How to Train a Puppy to Stop Biting Other Dogs

How to Train a Puppy to Stop Biting Other Dogs
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon3-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Training your puppy when you bring him home with you is generally the number one task on any new dog owner’s list. From obedience to house training to preventing separation anxiety, there are tons of issues to tackle during his journey through puppyhood, and managing them all at once is not always easy. There are bound to be things here and there that fall through the cracks,

One of the issues that puppy owners come across often is the painful nipping that comes along with some rough play. Puppies have sharp little teeth that can cause some discomfort for other dogs if they’re uncertain of their own strength. Socialization with other dogs is important for puppies to develop good manners, but dealing with a nippy puppy can be a chore all on its own for both the owner and the other dogs in the area.

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Defining Tasks

Biting and nipping is natural puppy behavior and it is common for a puppy to not have manners when it comes to interacting with other dogs. Puppies learn manners from their mother and littermates and sometimes, the provided role models are not quite what we’d hope. Puppies can also pick up bad habits from their environment, whether it was accidentally reinforced or not. Despite this, your puppy should learn the appropriate behavior as soon as possible, starting from when you first bring him home, and should be reinforced for at least three to six weeks in order to assure that the better, more appropriate habit is established.

Positive reinforcement for the appropriate behavior and interrupting bad manners are both tools to utilize during this training, as it can keep a small problem from developing into a much larger one later on.

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Getting Started

Before your training begins, make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated. Puppies shouldn’t interact with other dogs outside of their litter until they’ve received all of their vaccinations in order for them to stay happy and healthy.

Once that is done, invest in a few chew toys and other items that are good and healthy for your puppy’s teeth. Treats and snacks that are made to be a little tough and chewy are ideal, but remember not to get anything too hard, or this could damage the teeth! Use these items often for downtime, play time, and rewards.

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The Socialization Method

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1

Wait to bring your puppy home

Ideally, your puppy should be kept with his mother and littermates until at least eight weeks of age. This is where he will develop some of his bite inhibition and manners.

2

Start socialization as early as possible

Once your puppy is home and vaccinated, begin exposing him to plenty of other dogs and people.

3

Use good role models

Focus on meetings with dogs that are calm and well behaved, as they can help teach your pup good manners and how to properly use his teeth without causing harm.

4

Have continuous play dates

Have play dates as often as possible! The more exposure your puppy gets to other dogs, the better.

5

Avoid dog parks early on

Dog parks are notorious for being free-for-alls where both good and bad influences are likely to mix. Avoid bringing your puppy to a dog park where you aren’t sure of the sorts of confrontations he may come across. Biting at a cranky park visitor can result in some extremely dangerous circumstances.

The Bite Inhibition Method

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1

Watch for inappropriate behavior

Keep an eye on your puppy as she plays and interacts with other dogs. Supervise each and every time to prevent any incidents from happening without you knowing.

2

Stop play when necessary

If she begins to bite and nip excessively or inappropriately, put a stop to play time as soon as you see the behavior.

3

Separate

Take your pup and place her in a separate area, away from the other dog for a few moments. This will help teach her that as soon as she starts biting, playtime is over.

4

Reintroduce when possible

Once she has calmed down some, bring your puppy back to the play area to continue to interact.

5

Repeat often to offset bad behavior

Continue to separate your puppy whenever she exhibits bad manners with her teeth. Eventually, she will realize that not using her mouth will get her what she wants: continuing to play and interact with the other dog.

The Redirection Method

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Offer plenty of alternatives

Set out plenty of toys and other things for your puppy use his teeth on other than the other dog.

2

Rotate options out

Take out and put new toys into the area often so your puppy always has something exciting to explore.

3

Reward for appropriate use

Toss in some treats on occasion when you notice your pup behaving appropriately.

4

Prevent instead of interrupt

Keep hands and fingers away from your puppy’s mouth and teeth to discourage biting. This can translate over to his behavior with other dogs and he may be less likely to use his teeth.

5

Use ‘leave it’ to your advantage

Use obedience training to teach your pup to ‘leave it’ when you don’t want him to bite something or someone. Reward him for focusing his attention on you instead of the thing he wants to bite.

By TJ Trevino

Published: 04/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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EDDIE

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Bichon Frise

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One Year

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Question

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Hi there, I just got a resume dog, Eddie, last week - he is only 1 and still has real puppy playing energy haha. I have a 13 year old Maltese Schitzu (Stanley) at home and I don't feel like I can leave them at home alone together because Eddie jumps on him and chases him around. I took him to visit my partners dog last night who is a 1 year old cavoodle and Eddie didn't stop chasing him around and trying to nip at his feet and tail. I'm at a loss for what to do because there are times Eddie needs to be at home with either Stanley or another dog if he's been looked after. Please help! Thanks

Aug. 17, 2022

EDDIE's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, at this age I recommend crate training Eddie. I wouldn't leave him home with another dog until he is more respectful also, but the crate can help him learn how to calm himself and give your older dog a break, so I would use the crate until you reach a place where they are safe alone together. Surprise method for crate training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Second, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed - which will be mostly Eddie causing issues at this age. Teach Eddie Leave It also. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if Eddie comes over to your other dog when he is trying to leave, tell Eddie Out. If he obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your other dog, blocking the pup from getting to him, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your other dog. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your dogs - you want them to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for them to learn respect for each other because you have taught it to them and not because they have used aggression or your older dog hide away. Teach both dogs, or at least Eddie, the Place command and work up to having them both stay on their separate Place beds calmly for 1-2 hours. This is a great calming, self-control building, and tolerance exercise. It also helps get them both in a working, more respectful mindset while in the same room as each other, so your older dog can simply hang out in the same room with Eddie without Eddie coming over to pester him. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Finally, work on manners and building respect and trust for you with Eddie. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Sometimes is can be helpful to keep a drag leash on the younger dog to when you are home to ensure it doesn't get caught on anything, then if Eddie isn't obeying your commands, you can calmly walk over, step on his drag leash and pick it up, then enforce your command with the leash - by doing something like walking pup over to Place and insisting he stay there if you had commanded that. This helps him learn that you mean what you say and obeying isn't optional, so be obeys instantly eventually, with practice, without you having to be overly harsh or chase him. Be sure to take it off when not home though so it doesn't get tangled when you aren't there. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 18, 2022

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Max

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german shepard

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9 Months

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I recently got max from a friend and we have other dogs at home. A 5 year old female dog and a 6 month old male belgian malinois. Max has a tendency of biting the male puppy on the neck and sometimes it seems playfully but then it looks to get aggressive, as of now the method I’ve tried is just pulling him away and letting him calm down but it doesn’t seem to work.

July 6, 2022

Max's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Andrea, I think it would be worth hiring a professional trainer who has experience with aggression and with puppies, to observe the dogs together in person, to see if Max is simply playing too rough, or if the biting is aggressive in nature. How you address this and how dangerous this is is very different if the behavior is just playful versus aggression. If the behavior is determined to just be playful, I would work on teaching Max some self-control and calmness, as well as commands that can be used to communicate with pup when you want them to give the puppy space. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 7, 2022


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