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Dog advice: how to deal with a puppy that bites

Biting is normal but sometimes puppies go a little too far

Read more of our Puppy Advice articles


Too much nibbling

Most puppies bite as part of their normal play activity. When they are with a litter of other youngsters, they learn to regulate bites thanks to the response of their brothers and sisters – if it hurts, the game is over! Once your puppy comes to live with you, it’s up to you to teach them when and where biting is OK.

Why puppies bite

It’s all part of exploring the world with their mouths and learning how far rough play can go. Human babies are well known for putting things in their mouths, and puppies are much the same. However, while biting on a chew toy is fine, chomping down on your arm with needle-sharp teeth can be very painful!

Keep it under control

Your puppy needs to learn that they mustn’t bite you, so every time you feel its teeth during a bout of chew play, give a loud yelp. Turn away from your pet and ignore it for about 20 seconds. Get everyone in the house to do the same, and your puppy will eventually learn that biting results in the end of the game.

A chance to chew

As well as play-biting you, your puppy will probably nibble on all kinds of objects around the house. Redirect their behaviour so that instead of chewing on your shoes, they get chance to chomp on a chew toy instead. They should soon learn which things they can chew and which they can’t.