top of page

Puppy Biting or Mouthing Behavior

One of the biggest challenges of raising a puppy is the infamous puppy biting stage. More appropriately this is called puppy mouthing as that is really what they are doing. They are not intentionally trying to inflict harm, create scars, or holes in your clothing. It may seem that way sometimes but the way they sense their world around them is often with their mouth. They greet each other with their mouths and during the puppy stages they play constantly with their mouths often grabbing each other behind the ears or by the scruff of the neck while they try to tackle each other. When they grab to hard the other puppy will let out a very loud "yelp" and this tells the other puppy that they bit too aggressively and the cue to let go, which they most often do. They begin learning about bite strength and this is incredibly important to allow this early on so that they learn appropriate bite strength. We then need to transfer this to humans when our new puppies come home. This is not an overnight correction and will take diligence and consistency and an understanding of the puppies schedule when they are most energized and trying to avoid handling during times when they need to just run off some of that puppy energy....then play with them on the floor/ground. From here it's like a table tennis match! Puppy bites to hard, you yell "OUCH", puppy stops, puppy bites again too hard, you yell "OUCH" and so on. You may think your puppy is never going to get the hang of it. But here's the good news....they will! Even if you did nothing about it while they were a puppy they will eventually outgrow this behavior but it's best to let them mouth gently and praise them when they do, and jump in loudly with an "OUCH' when they bite too hard. When I'm working with young puppies I always put on an old hoodie I don't mind getting more holes in, along with some thin cloth gloves that again I don't mind getting ripped up, and some pants that again I only use during puppy training knowing that mouthing is going to be heavy. But then of course I'm often working with a litter at a time and 8-10 little piranhas each wanting their turn! But they all get it with consistency and we have loads of fun playing on the ground. Puppy mobs are the best. The hoodie allows me to cover my face if mouthing gets too heavy and I can lay prostrate on the ground and cover up and let the puppies mob me. I'm still yelloing "OUCH" if one bites too hard while I'm touching that one so they know which one I'm talking to. It's amazing how smart they are and they will learn. Once they go home just keep up the process. Another big challenge new families have when the puppy comes home is how to balance puppy biting with young kids. It's really simple....make sure the puppy is sufficiently exercised and tired before young kids play with the new puppy and be sure they are taught what to do when the puppy bites too hard and have adult supervision close by. The OUCH has to be loud and firm like you mean's not the time to be a pansy! When they are gently mouthing and licking LOTS and LOTS of praise!! For more help and tips never hesitate to email us at


Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page