One of the most common queries we get here at Positive Dog Training is in relation to puppies biting at their owners’ hands, clothing and wherever else they can reach! When we think about getting a puppy we all generally have the same vision, a four-legged bundle of happiness that is clumsy and giddy with delight every time they see us, puppy cuddles on the couch at night, fun games of playing with a ball and watching them run back towards us. Pure bliss. We tend to forget about the toilet training, the chewing on things (including us!) and the potential destruction of underwear, shoes and phone chargers!
Why do puppies chew and bite?
Well first things first. It is completely normal for puppies to chew things, it may be annoying for us but it is completely normal behaviour for a puppy. For puppies, this is their way of exploring their environment. Puppies are naturally curious and for them biting down on your shoe, your finger or anything else is their way of checking out whether the item is good for chewing, playing with eating or ripping up for fun. If you ever get the opportunity to watch a litter of puppies play together you will notice that a lot of the time they play and rest by chewing in their siblings and this is all part of normal pups interaction at that age.
Rule number 1
If you do not want your puppy chewing on your personal possessions, make sure they are kept out of their reach! Sounds simple enough but it is important to remember that your puppy is not going to know or understand that you paid €500 for those shoes and she is not allowed chew on them versus the €10 dog toy that you bought her last week if they are both lying within her grasp, It is your responsibility to set her up for success.
Rule number 2
Provide a good selection of age appropriate toys and treats for your puppy to chew on. Remember it’s a natural desire for a puppy to chew so if you do not give them something you are happy for them to chew they will go and find something themselves.
Rule number 3
Take the time to teach your puppy that teeth on skin or clothing is not allowed. If your puppy nips or mouths at your hands when you are interacting with her, stand up and leave the room for 30 seconds. All attention stops immediately. When you come back into the room, begin playing again and repeat leaving the room for 30-second intervals if puppy mouths or nips. Repetition of doing this will teach your puppy that the fun stops when she puts her mouth on your skin.
Rule number 4
Redirect your puppies attention. Puppies get very excited when things no matter how mundane are waving around in front of them, like pyjama bottoms coming by their eyeline or slippers dangling on your feet and they will try to bite onto them. Redirect you puppies attention onto something they are allow play with like a toy or treat.
For more information on training your puppy call us on 01 9013018 or check out our current classes available for booking Group Classes