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Puppy nipping

Tips for dealing with puppy nipping 
Written by Mayhew team
Updated 3 months ago

My puppy is nipping and mouthing. Is this normal and how can I manage it?

  • Remember that it’s normal, natural, necessary puppy behaviour so don’t scold puppy. 
  • Make sure puppy is getting plenty of down time, naps and chewing on stuffed toys. 
  • Keep interactions short and don’t let play sessions go on for longer than 30 seconds before taking a break of about a minute and then resume and repeat – this is especially important when puppies are interacting with children. 
  • Use lots of food rewards any time you must handle or restrain your puppy so that this doesn’t cause them to practice biting and resisting, and so that they can associate something positive with these interactions.
  • If puppy is biting, but not too hard, re-direct this behaviour onto a toy and use that to play.
  • If puppy bites hard (relative to their usual biting pressure), YELP! and withdraw for 20 seconds and then resume the interaction
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  • If puppy is biting to get your attention, when you are not interacting with him, withdraw from puppy by ignoring them for 20 seconds.
  • If puppy turns into a land-shark, end the interaction and give puppy a lined or stuffed Kong toy in their bed – everyone needs a break!
  • If puppy chases or bites clothing while a person is moving around, management first – confine puppy when people are active
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  • When puppy chases you or attempts to, stop dead and completely ignore them for a five- count, then divert their attention with a game, training or tossing a toy or some food in the other direction.
  • Practice tossing a food reward onto their bed for every step that you take in training sessions involving you moving around the room – this teaches puppy that the place to be is their bed when people are moving around.
  • These are exercises are for adults only – make sure children have short interactions with puppies, that are calm and don’t encourage nipping. 
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