of patience

This is what you should do if your puppy is biting you. When your puppy bites you, take your hand out of his mouth and give him a cue ( stop biting, ouch, ow). Stop any kind of interaction and attention until they back off. The moment your puppy backs off and stops biting you, you praise and reward. This teaches them that biting human skin means ‘no’ attention from you and that’s the last thing your puppy will want from you. Let him know “that biting doesn’t get my attention; it makes me go away.”

If you are consistent, persistent and patient, reinforcing calm behaviour and withdrawing attention for mouthy behaviour, you may survive your dog’s puppyhood with less tooth marks.

It all comes down to training your puppy from a young age. It all begins the moment your pup is in the house. Training your puppy from an early age not only helps in teaching them acceptable behaviours and social skills but also helps create and strengthen your bond with him.

Begin training with positive reinforcements

Puppies can begin training as early as 7-8 weeks old, which is also around the same time they’re ready to move to their new homes and families. It’s around this age that a puppy can learn basic training cues, such as:

  • Crate training
  • Their name
  • Potty training
  • “Sit, stay, leave it, come” commands
  • The start of basic obedience training

Through positive reinforcement, short training sessions, consistency, and patience, your puppy can grasp just about anything at this young age—and even more as they get older.

(Tyana launched her own Canine Training Brand called Pupparazzi and has trained and taught more than 100 dogs over 6 years).

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