A biting nipping puppy can be a real challenge. As a breeder I have watched the natural weaning process used by bitches, they aren’t exactly gentle when their pups get teeth and start using them as they nurse. They simply refuse to allow them to nurse!
I have also watched litters deal with a biting nipping litter mate. They refuse to play and move away!
This is what happens in nature, and by the time they are a year old they have learned this important social behavior - No Biting!
Important Social Lessons
Depending on how and at what age your new puppy was weaned and how many (if any) litter mates they had may predict how long it takes to teach this important behavior. But, whatever the case they need to be taught “No Teeth”; for everybody’s safety. Those sharp little puppy teeth can seriously injure a child.
Finding What Works
How to get a young puppy to stop biting and nipping is the primary concern of a lot of new Dog owners, and should be! What appeared like an adorable precious pet only minutes ago has now turned in to a total nightmare. Learning how to curb biting nipping puppies can be done but it takes some work on your part.
There are several different approaches you can take; some will work much better than others.
Puppies are not motivated to possess a “gentle mouth” unless they're constantly reminded, as early as possible to do so. This uniform message should go on well past their first birthday or till you're dead certain that your puppy’s chomp is easy and consistent.
I use seperation first, if you can't even put your hand down to pet your new little one it's time to take action. The first sign of teeth I give a "No" command and place them in their kennel and walk away. I only leave them for about 30 seconds and then let them out. If the behavior continues I give a sharp "No" and return them to their kennel, most puppies get the connection of "use of teeth equals seperation" quickly, others require added techniques.
Using Bad Tastes
There are many things that animals don't like the taste of and by using one of these bad tastes on your hands and ankles controlling puppy biting can be achieved fairly quickly.
Try applying it to any furniture that your animal has decided to bite or chew as well. Be careful what you use though, you don't want to stain the furniture. You may be able to add water to things like garlic and apply to the areas your biting puppy seems to like the most. The commercial bitter apple spray is also very good for this.
Get Them a Play Mate
One of the best ways to stop a biting nipping puppy, but also the most extreme, is to get another Dog! This is far and away the most effective way. Obviously it is an extreme step to consider but it works instantly.
As soon as there's another Dog in the home your Puppy won't be nipping you as often and will ease up on the furniture also. The Pup will play with its new friend instead. They love to play rough and a new best friend is the perfect vent.
Gentle Mouth Practice
I don't advocate ever tossing food, treats or even toys to puppies till they're consistently gentle with their mouth near food or playthings. This game sets the stage for puppies snapping at objects, food or other.
Use at least one meal per day as a training session, this helps you stick with your training schedule. Logically meal time is an ideal time to work on a puppy biting prevention exercise.
Hunger will keep them focused on the exercise; just keep in mind extreme hunger may defeat your purpose and cause them to be anxious.
How To - First Step
Put one piece of kibble in your fist
Place it near your puppy’s nose
If she licks or sniffs your hand, say “Yes” and open up your fist and permit her to eat the food
If she puts any teeth (the least bit) on your fist, say, “Ow!” and move your hand away
Keep going until you feed half of your dog’s food to her by hand. One kibble at a time.
Once your puppy has a gentle mouth with the basic first step exercise you'll be able to move to the next level
Put a piece of kibble between your thumb and forefinger and repeat the exercise above
Continue working until your biting nipping puppy visibly controls herself and moves slowly close to the kibble by either licking it or using her lips to get the kibble
Back up to the first step exercise if this is too difficult
If all goes well you should be able to have any editable object near your puppy without the fear of being bitten. Be sure to invite others in the household to work with your biting nipping puppy on this training.
Things To Be Aware Of
Keep in mind the idea here is to get attention of your biting nipping puppy NOT frighten them. Don't shake up a young puppy too much; you may need to tone your shout accordingly.
You don't want to end up with a Fear biting dog on your hands.
Try saying, “Good, good” as you're moving the kibble slowly toward your puppy and “Ouch!” or "Ow!" Instantly upon feeling teeth – practiced timing on your part will make it clearer to your puppy which behavior is appropriate.
While there are a lot of different methods that can be used, it's absolutely vital that you follow through with your training.
Also see to it your biting nipping puppy has had adequate exercise; an energetic Puppy with no or little outlet for that energy is much more likely to continue biting and nipping and acting badly.