It’s important to train a puppy to stop play biting. Their teeth are like needles and can easily break the skin at a young age, but when they get older it’s vital that they know that they can’t go around biting and mouthing people, and I’m afraid it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to train them not to do it, because they won’t necessarily grow out of it without your guidance.
Let’s empathise with the puppies for a moment though. It’s natural for them to use their teeth as they learn what things are, and where they fit in with the pack… If they were brought up with their own brothers and sisters, your puppy would be constantly playing and biting them as they establish their own hierarchy. When they bite too hard there would be a yelp given so they learn to inhibit their bite in the future and not go that far, but generally biting behaviour is an acceptable part of play and socialising. In a human environment it isn’t acceptable. We don’t have a protective layer of fur, and we live in the times of ‘no-win, no fee’ law suits and the dangerous dogs act, so as dog owners we need to protect our dogs and ourselves from them believing that biting is okay.
How To Stop Play Biting
A little bit of puppy training will go a long way to stop your pup from biting. Biting most commonly occurs during play, or during attention seeking. If it is during play that you have initiated, when you puppy bites you give a little yelp, and give them something else to put in their mouth instead, so you are encouraging them to play with the toy, rather than with your hand/arm!
If your puppy tries to initiate play, or get your attention by coming over and biting you, that is not acceptable behaviour, so you must not reward this behaviour by joining in the play, or giving them attention. The best response is to give a little yelp, then calmly place them in an area on their own for a minute or so, e.g. behind a closed door, or in their crate and you leave the room, to show them that you do not accept their decision to come over and bite you. Repeat this every single time they approach and bite you and they will soon learn to do it.
If your puppy’s biting doesn’t seem to be that playful and you are wondering if you have an aggressive dog then click on the linked text to find out more about reasons for aggression. Again, this can and should be changed as soon as possible, getting a qualified dog listener in to help you would be a great place to start. You may also be interested in articles on pack hierarchy.