Addressing Your Puppy’s Biting & Chewing Behaviors (Part 2 of 3):
Chewing is a natural process that occurs while the adult teeth come in. On the other hand, biting is not natural and should not be tolerated. You might think of it as “nipping” and some think this too shall pass. Not necessarily so. Puppies that have been raised with a litter usually have decent bite inhibition. Those who were single pups or were taken from their mothers too soon often have biting behaviors that can turn into a problem as they grow up. Within the litter, the puppies play rough and in the process they bite each other. They have a great communication system that tells one another when he has bit too hard. You can watch this process as the puppies play here in class. As one puppy bites another, the one says, “you are biting too hard” by giving a little yip. Listen and you will rarely hear the yip repeated. That is because the “biter” listened, found out he was biting too hard, and lightened up. If he doesn’t and he bites again, the other puppies will call him a bully and not play. It usually doesn’t take long before the bully, who is a pack animal after all, decides it is better to play nice.
You can use this “yip” information to your advantage. The next time your puppy nips you, give a yelp – but leave your hand where he can come back to it and give you a gentle nudge. When using treats tell your puppy “gentle” before releasing the treat and do not give him a treat if he is a “snatcher”; keep your hand steady and do not trick him into biting you.
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