Crate training is also a great way to give your puppy a safe, quiet place to go when they’re feeling overwhelmed. It can also be used to contain your puppy when they need to calm down and stop biting. Just make sure to never use it as a punishment.
In this article, we’ll talk about when puppies stop biting and what you can do to end this behavior as soon as possible.
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Why Won’t My Puppy Stop Biting Me?
Biting is natural behavior for puppies. It’s how they play, learn, and explore the world around them. Like human babies, puppies go through teething periods where they want everything in their mouths.
If your puppy is biting hard, it’s because they haven’t learned a skill called bite inhibition. Puppies learn how hard is too hard to bite from their mothers and littermates, but orphaned puppies or those separated too young don’t get this experience.
The best way for puppies to learn is from each other, but we can step in to teach them when necessary. It just takes time and patience.
Remember to never physically punish or yell at your puppy for biting. Instead, remove yourself from the situation and ignore your puppy for a few minutes or redirect them to a toy to chew on.
When Do Puppies Begin Biting?
Puppies begin mouthing before they even grow teeth. They’ll also nip at their mom and littermates as their little puppy teeth grow in.
Puppies go through their first round of teething at around 5-6 weeks old when their baby teeth grow in. However, most of us will never see this behavior since the puppy should still be with their mom and siblings.
As soon as you bring your pup home, you might notice them biting, nipping, or chewing on your skin or clothes. Some puppies take time to warm up and begin biting more around a week after they arrive in their forever home.
This behavior isn’t teething, but it is generally playful behavior. Your puppy just doesn’t know better yet, and biting, nipping, and mouthing are how they play with other dogs.
Teething starts when the puppy’s grown-up teeth start coming in and they lose their baby teeth. This happens at around 12 to 16 weeks.
How Long Do Puppies Teethe?
Puppies begin teething at between 12 to 16 weeks of age and continue to teethe until 6-7 months. During this time, they’ll be mouthier than usual and in pain as their puppy teeth fall out and their new adult teeth grow in.
Have patience and provide them with teething toys so that they have something appropriate to chew on that can soothe their gums.
When Do Puppies Stop Biting?
While puppies stop teething at around 6-7 months, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop biting. If the biting is encouraged, it can be lifelong. It’s important to begin training your puppy not to bite immediately so that they grow into a well-behaved adult dog who doesn’t hurt anyone with their teeth!
It’s normal for puppies to test their boundaries and make mistakes. After all, they’re still getting the hang of being a dog. But consistent biting past the age of 6-7 months typically means it’s time to get a trainer involved.
Also watch for signs that your puppy is biting out of fear or aggression. This most often happens when a puppy has been abused or harsh training methods are used.
What If My Puppy Bites My Kids?
No parent wants to see their kids hurt! It can be scary to bring home a puppy and then see them nipping at your child, especially if the child is young. It can also cause children to fear dogs, which you never want to see!
Puppies most commonly bite kids for two reasons: play or fear.
Usually, puppies bite because they are playing. They might bite kids more often because kids are exciting! They likely play with the puppy more often, they’re closer to their size, and they make fun movements and noises.
Children are also sometimes not as consistent as adults when it comes to training. So while you’re training your puppy not to bite you, your child might forget to correct the biting or not know how. They might even use their hands to play with the puppy.
On the other hand, kids can be scary to a puppy. If your child hasn’t been taught how to interact calmly, quietly, and nicely, the puppy might bite out of fear.
This might happen if your child runs up to the puppy and grabs at them, trying to scoop them up. Your puppy might back into a corner and then, feeling trapped, bite the child.
Another example might be if your child is hurting your puppy and they’re biting back in retaliation. Toddlers in particular can have grabby hands and might tug at a puppy’s ears or tail.
In this case, teaching your child how to interact with dogs is critical. Remember that children and dogs should never be left alone together and adult supervision is key to a healthy relationship between the two!
If you need to, keep your child and puppy separated until your puppy is trained. This will prevent your child from getting hurt. Once the puppy is biting people less, slowly allow your puppy and child to interact while under close supervision to make sure your puppy doesn’t bite again.
How Do I Know If My Puppy’s Biting Is Aggressive?
It can be somewhat difficult to tell if a puppy is playing or showing aggression. This is because puppies can growl, snarl, and show classic signs of aggression while playing.
Playing mimics hunting behaviors, as its main purpose is teaching puppies how to hunt for food when they’re older. Sure, most domestic dogs don’t need to hunt—but they still have these instincts!
It’s also important to note that a hard bite isn’t a sign of aggression. It means your puppy lacks bite inhibition. Puppies raised in a home without other dogs will typically bite harder because they aren’t receiving the corrections other dogs would naturally give.
This is doubly true if your puppy was taken from their mother or siblings before they were eight weeks old. The less socialization your puppy gets, the more behavioral problems you’ll see.
A few indicators of aggressive biting include:
- You’re doing something your puppy doesn’t like, such as putting on their harness, and they begin to throw a fit. Their body language is tense, not loose.
- Your puppy shows aggression when people or other pets approach his things, including food, toys, beds, or even people. This can indicate resource guarding.
- With tense body language (not playfully!), your puppy bites guests when they walk through the door.
- Your puppy’s body goes stiff and they stare directly at a person before biting.
If these things are happening, it’s best to contact a certified dog trainer who uses force-free training methods. I recommend avoiding so-called “balanced” trainers who use aversive methods such as shock collars, and anyone who talks about dominating your dog or “being alpha” as these methods have long been debunked.
How to Train Bite Inhibition
Puppies naturally learn bite inhibition from other dogs. First, when they’re young, their mother and siblings will offer corrections when the pup gets out of hand. Growing up in a multi-dog household will further reduce the risk that your puppy bites hard.
This is one reason that some people recommend adopting two puppies. They can also socialize with one another and get each other’s energy out via play. But, of course, two pups are double the expense and work!
It’s also important to note that other dogs won’t completely train your puppy for you. You’ll still need to ensure that they know not to bite humans, in play or otherwise!
The following are some ways to stop puppy biting:
- Stop interacting with your puppy as soon as they bite. This will teach them that the behavior is unacceptable. If they want attention or playtime, they can’t bite people!
- Redirect your puppy to a toy or chew. If your puppy is super mouthy, carry something around with you at all times so that you can consistently redirect them.
- Shower your puppy with praise for chewing toys! This teaches them what behavior you want to see, and is just as important as telling them “no.”
- Give your puppy plenty of down time. When puppies are constantly on the go, they can become overstimulated or overtired. This is when they’re most likely to act out!