Stop Your Dog From Biting

Blog, Dog Biting



Does it sometimes seem like your dog has razor-sharp shark teeth?

From a very early age dogs explore the world with their mouth. Like, babies, dogs put just about everything and anything in their mouth including your hands, the back of your pants and even your feet. Cute as a puppy, they will eventually get to a size where you want to stop your dog from biting.

Puppy biting hand


Dogs are drawn to movement

Sometimes that movement could be our hands, feet or clothing. Your dog needs to learn that chomping on you is not appropriate.

When puppies are little they play and rough-house with their littermates and mother. During playtime, the puppies learn what’s called bite inhibition; how hard or soft they can bite down before it becomes too much.

When we bring home our new dog, they may still want to bite and nip at you just like they did with their siblings and mother. It’s important to teach your dog that skin and teeth should not touch. This rule is a must if you want to stop your dog from biting you or at your clothes.


Puppies playing with teeth showing


There are a few things you should keep in mind if your puppy keeps nipping at you:

1) Make sure you correct and redirect your dog to something they should have in their mouth instead of your hands. Yelp loudly to let your puppy know that they made a mistake and that they shouldn’t be putting their teeth on you. Even if your puppy doesn’t hurt you, you will want to teach your dog that it is not acceptable to put their teeth on you or anyone else. After you “yelp” and your dog stops biting, immediately redirect your dog to the toys they can put in their mouth. You may have to redirect your dog several times.

2) Make sure you always approach a nipping dog with a toy in hand. Put the toy in the dog's mouth before you start petting them. Dogs get excited when people approach them. Sometimes the way they handle their excitement is by nipping or mouthing. If you can teach your dog a calmer, gentler method to manage their excitement, you’ll keep your hands bite free.

3) When you drop your body posture, you make yourself more exciting to your dog. Lowered body posture leads to more nipping and biting. If you play on the floor with your dog and your dog tends to get extra mouthy, you’ll need to stand up and put yourself in a leadership role.

4) If your dog continually comes after you and bites at your feet or pants, you will use an “eh-eh” correction tone to get them to stop their bad behavior. Follow up your correction with an alternate behavior you want from your dog. Ask your dog for a sit, stay, leave it or go lay down cue. These cues will need to be taught to your dog as they won’t understand what you’re asking them to do.


Additionally, you should keep these things to keep in mind to stop your dog from biting

You need to evaluate the amount of exercise your dog receives daily. If your dog does not get the right amount of mental and physical exercise, they will have a bunch of pent-up energy and will be more mouthy, nippy or bitey. While overstimulated, you will have a more rambunctious dog on your hands who wants to bite at everything. You may need to give your dog some downtime or rest in their crate. The crate is not used as punishment. You will use the crate to keep your dog safe and confined to a place they can’t chew on everything. Be sure to put a busy toy like a Kong or antler (deer, moose or elk) in the dog's crate, so they can chew on appropriate toys. Bitter sprays don’t work for most dogs, so don’t waste your money. The sprays tend to intrigue the dog and make them curious to test out the smell and flavor. The sprays also evaporate quickly, so even the few dogs that don’t like them will need to have the spray frequently reapplied. Correction and redirection is the best way to teach your dog that biting is unacceptable. Use your “eh-eh” or another annoying noise to stop your dog from biting. Next, immediately redirect them to what they should have in their mouth instead.


Dog playing tug


If your dog is over a year and they are still biting at you, you should reevaluate the “Nothing in Life Is Free” policy. They may need to go back to the basics. The dog will need to learn that all things need to be earned. Also, being more respectful will get the dog a whole lot more attention and stop your dog from biting.


What's the number one thing your dog bites on?

About the trainer 

Michele Lennon

After spending 20 years helping families with their dogs face to face as a professional dog trainer, Michele realized that so much of what she knows could be shared with families everywhere - in a way that actually works. People sometimes think their dog is just SUPER difficult because the advice they’ve gotten was incomplete, confusing or just wrong. So she set out to help. Michele loves training dogs because of the impact that it has on the families she gets to help.  The peace and joy they get from being able to enjoy their dog LISTENING. Besides teaching classes, helping private clients and running seminars, Michele is also a foodie and fantasizes about being a food critic or secret shopper for restaurants.  Talk to her about food and your instant best friends.

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    1. Make sure to let your pup know that they should be chewing on something else. Always approach with a toy in hand. I say “EH-EH” loudly to try to get the pup to stop biting. Your pup is drawn to the movement and really wants to bite at something to settle their urge to chew. If the verbal noise doesn’t help I would try to get rid of some pent up energy by going for a walk, playing in the backyard or redirecting to a toy that is meant for chasing and biting such as a Flirtpole. This consists of a toy attached to a long rope that’s attached to a pole. Think fishing pole… where you can toss and playfully tease your pup with the toy on the end of the rope but the pole will help it stay further away from you.

    1. Pups love to explore the world with their mouth. Just like a baby wants to put everything in their mouth, so does our pup. Make sure to Redirect your pup to an appropriate chew toy such as a marrow bone, antler, or Kong filled with something tasty like a kibble slurry or peanut butter. If you have to stop your dog more than a couple times from biting on you then it may be time to evaluate if they need a nap, need to go get rid of some pent up energy and go for a walk or get the zoomies out in the backyard. Teething kicks into high gear usually around 3 to 4 months. You may even see some puppy teeth around the house.
      Also pups are drawn to movement so this means when you’re walking, trying to pet your pup or sitting on the floor playing with them, they are going to act like little land sharks and bite even more. Constantly approach with toy in hand. Keep pup on a leash to control pup’s movements.
      This is also the reason they like to chase cats or other small critters…critters run away and dogs see this as an invitation to chase them.

  1. My pup constantly lunges at my clothes and has ripped lots. She won’t let go! We’re trying redirection but failing miserably:-(

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