Updated: Mar 27

Puppies are adorable. They’re cute, silly, mischievous and endless fun, but it’s not long before those little needle-sharp teeth start to really irritate you. It’s the painful side of puppyhood which we often forget about … puppies BITE. Your puppy is not being ‘aggressive’, he does not need to ‘learn who’s boss’ and he is not trying to hurt you, he’s simply doing what puppies do!

It’s important to understand that this is normal puppy behaviour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Biting should improve with age, but it will also become worse if you react to it in the wrong way. When puppy biting is dealt with incorrectly, it can quickly escalate into a much more serious or dangerous problem, especially as your puppy grows into a bigger, stronger adult. To appreciate the importance of dealing with this behaviour correctly, you need to understand why it happens.

Why Does My Puppy Bite?

  • Puppies explore with their mouths, along with their sense of smell, this is how they gain information about their surroundings

  • They bite during teething to help relieve the discomfort

  • Biting is used to instigate play and attention. Puppies will have used this with their siblings, and it’s usually an effective way to gain human attention too!

  • Different breeds are predisposed to nipping or chasing behaviours (e.g. herding breeds) or to using their mouths to carry things (e.g. gundogs). These dogs may have stronger traits for mouthing or biting behaviours

What Not to Do

  • DON’T REACT – if you scream, yelp, jump up and down or wave your arms when your puppy bites you, he will only want to try it again. You become FUN when you react. He has successfully got the response he wanted and guess what… biting works!

  • Do not use physical punishment. People will suggest all manner of methods to stop a puppy biting, but things like smacking his nose or clamping his mouth shut are more likely to create further issues than resolve the biting