How To Stop a Puppy from Biting your Feet and Hands
Want to Stop a Puppy from Biting your Feet and Hands? You just clicked the right link. There is a simple truth every dog owner should know: puppies bite. They don’t mean any harm by it, that is just how they play. And while it was cute when they were very tiny, it does begin to pack a punch as they grow older and soon, your blood-stained jeans might serve as a remember of just how painful a once playful bite can be. I once heard of a man who was bitten by a dog, and promptly reacted by biting the dog back! The poor canine was so confused it never bit anyone again. If you’d rather not carry-out my crazy uncle’s extreme case of tit for tat, you might prefer to train your puppy to stop biting people. And yes, that bad habit can be completely weaned from your dog, leaving you and your family members safe to play with your sweet little pup once again.
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1. It’s Perfectly Natural
The first thing we need to establish is that biting is only natural, it’s not personal. Puppies learn to explore the world with their mouths, as their paws are not quite as adept at handling complex textures. It is easier for them to handle things with their mouths, yes, including your fingers, than to try pawing them. Once your puppy starts teething, get ready for some painful playtimes.
Play biting is how puppies play with each other. This is an action not limited to dogs; most animals in nature do them, including cubs, but those bites might be a little bit more painful. While you can never eradicate it, you can limit it to toys and any item of your partner’s clothing you are eager to get rid of.
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2. Getting Rid of Play Biting
In order to learn how to really help your dog, it is important to know which activities trigger play biting. Our natural inclination, or if I may speak for myself, is to stop doing those activities. I had a dog when I was younger who just loved to play bite. No one trained him, so whenever he would get like that, I would just stop playing with him. Eventually, I stopped playing with him as often, but of course, he never knew why. We are not going to make that mistake with your dog, now are we? So please don’t be discouraged, and let’s get this training done right. Below are some of the steps to take.
3. Teach Your Dog to Leave It
This is a very important part of how to Stop a Puppy from Biting your Feet and Hands. When your puppy likes something, it will play with it, which usually involves biting it. If your dog is biting toys too aggressively or biting you, you can then tell him to stop, by saying ‘leave it’.
To teach your dog to leave it, hold a treat in your hand, and allow your puppy to see it or smell it. Obviously, the little nipper will want to get it out of there, either by biting it out or pawing it. When your dog stops trying to get it, give it the prize with gentle praise attached to it. Do this again, and as your dog is getting its paw down, say ‘leave it’. Keep this up a few times, then try it with your fist open. Once your dog has learned to leave it, you can use this command when it is either biting you, something you are wearing, or your furniture. Using the word ‘no’ when your pup is doing something wrong is also acceptable.
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4. Get Your Pup Used to Being Touched
Another thing which is very important is getting your dog used to being touched and corralled rather firmly. Play biting happens when a puppy is being touched, so it tries to touch or hold back. However, aggressive bites happen when dogs are being touched in ways they don’t like. Children are often the victims of vicious bites, as they don’t know how to play with dogs, so they might tug at their tails or pull their ears and some dogs don’t like that. At the very least, if your dog thinks it is being played with, the bite would be soft and not threatening to the child’s life. But of course, it is best to eradicate this altogether.
So pick up your pup and play with him a little bit. If he tries to bite you, pull your hand away. If he doesn’t bite you, give him a treat. That way, your puppy associates play with treats, but only when it doesn’t bite. Obviously, when it does succeed in biting you, exclaim your pain by saying ‘ouch’ or whatever comes naturally, but do not shout at it or drop him. No treat this time. Try different things like pulling its ears, tail, rubbing its back firmly, holding his paws and all that, each time rewarding him with a treat when he doesn’t bite.
What we aspire to is to replace biting with licking. So, every time the dog licks you, give it a treat with a well-deserved ‘good boy’ and ‘yes’. Every time your dog does something good like obeys your commands, try to tell it ‘yes’, even as you reward it with a treat or a toy. Dogs are pleasers. When they know that ‘yes’ stands for something good, they will want more of those.
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5. Learning What to Bite
Another step to take to stop biting is to introduce alternatives. When your puppy bites you or something it shouldn’t, give it something else to bite. By offering up a distraction, you begin to introduce to your dog things that are suitable for biting. As it goes for the toy, say ‘Yes! Good boy/girl’ to show your approval.
One of the ways to do this is by playing a tug of war. While some frown at it, I find that doing it with your puppy is safe, but you have to play it right. The aim of the tug of war is to teach your dog what to bite and when to let go of things.
Get a toy with a rope in your hand and offer it to your puppy and allow him to pull. When you want him to stop pulling, stop tugging and the game will stop being interesting. You can then tell him to leave it, or drop it. When he responds, give him a treat and you can keep playing.
When your puppy gets to about six months, it would begin teething. This is a prime biting-time, as your dog is trying to relieve the pressure. Give him chew sticks if you have, or ice cubes, which will help reduce the swelling.
6. Use A Time-Out
Another effective way to Stop a Puppy from Biting your Feet and Hands is to stop playing with it. When your dog bites you, yell ‘ouch’ then stop playing with it for about a minute. If you are trying to teach your puppy the soft bite, only cry out when the bite is too hard. The soft bite is helpful as dogs will snap on occasion when something makes them feel threatened, even if it is a branch pressed against their body. By learning the soft bite, aggressive biting can be minimized or eliminated.
Be sure to exclaim or tell your dog ‘no’ every time it bites you before you stop playing with it. Also remember to reward it if after you resume play, it doesn’t bite.
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7. Never Stop Training to Stop a Puppy from Biting your Feet and Hands
Teaching your puppy to behave will take a lot of time and energy. You have to keep in mind why you are doing it, so you don’t give up or become frustrated with your pet. Whoever will be training your dog alongside you should use the same techniques, as consistency is very important.
While you are training your dog, it is important to be vigilant when your dog is mingling with other dogs or people. If your dog is still at the biting stage, do keep it away from guests or keep it on a leash when you are expecting company. Children are drawn to animals, so they will want to play with it, either in your home or when you take it out. It is okay to tell people not to get too close to your dog because it is still being trained. Not everyone would be as understanding if a strange dog nipped at their ankle. Don’t tempt your dog and play it safe.
The end result of all your hard work will be a dog you can take to the park and let roam free without fear of any stranger crying, or your pup being impounded. So, go on, stop reading this and go train! Let us know how it goes in the comment section.
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