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How To Stop My Dog From Biting When Excited

How To Get A Puppy To Stop Biting – Tips From An Expert Dog Trainer

Puppies are adorable, and most likely, you instantly fell in love the moment you met your newest family member. Unfortunately, puppy biting is a reality of adopting a young pup, and those razor sharp teeth digging into your skin can be extremely painful. 

If you’ve ever felt like “my puppy won’t stop biting me I’ve tried everything”, you’re in the right place.

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The first step is to take a deep breath, and not take this personally. Puppies (and adult dogs) communicate, interact, and play with their mouths. It’s actually our job as their new pup parent to show them more appropriate ways to interact with humans! 

The next step is to figure out why your puppy is biting, and provide a more appropriate outlet. 

 Why Does My Dog Bite Me When Excited?

There can be many reasons why dogs bite or nibble on your hands and feet when they get excited. While as new pup parents you might ask yourself “Why is my puppy biting me aggressively?”, it’s important to remember this is just a normal phase for every puppy, and aggression is almost never the cause.

As you read through how to stop puppy biting, remember that no matter what reason your puppy is biting for, you have to stay consistent every time. It’s incredibly important to nip these bad behaviors in the bud from the early stages, and start puppy training right away.

Speaking of the foundations of puppy training, we’d love to invite you to our free training class.

FREE TRAINING VIDEO: 5 Biggest Training Mistakes New Puppy Owners Make

Find out what are the 5 biggest mistakes new dog owners make, and how to avoid them so you can set your puppy for success from the get-go!

Watch the FREE webinar here! Enroll in the Perfect Pup Course!

So here are a few reasons why your puppy bites you and a couple of proven to work methods to stop puppy biting. And, remind yourself, ‘puppies are here to teach us patience!’ 

1. Teething 

This is the most common reason why puppies tend to bite humans – they’re experiencing discomfort due to teething. The best thing you can do here is to provide your pup with a wide variety of toys. My go-to chew toys for puppies are Kongs, sturdy latex toys, stuffed animals, wood toys, edible chews, and a few Nylabones. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Best Chew Treats For Dogs

Make sure toys are appropriate for the size of your puppy, and always monitor to ensure they don’t ingest large pieces. Bonus tip – rotate your toys to keep them exciting! Never have all toys accessible.

2. Lack of mental stimulation 

Many people forget that puppies need mental stimulation. We have a lot of things to do at home, but it’s easy for our puppies to get bored. 

Have a variety of ways to entertain your puppy whether it’s freezing a stuffed kong or liking mat, feeding their meals out of their snuffle mat (they say 10 minutes of sniffing is equivalent to 30 minutes of exercise), teaching a new trick, or providing a puppy puzzle toy

Never feed meals out of a bowl – this is such a wasted opportunity for mental stimulation!

3. Wanting to play

If you’ve ever seen dogs play, you’ll notice they love to “play fight” with their mouths. Since our puppies are brand new to our world, they simply may not know that humans don’t enjoy this type of play. Redirect to a rope toy, and make it exciting! 

Do you notice your puppy tends to ‘play bite’ every time you put on your slippers? 

Next time, BEFORE you put on the slippers and start walking, proactively start playing with the toy with your puppy (ideally, a similar texture as the slippers). Then, slowly slip on the slippers….if your pup tries to go for the slippers (they are fun after all) then end play time. Your pup will soon learn that every time they try to play with your slippers, play time ends. 

4. Discomfort 

Puppies can mouth due to discomfort as well. For example, if your pup doesn’t want to be picked up, have their paws/muzzle/ears/tail touched, they may mouth to redirect YOU. This usually isn’t an aggressive bite. Since they are not verbal communicators, it’s their way of explaining that they don’t enjoy what you’re doing. 

Don’t worry – you can teach your pups to tolerate being handled and touched in these sensitive areas through puppy handling exercises. It’s most important to do handling exercises when they’re still in their socialization period (under 16 weeks). 

5. Confusion 

Dog’s don’t speak English. When we say ‘no’ in a super excited voice….all they hear is, well, that you’re super excited. They probably think this is an invitation to play. 

They also might be scared if you yell at them, and try to redirect YOU to play…not realizing this is why you’re mad in the first place. 

Any time your puppy is doing something ‘naughty’, calmly put them in time out. Allow the result of the action to speak for itself, rather than trying to communicate in a language they don’t understand. 

For example, when you’re walking and your puppy bites your heels, they think it’s a fun game. When you point your finger in their face and yell ‘no’ they might think you’re playing. Now you’re waving a finger in their face to bite! 

If you calmly don’t say anything and put them in time out, they soon realize ‘oh…when I bite heels, playtime stops…bummer.’ Soon this puppy biting phase will be over.

6. Overarousal or overexcitment

Our puppies can get over-aroused and overexcited very easily – everything is brand new to them after all! Typically, our puppies need a nap – but don’t want to nap because they don’t want to miss out on the fun and action! 

This results in a puppy that is no longer able to rationally think. You might recognize this when your dog is jumping and nipping at you. At this point, it’s best to put them in their crate or long-term confinement area (this is a puppy proofed room or playpen). Typically, they might cry for a short period and then fall asleep. 

If redirecting and training isn’t working, it’s best to put your puppy away for a quick/short ‘time out.’ 

Even if they’re not tired, they learn that when they get extra mouthy, the good thing (you!) goes away. 

How to train a puppy to stop biting – recap

Once you’ve identified the reason why your puppy bites you or visitors, you can now implement the following trainings tips and tricks, that Lisa – a certified dog trainer – shared and recommended in this article, such as:

  • Offer safe alternatives for chewing (such as toys and chew treats) to help teething pups aliviate pain.
  • Provide plenty of mental stimulation during the day. Use puzzles, activities or lick mats if needed.
  • Redirect the biting to a rope or plush toy to show what is acceptable to bite and what isn’t.
  • Teach your puppy to be handled by rewarding when they are picked up, touched or given baths to without biting.
  • Watch your reaction when being biten to avoid making it a game for them.
  • Put the puppy in a time out & communicate that play time is over when they get overexcited.

How to teach your puppy bite inhibition 

It’s important to teach our puppies bite inhibition from a young age, so when they bite during play (or out of fear), they learn not to bite hard. One way you can do this is through hand feeding, which I encourage you to do with your puppy once per day. 

As mentioned earlier – avoid feeding your puppy from a bowl! Every meal is a chance to learn something new, and this is the perfect opportunity to hand feed and get them comfortable with hands (which helps prevent resource guarding) and will help you learn how to stop dogs from biting from a young age.

Want more training tips? 

I have a free on-demand webinar called the 5 biggest puppy training mistakes and how to avoid them (so you can live a more peaceful life with your pup). Be sure to watch so you can start your new puppy on the right ‘paw.’

FREE TRAINING VIDEO: 5 Biggest Training Mistakes New Puppy Owners Make

Find out what are the 5 biggest mistakes new dog owners make, and how to avoid them so you can set your puppy for success from the get-go!

Watch the FREE webinar here! Enroll in the Perfect Pup Course!

Lisa Gallegos is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with 5+ years of experience. Her online school, Pawsome Pups Academy allows dog & puppy parents to train at their own pace using force-free, modern science.

Insider her free training, linked above, Lisa will include the five mistakes that new puppy owners often make – and how to avoid them, so that you can set your dog up for success from the first months of its life!

More Puppy Training Tips & Tricks

How To Stop Your Dog or Puppy From Biting When Excited

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