Puppy Training | Correcting Bad Puppy Behavior
Puppy biting and nipping

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Biting or Nipping

Almost all puppies want to bite, chew or nip at their owners hands while they're  being handled.

This would be a normal behavior if still with his litter mates because this is part of the process of determining the pack leader within the litter.

However, it is now up to you as the puppy’s new master to become the pack leader in his eyes. This will not happen by accident. You must begin at a very early age to establish the order of the pack within your own household.

When your puppy growls at you or grabs your hands or fingers, immediately give him a scruff of the neck correction and a very stern growling command, “NO”. The scruff of neck correction is taking the back of the pups neck in your hand, give a stern shake and suspend the puppy 1 or 2 inches off his front feet for a few seconds, then gently easing him back to 4 feet on to the floor. Calmly praise him as the nasty behavior subsides. This method imitates what the mother would do to her puppy to settle a bratty behavior. Her reward would be to lick the puppy’s face sweetly as the behavior settled.

Do not allow anyone to play aggressively in a rough house manner. This only reinforces aggressive behavior towards people. Also, blowing in a pup s face will produce a snappy biter.  Instead, teach the pup to play with toys such as balls, rawhide toys and other puppy articles.

Often puppies will resort to biting or mouthing during a playtime.  This is not to be tolerated as it too becomes part of the play. The scruff of neck correction works well on most puppies, although very persistent pups may need a slightly stronger type of discipline. Using your fingertips, apply slight pressure to the top of the muzzle with a strong growl NO. This again is a mothers correction, therefore communicating clearly to the pup the error of his behavior.

Some high energy pups respond very well to a high pitched OUCH sound. Its the shocking sound of the squeal type of voice that makes the pup take notice.   They initially learn these sounds with their litter mates and mother and what they mean.

Biting, mouthing and nipping all take time to stop completely. This is a learning process your pup needs to work through and it will take repetitions before he catches on. One of the above methods may work or you may have to apply all of them. It depends on your pup and his response.

Be patient but remember, persistence removes resistance. If you were really fortunate, you picked up your puppy at an age of 10 weeks old directly from the mother’s home or kennel. And, if the pup's mother was a good mother like most, she would have taught the pup that pressing hard with it’s teeth hurts.

Usually, this kind of puppy will mouth your hands gently in play knowing through it’s litter mates that mouthing hard hurts.

Now if you have a puppy that you purchased at a pet store and it’s 6 weeks old, chances are that the puppy may have been 4 weeks old once it left it’s mother so your job is a little more  important because you have to replace some of those “mother nature” instincts normally taught to a puppy...naturally.

 Even if your puppy arrived at your home over 10 weeks old this only means that your training job will be a littlle easier.


Read more articles about training your puppy:

Housetraining Your Puppy                     Stop the Mooching

       Basic Dog Training                               Stop the Doggie Dictator

Basic Puppy Housetraining