How to Stop Puppy Biting, Mouthing and Jumping up
Your new little bundle is likely to be excited on meeting you and family and will see you as new playmates. However, it is important to start teaching what is and isn't acceptable behaviour early on. This means rewarding the 'good' where your puppy is displaying the desired behaviour and ignoring the behaviours you don’t want to encourage. Never punish your puppy verbally or physically as it will just make them fearful of you and will result in being counterproductive.
Puppy play involves lots of rough housing and play-biting - but you don't want this to be continued into adulthood. Whilst it's fine for you to have fun together, playtime shouldn't involve teeth.
Puppy teeth are sharp, and the occasional nip might happen while you or your child and the pup are playing. Discourage puppy nipping during play by saying ‘no’ in a gentle voice and substitute fingers with a soft toy instead. If the play biting continues, finish the game and walk away from your puppy so they learn that if they want to play with you, teeth are not an option! Done consistently, your pup will learn that play-biting is not appropriate.
Puppy jumping up
Don’t despair if you’re wondering how to stop a puppy jumping up. Most puppies jump up as it is a natural greeting behaviour and of course they want your attention. If your puppy frequently jumps up at you or your child, this behaviour should be discouraged by ignoring them (and even turning your back on them), waiting until all paws are on the ground, and then crouching down and giving them the attention they want – and a tasty treat. They'll soon associate sitting instead of jumping with treats.
All puppies 'mouthing', especially during the teething period will occur between 12 weeks until about 6 months old. Gradually their baby teeth will fall and be replaced by adult teeth. Just as a baby might experience discomfort while teething, so too might your puppy and they may develop an insatiable appetite for mouthing. As with play-biting, using your fingers or hand as a puppy mouthing toy is not to be encouraged. Giving your pup chew toys meant for puppies will give them an outlet for this natural need to mouth and help serve as a distraction. As always, reward the behaviour you want with lots of praise.
If your puppy is chewing things, it can directly point to puppy teething as the root of their behaviour but it’s also a way of exploring their surroundings and discovering new things.
If however your puppy is chewing things that are inappropriate or dangerous, it is a good idea to direct it onto something more appropriate. Excessive chewing can also be down to boredom or stress, so addressing these root causes will not only help stop puppy chewing but improve their wellbeing too.
If you’re concerned about your puppy’s excessive chewing, take him for a check-up with your vet right away. In the meantime, here are some general tips to keep puppy chewing on the safer side.
- Make sure you have a safe secure place for your puppy to be if you must leave them alone. This should be somewhere comfortable where they are used to being that is free from anything that could be dangerous or get damaged if chewed!
- A crate can be very useful but needs to be introduced properly and seen as a safe, snuggly place. Don't leave your puppy until he or she is used to being in their crate and is settled – and note that a crate should never be used for long periods of time.
- Give your dog lots of safe chew toys that help alleviate boredom. If you can redirect his chewing to these toys, he won’t focus so much on the items you do not want him to chew.
- When you see your puppy chewing something off-limits redirect their attention to a safe chew toy that he can chew to their heart’s content.
- Praise your puppy when you see him chewing a safe and appropriate toy.
- Consider putting your puppy in a playpen when you’re at home but can’t watch them all the time. Make sure they have some safe chew-toys as well. That way, they’ll have room to play safely.