When you think about owning a puppy, you dream of staring into those deep puppy eyes and feeling all the love, snuggling up in the evening whilst watching TV but the reality of owning a puppy can look a little bit different. It’s no surprise that the question I get asked the most is ‘How can I stop my puppy from biting?’. I like to help my clients learn the right training and management to best support their puppy through this stage of development and the teething process.
Puppy Teething Timeline
A puppy begins teething at the age of 2-3 weeks, the incisors are the first to erupt through the gums, then four canines push through at around 4 weeks of age, followed by the premolars and molars at around 3-6 weeks and lastly the last molars appear at 6-8 weeks. And they are not finished there, their adult teeth begin to push the baby milk teeth out until finally they are left with 42 adult teeth and this generally is done by around 6-7 months of age. Let's be honest this is a lot of teething and developing in such a short space of time, I actually feel sorry for the little critters. At least we got around a span of 12 years to get all our teeth through.
I can empathise with owners who have little land shark puppies, my beagle Luna was a testing puppy, she was particularly bad at biting and nipping us, so I know how frustrating and at times upsetting it can be. However, It's important to help your puppy through this development stage by managing all interactions and their environment to set them up to succeed and make the right choices.
When researching puppy biting and how to stop it, you will find a whole lot of different advice, some trainers will suggest punishing your puppy, others will tell you to yelp and remove attention, some trainers will tell you to get up and leave the room. Many owners will try a few of these methods in the hope to "stop" the biting, no wonder the puppy is frustrated and making no improvements.
Top Tips to Help With Puppy Biting
Manage your puppies environment, provide your puppy with a fun safe place to hang out such as a playpen or gated room. This will stop your puppy from having access to non-legal chew items, such as chewing your dining room chair or your child's ankles- they cannot practise those unwanted behaviours.
Provide enough legal chew items, I recommend a combination of different toys and long-lasting edible chews, frozen carrots work well too. There is a whole range of good chews on the market, I am a big fan of the edible chews such as cow hooves and pizzles.
Pre-empt and Prevent- Rather than waiting for your puppy to start mouthing and nipping, learn to spot the signs that they are heading in that direction, learn to spot when they are becoming over-aroused and act then, give them a chew or a kong at that point or put them in their den with a chew to chill.
Make sure your puppy is getting enough sleep, this is a must! Lack of sleep will affect the behaviour of the puppy.
When interacting with your puppy always have something to hand, like a tug toy or chew, that way you can act fast and redirect any inappropriate mouthing.
Lastly, you are all in the same boat, you haven't brought home a gremlin in the disguise of a cute puppy.
If you'd like any further help on this, book in a session with me.