September 01, 2021 4 min read

Source: xkunclova/

Does your puppy act lovable and sweet one minute but turn into a feisty little piranha the next? While biting, nibbling, and mouthing may be normal behaviors in puppies, that doesn’t mean those razor-sharp teeth don’t hurt! Thankfully, there are several tried-and-true ways to “nip” this habit in the bud before your pup reaches adulthood. Read on to find out why puppies bite in the first place and how to curb this mouthy habit before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Why Do Puppies Bite?

Without knowing your dog or your situation, it’s impossible to say with absolute certainty why your puppy bites. However, we can make a few educated guesses based on what we know about canine behavior: 

  • They’re exploring the world. Puppies are naturally curious creatures that love to explore the world with their mouths. Biting down on random objects allows your inquisitive puppy to receive sensory information such as taste and texture, giving them a better idea on whether they should repeat the behavior or not.
  • They’re teething. When puppies go through teething, they often have a desire to chew on anything within their reach. Unfortunately, this may include your hands and feet! To curb your pup’s persistent biting, stock up on high-quality dog chew treats and give them plenty of chew toys with different textures to help ease their sore gums.

 beagle puppy with chew toy

Source: Iliana Arredondo/

  • They’re playing. If your puppy is mouthing your hands, chances are, it’s because that’s how they played with their littermates. While this is usually innocent behavior, it can lead to a nasty bite when your pup eventually develops a stronger jaw.

How to Stop a Puppy from Biting

Are you tired of your puppy treating your body like their own personal chew toy? If so, don’t worry. Teaching your puppy to stop biting is probably easier than you think. Here are a few tried and true methods to help curb your pup’s persistent nipping and nibbling:

  1. Encourage Acceptable Chewing Behavior

One of the best ways to get your puppy to stop biting is to redirect their behavior. You will want to learn how to stop your dog from chewing on things and encourage them to chew only on acceptable objects by giving them irresistible treats like bully sticks for dogs. Once your puppy gets a whiff of these all-natural beef sticks, they’re bound to forget all about your hands. Plus, they’ll keep your pup’s teeth healthy and clean, too!

Provide Your Puppy With Some Tasty Treats

dog with paw love treat

  1. Pet Your Puppy While They’re Distracted

Now that your puppy is happily gnawing on a dog chew treat, this is the perfect opportunity to pet your little biter. After all, your pup can’t bite you when their mouth is preoccupied. Reach out with your hand and give your pup some slow, gentle pets. This will teach your puppy that hands are for petting—not biting.

  1. Cry Out When Your Puppy Nips You

Puppies learn to mock brawl with their mom and littermates from an early age. If one puppy bites down a little too hard, the other dog will cry out and let the puppy know that they were playing too rough. You can teach your dog this same lesson by yelping or making a loud “ouch!” sound. Ignore your dog for a few minutes and pretend you’ve been mortally wounded. Eventually, your pup will realize that they need to be more gentle if they want playtime to continue.

  1. End the Play Session Early

As soon as your puppy starts biting or nipping you, end the play session immediately and walk away. Ignore your puppy for a minute or two before you resume the play session. Repeat this method as needed. It won’t take your puppy long to figure out that biting means playtime is over. 

  1. Watch For Signs of Over-Tiredness

If your puppy is biting your hands, whining, and not listening to a word you say, they could just be overtired. Like human babies, puppies get a little fussy when they need sleep. Try putting your puppy in their crate and letting them settle down for a quick nap before you get back to your training sessions.

  1. Get Out Excess Energy

On the opposite side, the reason your puppy could be biting or nipping you is that they have too much energy. This is often the case for working breeds due to their high-energy requirements. Giving your puppy a daily workout can help release their pent-up energy and reduce their urge to nip and bite you.

  1. NEVER Use Physical Force

Research shows that physical punishment is nowhere near as effective as positive reinforcement for training your furry friend. So, no matter how frustrated you become, never hit or slap your puppy. This will only serve to break their trust and make them cower in fear of your hand.

Teach Your Puppy Good Chewing Habits

The majority of dogs that are surrendered to shelters are between the ages of five months and three years, which is about the same time that biting behavior stops being cute and becomes a real problem. By training your dog with praise, affection, and lots of dog chew treats from Paw Love, you can make both of your lives easier!