Puppy Mouthing Problems
Updated: Apr 6
Puppy mouthing is a very normal behaviour. They would normally do this with their siblings. Their mouth also has many other uses:
To explore new objects in their environment – As new puppies need to do.
To carry, hold or grab items – Toys as an example or maybe your jumper sleeve as it mimics prey.
To pull apart food or naturally in the wild, prey
Chewing on objects to clean their teeth or to feel good – chewing makes them feel good with dopamine.
Some breeds will bite/use their mouth more due to their instincts in what they were bred for – Example; Cattle Dogs are designed to herd & “Heel” (Bite) at cattle to move them. This behaviour will still present in these breeds, even if we keep them within a home environment, but instead of biting cattle, they’ll find something else to bite. Normally their owner’s ankles.
So how can we stop our puppies from doing this?
Biting can be useful & fulfilling, so don’t aim to eliminate it all together. Lets give it some purpose!
Find a toy your puppy finds desirable & redirect any biting onto the toy
The toy is always more fun when it moving & not laying there lifeless on the floor – remember you have a dog & they like chasing prey! So don’t leave the toys laying all over the house
Toy play such as tug – o -war can be fulling for natural instincts your pup may need to express, plus it builds up a bond between you & your dog doing this activity together.
It can also be used as a reward during training for good behaviour!
How ever let your puppy know when play time is over & that it is only acceptable to bite toys, not ankles & jumper sleeves.
Teaching them a Place Command shows them that its time to chill out
Giving them a bone to chew on can help with these biting impulses
Time out if they do bite the wrong things – Making sure to us a Negative Marker the MOMENT they bite so they understand what sent them to time out