How to Stop a Puppy From Biting: 8 Effective Strategies

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How to Stop a Puppy From Biting

Did you recently add a puppy to your home?

If so, you have joined one of the 129.8 million households that have a furry companion. Puppies are cute, but when those sharp puppy teeth destroy or bite your skin, you may not think they are so cute anymore.

Does your new puppy constantly bite your furniture, clothes, and maybe even you? If so, there is some training you can offer to stop them from ruining your home. Below are 8 ways to help stop a puppy from biting.

Bite Inhibition

The first step is to react each time your puppy bites. Puppies play by nipping each other – it’s only natural. They do the same when they get overexcited around their owners.

A puppy doesn’t realize that its bite hurts. This is why you need to show them it does. When your puppy bites you, you must say “ow,” “no,” or “ouch” in a firm voice.

The puppy will learn bite inhibition this way. It has no idea that this is wrong.

This is the same principle as when puppies play. If a puppy bites another too hard, you will hear a yelp, and that puppy will usually stop playing. This is how puppies learn to be gentle with each other.

Use of Taste Deterrents

You can also make a puppy second guess biting or chewing by using taste deterrents. You can make these with simple ingredients like white vinegar or bitter sprays, such as the Rocco & Roxie No Chew Extreme Bitter Spray for Dogs from Amazon or local pet stores. Don’t use any toxic chemicals.

Spray the taste deterrents on your clothes or body where the puppy bites. If the puppy decides to nip, stop movement and see how it reacts. When the puppy stops biting, be sure to praise your dog and then play again.

stop puppy chewing


Puppies are exploring their environment and like to use their teeth to help them discover new things. Make sure your house is filled with safe and fun chew toys. Be sure you find toys that your puppy won’t destroy quickly like plastic or rubber toys.

Bones are another good toy to have around your house. There are several brands of bones that are almost indestructible. When your puppy tries to gnaw on your hand or toes, distract the puppy by giving it a toy or edible dog chew instead.

Related: New Puppy Checklist: Bringing Home Your Large Breed

You can also stimulate your dog and distract it from biting by hiding treats inside of toys. It will have to figure out how to earn its reward.

If your puppy bites your hand when you pet it, try giving your puppy a treat from the other hand. This will encourage your puppy to get used to being petted and not biting.

You can also help distract your puppy by playing non-contact forms of play like tug-of-war or fetch. If your puppy wants to nip, redirect him to the tug-of-war game each time. Soon your puppy will want to play tug-of-war or fetch instead of biting you.

Play with Other Dogs

You should socialize your puppy with other puppies and dogs. It helps your puppy develop and uses up his energy playing with other dogs. He will learn when he bites too hard from the other dogs because they will yelp.

You can also put your dog in a puppy class to learn new skills and play with other puppies. He will have supervised playtime and will get worn out! Puppies need a lot of exercise!


You can also redirect your puppy not to bite. If your puppy goes to bite, pull your hand away before contact. Then give your dog a treat or toy to gnaw on.

Another popular method is a puppy timeout. If you feel your puppy bite or make contact with skin, make your puppy go in a quiet area. You should have a leash on your puppy when you are practicing this training to lead your puppy out of the room and tie him for a brief timeout.

puppy biting leg

Other Things to Consider

Puppies like to bite when something is by its mouth. Avoid waving your fingers or toes in front of your dog. You are encouraging your puppy to bite.

Play with your puppy. It helps you build a bond as a family. You want your puppy to play – you just need to teach it to play gently.

Don’t hit or slap your puppy when it nips. This can encourage her to bite even harder and could make her play more aggressively. Physical punishment will make your puppy afraid.

Remember, you need to be patient and understanding with your puppy. Playful mouthing or nipping is a normal behavior for all puppies.

Puppy “Temper Tantrums”

Puppies can have temper tantrums just like toddlers. These tantrums happen when you make the puppy do something it doesn’t want to do.

When your puppy has a tantrum, its body will look more stiff or frozen. She may even growl or show her teeth.

If your puppy starts to throw a tantrum, stay calm and don’t react. Your puppy might actually intensify aggressive behavior if you react even if you say “ouch.”

Don’t hurt your puppy. Just hold him firmly without much constriction until he stops struggling. If this begins to happen regularly, you may want to get some professional help.

puppy biting

Getting Help on How to Stop a Puppy from Biting

If you feel your puppy’s mouthing is becoming more aggressive, you may want to talk to a dog trainer for advice. You can search for area Certified Professional Dog Trainers or ask around for referrals. Your vet is a good source to find help.

Be sure you don’t wait too long if you think your dog is starting to get aggressive. The longer you wait will make it harder to break.

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