Playful that they are, it's natural for puppies to be mischievous ... to bite your hands and legs ... to nip and 'mouth' you. This is not really serious initially, but if it continues in the future, this 'playful' behavior can cause harm to you or your loved ones. It is therefore, very important to teach your puppy to refrain from biting. You need to teach it to control its jaws. It should be taught to think before it bites, so that in the future, it does not indulge in the same.
Puppies learn that they shouldn't bite too hard when they are playing with their mother or their siblings. If the puppy bites his sibling too hard, he yelps in pain, thus sending across the message that the behavior is not accepted. If he bites his mother too hard, he is in for a good punishment. So, one way of dealing with this problem is to let the puppy live with his mother for some more time. The mother will teach it in her own way.
Puppies bite as it is a part of their developmental process. They tend to do it more when they are teething. They want to sink their teeth in just about anything they find during this phase. Many dog owners get worried, as the cute, cuddly pet they brought home turns into a snapping machine. The puppy is not doing this on purpose; it's just a phase in its life. But you need to promptly subject it to proper training as this behavior can turn into a serious problem later on.
How to Teach a Puppy to Stop Biting?
You should never let your puppy play with your hands and feet. This just gives the poor animal an impression that it's all right to bite the skin. You should never allow him to bite your finger either. As soon as the puppy bites you or gives you a nip, give out a loud yell or say 'OUCH'. Give him a glaring stare and move away. Come back after a minute with a toy for the puppy to play with. If he bites you again, give out a loud yell and walk away. Puppies are very social and like to play. Your walking away the moment the puppy bites will make it connect the 'act' to 'no more fun', and it will stop biting. Additionally, the yell will reinforce the thought that the bite causes pain.
If your puppy does not stop biting with the above technique, you can use a shake can. (Take an empty soda can, fill it with some coins, and tape its mouth.) When your puppy bites, give a verbal command whilst shaking the can vigorously. You may even drop it next to the puppy (NOT on the puppy). This will reinforce the verbal command. Make sure that you praise him when he stops the unwanted behavior though.
Next, you can allow your puppy to play with other puppies. You can even enroll your puppy in dog obedience training class and allow him to interact with other dogs. If he plays rough with the other dogs, he will be in for a nip or two himself. This will be a lesson in itself. When the puppy plays with others of his kind, he will be able to learn acceptable etiquette more readily. It will also help him control his behavior and release all the pent up energy by playing with others.
You should give your puppy ample exercise. A tired puppy will be all spent and will have no desire to bite. You can let the puppy play on its own, run, and stop at will. This is very useful in case of biting puppies, as it helps in controlling them more easily. You can spray some bitter apple or rub garlic over your hands, so that when the puppy bites you, it won't like the taste of your skin. This will discourage him from biting.
The best way to stop puppies from biting is to give them plenty to chew. Take him for walks and play fetch to take his attention away from biting. Whenever he licks you without using his teeth, praise him and give him treats. You should play with your puppy every day for 15 to 30 minutes, twice a day. This will make him less attention seeking and thus, he will avoid biting. Make sure all the members of the family remain consistent with the verbal command 'no biting'. Never overindulge in rough games, such as tug-of-war, as it promotes aggressive behavior.
Lastly, never ever use physical punishment to stop a puppy from biting; this will only make him do it more as a challenge.