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How to Train Your Puppy to Stop Biting

How to Train Your Puppy to Stop Biting

It can be tough to stop your puppy from biting, and they’ll go for anything: hands, feet, legs, clothes, their leash and even your face! So how do we intervene with an untrained pooch? Vets in Vancouver see loads of dogs and we pick up a lot about how they interact. There are some basic psychological tricks to repeat in order to teach puppies better behaviour. Here are a few ways to get your dog to stop biting, recommended by trainers and behaviourists.

Bite Inhibition

When dogs play they appear to fight, but they’re usually gentle with each other as they’ve learned from experience. Sometimes dogs will bite too hard, especially in their early years. Their dog coats protect their thin skin but even so, it’s easy for a puppy to hurt another dog. When they bite they nip softly and if they go too hard the other dog will yelp. Both dogs will then stop playing but soon return to playful scrapping. Many of the following techniques emulate this interaction and teach your puppy bite inhibition. Once they learn this, your puppy will bite softly if at all and grow to understand that people and other dogs aren’t for biting.


Hit up your local pet store and get a variety of chewy dog toys that you can keep on you when playing with your pup. Whenever they bite you can give them a bone or chewy toy that they actually enjoy biting on.

Puppy chewing bone

If they start to nip you, let your hand go limp so it’s a less attractive teething target and then wave a toy enthusiastically. They’ll be enticed by the familiar toy and focus their toothy attention there instead. You can also substitute using your hands to play with them for a toy they can tug on so your hands aren’t the object of their game.

Related: Dog Toys and Accessories Master Guide


Another method is a timeout. Play with your puppy but stop if they start biting, then yelp in a high pitch – as another dog might – and stop playing. Ignore the dog for a moment, letting them retreat to their dog bed and get bored. You only need to do this for between 20 seconds and a minute. Then come back and play with them. Dogs won’t understand complex ideas but when play stops because they bite it will reinforce the idea that biting is a negative thing with consequences.

Play with Other Dogs

Dogs learn behaviour from their contemporaries, elders and alphas. If your pup spends time with other dogs who are friendly and obedient, they will pick up similar habits.

Puppy and dog playing

Dogs will have little scraps when they play, but if one dog bites hard then the other will yelp, snarl and stop playing. These little timeouts will teach your dog to stop biting so hard and only mouth playfully. Vancouver vets rarely have to treat nasty dog bites because there are so many dogs here, so they learn lessons from each other and are used to playing.

Taste Deterrent

Ever put on hand sanitizer and then inexplicably end up with a toxic taste in your mouth? Surprisingly, a dog’s sense of taste is far less potent than our own. They have around 1,700 taste buds compared to our 9000. Their sense of smell is incredible though. If you put something like hand sanitizer, with an unpleasant taste, on the area your pup is biting, they’ll quickly associate the action with the poor taste. They’ll also smell the area in advance and know not to bite when that substance is present.

What Not to Do When Training Your Puppy

Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any puppy parenting tips. If you’re looking for a Vancouver veterinarian for your pet, we’re always happy to help. If you own a dog in Canada you can also visit our online pet shop for all your food and accessory needs. We stock some of the best dog food in Canada. Come and see!


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