Everyone loves puppies! Puppies are adorable, extremely loving, playful, full of loads of energy and are the perfect cuddling buddies! They are truly a joy to be around – most of the time!
Biting is one of the few things that aren’t so awesome about puppies. We know that you love your precious fur baby immensely no matter what. However, we also understand how unpleasant and frustrating it can be when your pup bites too much.
At first, you might think it’s a bit cute and the next thing you know you’re tired of it and your pup has grown in size. We completely understand what this phase of puppyhood is like and it will have you wondering when do puppies stop biting so much?
Let’s take a look at why puppies bite, the different kinds of puppy biting and their root causes, and ways to stop this behavior.
Why Puppies Bite
Puppies typically go through an explorative phase in their lives, which happens to include biting, mouthing and nipping. When puppies bite they usually do not mean to cause you any harm or frustration. Since puppies walk on all fours and don’t have free hands like us, all they really have left to explore with is their mouth and nose.
Your precious pooch will use his or her mouth to eat, lick you as a sign of affection and happiness, chew objects for teething purposes, play bite, and discover boundaries. A huge part of play biting is also entertaining and exploring what is fun and acceptable in their everyday lives.
Puppies do love to have fun and wrestle and most will eventually test the limits to who they can bite and how hard is too hard. At this time they are learning how to play nice and our responses to them play a huge role in what they determine to be appropriate or inappropriate.
When Do Puppies Stop Biting So Much?
There is a teething phase for puppies that usually takes place between the ages of 2 weeks to 6 months. During the teething phase, your puppy loses its milking teeth and grows adult teeth that are suitable for eating more solid foods in place of their usual milk diet.
Overall, teething is a crucial and sometimes uncomfortable stage for your precious pooch and it is sometimes helpful if you provide him or her with a cool puppy teething toys or a teething bone to help soothe his teeth and gums.
Once your puppy is through this teething stage the biting and chewing should ease off. You should take note of the different types of biting below to see if your puppy falls into this category. If not, there are some steps you can take to deter your puppy from biting if it seems excessive.
Different Types of Biting
There are other types of puppy biting besides play biting and teething, and we want you to have a thorough understanding of all the different types of biting and their signs and significance to you. We want to help you raise your pup to be the sweetest love bug around! Here are 7 different kinds of biting.
The Top 7 Types of Puppy Biting:
- Puppy Biting: This behavior is all about having fun, teething, and exploring boundaries. In this case, a puppy’s intention is not to harm anyone. Typically, if your pup does bite too hard and you express discomfort vocally by raising your voice in a hurt tone and physically by removing yourself from your pup, he or she will express that they are sorry. Puppies express that they are truly sorry for biting too hard and crossing the boundaries by licking you and following you around in hopes that you’ll forgive them soon.
- Snapping and Air Biting: A puppy that is snapping and air biting is often an aggravated or nervous pup. Usually, when a dog snaps without actually touching you, it means that you have missed a quick warning sign from your pooch. Warning signs are typically found in their body language. Dogs might show a nervous tail wag, a side-eye look, or other nervous behavior. This behavior is typically exhibited by a dog who does not want to hurt their loved ones but is feeling very uncomfortable due to fear, triggers from past events, and anxiety.
- Light but Serious Physical Bite: This kind of biting is one that upset dogs do to people often in an attempt to express a dislike of a certain kind of behavior or situation. The situation or behavior that they find unpleasant and might involve you or another person is upsetting or annoying enough for your pup to actually put his teeth on you and others. However, this type of bite is one that does not puncture your skin but kind of scares you.
- Basic Physical Bite: This bite is a single bite that does break the skin of you or another person. However, the bite is considered a quick and shallow one. Anyone who has been bitten by your dog to the point that their skin was punctured in any way has the right to report your dog. You may be required to present them with a certificate of your pup’s vaccination history for the safety of the victim. This bite can be done out of fear, being teased, aggression, or due to physical pain and injury that you and others may be unaware of.
- Multiple Shallow Bites: This is when a dog bites a person more than once and punctures the skin in a shallow manner several times. This is even more concerning because your pup is very likely to be “in the zone” and have a hard time snapping out of defensive mode, leaving skin punctures shallower than half of their tooth. Multiple bites usually mean that the dog is in a higher state of arousal and is reacting without thinking.
- Single Deep Snap: This kind of snapping is done by a dog who has bitten someone and created a skin wound that is considered deep. Deep wounds are oftentimes considered to be any bite wound that is the depth of the dog’s teeth. This is a big sign of concern and it is also a liability to you and others. If your pup is behaving in this manner the intervention of a certified animal behavioral trainer is needed.
- Multiple Deep Snaps: When a dog is snapping at you or other people multiple times and it results in several wounds, this is a serious issue that is potentially fatal to everyone around him or her. Deep wounds should be professionally cleaned and bandaged by your doctor or a hospital nurse. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics to ensure that no infection will occur as a result of being bitten.
How to Properly Discourage Biting
We understand that you want to raise your puppy to be cute and well behaved. We are so glad that you want to make sure that your pup is well behaved for his or her own sake as well as for the safety of yourself and others.
The best way to discourage puppy biting is to establish consistent boundaries from the time that you first get him or her home. Sticking to your boundaries consistently shows your pup that you are serious about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. You can establish boundaries with play biting by saying “oww” in a high-pitched tone.
Another way to show that this behavior is unacceptable is by removing yourself from him or her whenever they bite. Even the mother of a litter of puppies sets boundaries by removing herself from her babies whenever they bite her nipples too hard. The mother dog is teaching her puppies that bad behavior does not get them what they want and that she will not tolerate the unpleasant behavior of any form of biting. It has been an effective technique for many years in nature, so why not implement this method ourselves?
Sometimes a puppy might bite a lot due to teething and also a need for stimulation. For this we highly recommend that you offer your pup a chewable dog toy, chew bone, tug of war rope, and puzzle toys. This will stimulate your pooch mentally and provide a pleasant experience for him or her. If you find that your dog bites due to overstimulation during playtime, we advise that you play more gently with your pup.
If your dog seems to be biting on a more serious level, we strongly advise that you learn to recognize the body language of dogs and what they are trying to tell you. This will help you pinpoint and prevent unwanted snapping situations.
Some dogs feel uncomfortable when people are surrounding them and they become anxious. Other dogs can not tolerate children or people near their food bowls. If you notice that your dog has triggers, quickly identify them and speak with your vet or dog behaviorist to figure out how to make your dog feel safe and happy while also ensuring the safety of yourself and others.
Watch this video to see how to deter your puppy from biting you too hard (also – cute puppy alert!!)
Overall, we are glad that you are seeking advice about this behavior and we strongly advise that you start to train your pup to be gentle as soon as possible. Remember to be consistent when it comes to discipline.
Always reward your pooch for good behavior during training periods. If you notice that your pup is biting more on the serious side and has anxiety, fears or aggression issues to overcome, we strongly advise that you pay attention to body language and hire a certified behavior trainer. We wish you and your precious pooch the absolute best during this stage of life and beyond!