How to Train a Puppy to Not Bite Your Hands

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Lucky has lived up to his name since you brought them into your home. With a larger than life character and endless energy, he has made you feel more alive than you have in years. Lucky forces you out the house for a long and pleasant walk each day. He also keeps you grinning throughout the day simply by bounding up to your feet, looking for attention. However, it hasn’t all been without problems. In fact, there is one problem in particular that needs addressing, and that’s biting your hands. When you reach down to play with Lucky or feed him, you can often receive a sharp and painful nip on your hands.

Training your puppy not to bite is becoming increasingly important. Firstly, it will save you from pain and make playing with them more enjoyable. It will also mean you won’t have to worry whenever a friend or family member reaches down to stroke them.

Defining Tasks

Training Lucky not to bite your hands may prove challenging. The biggest hurdle is identifying the underlying problem. Once you have done that, you can set about tackling the issue. In the meantime, you can introduce a number of deterrence measures to remove the temptation. You will then need to use positive reinforcements to channel his energy into something more productive.

Because he is just a puppy, the habit should be relatively new and most likely a product of play or excitement. As a result, breaking it should be relatively easy and you may need just a week or two. However, if Lucky is particularly stubborn then you may need several weeks before you see consistent results. Getting this training right will stop Lucky’s biting developing into more serious and dangerous aggression when he gets older. Furthermore, this type of training will make it easier for you to stamp out a range of other bad habits too.

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to get your hands on a few bits. You will need a deterrence collar and a water spray bottle for one of the methods. A muzzle may also be required until training proves successful. Be sure to stock up on tasty treats to reward good behavior.

Set aside just a few minutes each day for training. However, also try to be as present and vigilant as much as possible.

Once you have all of the above, just bring patience and a pro-active attitude, then work can begin!

The Deterrence Method

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Step
1
Safe space
Puppies sometimes bite hands when they get fed up or wound up. This is particularly the case if you have young children around pestering them. So make sure the pup has a secure space they can escape to, such as a crate. Just like humans, dogs need an escape as well sometimes.
Step
2
Remove the trigger
Your puppy may be biting because they get particularly wound up when you play with a favorite toy. If that is the case, try playing with a toy for just a few minutes, or even seconds, at a time. Simply remove the toy after a couple of minutes to keep them calm.
Step
3
‘NO’
The first thing to do if you catch them biting is to give them a firm ‘NO’. Make sure that you get the message across, but try not to terrify them. Hold eye contact as you give the command so they are aware of your disapproval.
Step
4
Water bottle
Carry a water spray bottle with you at all times. Then if the ‘NO’ doesn’t do the job you can give a quick spray of water near the face. This should get them associating biting with negative consequences.
Step
5
Deterrence collar
If the biting still continues, you may want to consider a deterrence collar. Simply hit the remote button whenever they bite and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted. This will see to it that your puppy thinks twice about biting next time.
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The Environment Method

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Exercise
If your puppy is of a larger breed then it is particularly important they get plenty of exercise. They may be biting your hands because they are restless. So take them for a long walk each day and/or throw a ball for a few minutes. A tired puppy is a calm puppy.
Step
2
No giggling
It’s important you send a clear message to your nippy puppy. If you are strict but other members of the family laugh when the dog bites their hands, then the pup will be confused. It’s important you all respond in the same stern manner.
Step
3
Gentle play
Try to encourage gentle play. Quietly sit there for a few minutes each day stroking the pup. You need to show them they can have fun without going crazy and getting worked up. Dogs mirror their owners behavior, so it’s up to you to lead by example.
Step
4
Reward
When Lucky does remain calm when you play, hand over a tasty reward. You want them to start associating gentle play with mouth-watering treats. You can also give them verbal praise.
Step
5
Tug of war
Because they are a puppy, they may be biting your hands because they are teething. So, try spending a few minutes each day playing tug of war. This will help show them where and where it is not acceptable to bite, while also relieving some of the teething discomfort.
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The Time Out Method

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Step
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Prepare a room
You need to find an easily accessible room that you can swiftly take the pup to when they start biting your hands. Make sure this room has no toys, a bed or anything else in there they may want to play with.
Step
2
Take the prisoner away
As soon as your puppy does start biting, calmly take them by the collar and lead them to the time-out space. Close the door and do not speak to them for 30 seconds.
Step
3
Release
Once the 30 seconds is up, you can open the door and give them another chance. Their punishment is up so it’s important you don’t continue to hold a grudge. Simply continue as you were.
Step
4
Increase the sentence
If the puppy bites your hands again, repeat the same process. However, continue to add an extra 30 seconds onto their time-out sentence until they get the message. Don’t worry, puppies are quick learners, so they will soon get the message.
Step
5
Muzzle
Until your pup has stopped biting people’s hands, you may want to consider fitting them in a muzzle, especially when they are in public. This will prevent any injuries and remove the temptation altogether.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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