“My puppy thinks I’m a chew toy!”
This is an all too common complaint with new puppies. And it’s understandable those puppy teeth are painfully sharp and even a small nip can cause a lot of pain and bruising!
It’s important to remember that this is normal puppy play, and this is how your puppy explores his new world – using his mouth. They tend to grow out of this habit as they age, but we have some tips to get you through it.
Pre-empting when your puppy may play bite
If you start to recognise the signs that your puppy is going to play bite, for example:
- First thing in the morning
- When you hang out the washing, gardening etc
- After meals
- When play gets too rough
- When there is a lot of movement in his environment
If you know the biting is going to begin, ensure you have a toy or distraction to direct your puppy to a toy or ball. Redirection is one of the easiest ways to save your arms and hands from those teeth! When they start to chew, grab a toy and put it in front of your arm for the pup to grab in his mouth. When he begins to chew it, lots of praise and encourage the chewing by gentle tugging.
If they reject the toy and still want to chew on you can stand up, fold your arms and turn your back. Failing that let out a huge loud pitched squeal, and you can accompany that by a very loud “OUCH”. This is the signal that siblings give to puppies when play becomes too rough.
If the biting continues, remove your puppy from the play area, until they calm down – remember, playtime is on your terms, not theirs.
You will need to repeat the above steps over and over, and you will find the behaviour easier to curb, and your puppy WILL eventually grow out of it.