Puppy Biting 101

PUPPIES ARE NIPPY. Puppies are MOUTHY. Puppies latch onto fingers, hair, toes, dress hems, yoga pants, cargo short legs, ankles, socks, ponytails, bathrobes, earrings, necklaces, arm flesh, tassles, watch straps, hoody strings, sleeve cuffs, etc.

One or two of you is going to panic thinking that you are raising a land shark who will be drawing blood from everyone s/he meets for eternity but I assure you, it does stop naturally once the puppy grows out of the 'oral inspection and chomping' phase. You may feel that your puppy is the only one behaving this way and that there must be SOMETHING you can do to stop it. Rest assured. Retrievers and other hunting breeds are extra mouthy but it does fade away in the course of a few weeks to a month or 2 for most puppies.

They are fast. They are strong. They are determined. Their teeth are sharp. They can unintentionally scratch and bruise you, your visitors, your children. In fact, the nipping phase is one of the reasons that I don't recommend this breed for families with small children.

There is no scientifically proven way to curb it and we certainly don't encourage any kind of discipline for it. You have the following options:

1. Offer a swap. Have soft or chew toys handy everywhere. Try to get the puppy interested in that instead.

2. Manage the situation. To stop the behaviour, pick up the puppy and put her/him into their enclosure (we recommend a playpen for young pups where they can still be part of the action but they have a barrier to separate them.) Biting often amps up before they are ready for a nap so putting them in their spot will encourage settling down.

This is not a 'time out' in the sense of punishment but rather a separation of puppy from current biting victim.


🚫 Any sort of corporal discipline, such as putting their lip into their teeth to cause pain.

🚫 Swatting the puppy anywhere on their bodies.

🚫 Yelping to indicate you are being hurt- research shows that this des not curb the behaviour any faster than with swapping and managing their environment and in some cases may even further arouse the puppy.