How To Stop A Puppy From Biting

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Take a bite out of these chewy tips on how to stop a puppy from biting

Puppies love to bite. They can’t help it – it’s just what they do. Those tiny, razor-sharp teeth are a part of a pup’s bite inhibition. He learns this as he plays with his siblings, other dogs and his mom – they will let him know he’s playing too rough with a yelp or nip. Play time will stop (because the dogs are startled), all of the dogs will take a moment to make sure everyone is okay, and then play time starts back up again.

You’re not a puppy, but you can teach bite inhibition. It’s hard to scold such cute behavior, but he’s not going to stay a puppy for long. Those teeth are going to get bigger and he’s going to bite something or someone he’s not supposed to. It’s your responsibility to teach him good biting from bad and curb it before it becomes a problem. Here are a few tips for how to stop a puppy from biting.

  • Replace your fingers or hand with a toy or bone. These are much more fun to bite then your appendages (for both you and the puppy). This lets your puppy know what’s appropriate to play with and bite and what’s not.
  • During puppy play time, if you get bitten, yelp or say “no biting” – this will startle and stop him. You should stop playing when this happens and let you hand go limp. If you puppy stops and licks you, be sure to praise him. Continue playtime if the yelping stops him from biting you. Repeat steps during playtime.
  • If the tip above doesn’t work, yelp, say “ouch” or “no biting”, go to another room and close the door, with your puppy waiting outside (there shouldn’t be anyone else for him to play with in the other room or else this won’t work). Wait 20 to 30 seconds, and then come back out. Your puppy may be waiting for you right outside of the door. Greet him enthusiastically and start playing again like nothing happened. Your puppy will begin to realize that biting results in you going away and no play time. It may take several days for this to click in, but as simple as it is, it can prove to be quite effective.
  • If you find that your puppy likes to bite your hands or a certain piece of your clothing, try using a taste deterrent. Just spray the areas where your puppy grabs onto before you interact with him. Stand still and wait for him to take a bite. He’s not going to like it one bit (or bite!). Keep this up for a couple of weeks – this should be enough time to get a bad taste in his mouth and drop his mouthy habit.
  • Above all, remember that your puppy is still learning. It’s going to take time for him to get the basics, so understand that it may take a while for him to get it. Play biting is normal for puppies, so they don’t know any better until you teach them.
  • If you don’t think that your puppy’s biting is normal or if the biting turns aggressive, please contact a professional dog trainer.

Do you have any tips on how to stop a puppy from biting? If so, please add them in the comment section below – we’d love to hear them.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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