Have you ever noticed, while you are petting or playing with your puppy, that he has the need to chew on something? Some adult dogs also act this way during playtime, but this behavior is more common to puppies. To prevent your puppy from learning to use your hands or fingers as chew toys, you should give him an object that he can sink his teeth into, like a rawhide bone or a rubber squeeze toy. If your pup attempts to nip at your face or hands even with the chew object present:
- Scold him immediately with a loud “NO” or “AHHHH” to make it clear to him that you did not like what he just tried to do. This should startle him and cause him to stop.
- As soon as he backs off, give him lots of praise (in this case, you’re rewarding him for having stopped, not for his nipping) and then quickly try to make him refocus on his rawhide bone or chew toy.
- When he clenches his jaw around the toy, shower him with praise again and pet him.
You should Never use physical violence to try to stop puppy biting. It is not at all necessary, and any use of physical force will only backfire: it will actually provoke your dog to nip and bite you. Giving your dog the cold shoulder is the Best way to let your dog know that you are upset with him, as it is humane and it works extremely well. Your dog wants to make you happy, but he just is not aware of how to go about doing so. However, he will learn to do so if you socially isolate him for 20-30 seconds, as is outlined in the previous article on puppy biting.
If your dog is overly excited and tries to bite you repeatedly even after you have given him the cold shoulder, he needs a time out. Put him into his crate or a small room. Make sure that he is alone, and let him stay in there for at least five minutes so that he has a chance to cool off. Once he has calmed down, you can bring him back into his area and begin playing with him again, but this time don’t be as rambunctuous until you are sure that he can handle the play without trying to nip at you again.
Some dogs are more hyper and mouthy by nature (eg: high-energy herding breeds). If you have one of these, then it is best to engage in no-contact play whenever possible. Fetch, as well as Frisbee, are excellent games that you can play with this type of dog. Don’t ever play rough games such as slap boxing or wrestling, as they will not only encourage biting; this type of play will illicit your dog’s aggressive instinct, which is not something you want to do. Rather, when playing with your pup, always try to keep games amicable and low-key.