Start good habits from a young age
It is completely normal to observe your puppy nipping at you or others. He is young and is learning new behaviors every day.
There are some behaviors he may pick up that will not be ideal for him to continue throughout his life. When your puppy initially nips at you it can be cute and playful. He is young and just beginning to learn how to utilize his teeth for eating, playing, and even nipping.
However, as time passes and he grows in size and strength those teeth become more dangerous.
Therefore, it is important for you to teach him to not nip at people or other dogs. It is always great to teach your dog how to play appropriately with you.
It is equally as important that he knows how to interact with other dogs. By teaching him to be gentle with his nipping he will be able to appropriately play with other dogs.
However, you want to make sure he understands the difference in order to avoid an accident in the future.
Teach your puppy biting inhibition
The term biting inhibition refers to the action of your puppy learning the force and power behind his bite. It is common for puppies to learn this skill during playtime with other puppies.
When another puppy yelps in pain from a nip, your puppy then registers that something is wrong. They quickly will realize that their nip was too hard and he will back away. This playtime is special because it teaches your puppy how to control his nipping and use his mouth more gently.
Teach your puppy to be gentle
It is important that you teach your puppy to know when a bite is too hard. If he learns the difference at a young age you will experience fewer issues in the future as he grows. He will only become stronger; therefore, you will want to instill good behaviors from the beginning.
You will want to hold consistent play sessions with your puppy. It is important to get him playing and worked up to where he nips.
When he does mouth your skin you are able to yelp and pull your hand away. This vocalization signals to your puppy that his nip is too hard. Often this approach will encourage your puppy to play more gently.
Schedule more play dates with other dogs
When trying to teach your puppy to not nip as hard play dates may be very helpful. If you schedule these playdates it will help your puppy be more socialized.
By allowing your puppy to be to play with other canines you are encouraging them to explore their physical strength. These puppy play dates will also allow him to better understand just how gentle he should be with his mouth.
Nipping is part of playing for all puppies. Therefore, they will most likely learn from one another how gentle they need to be when interacting and playing.
Encourage playtime with humans
Although puppy play dates are very important, it is also very important that your puppy is around other humans. Providing him the opportunity to interact and play with humans allows him to practice being gentle when nipping.
Again, if he becomes nippy you will need to be sure you vocalize loudly and pull your hand away. The motion of pulling your hand away and vocalizing will solidify that he cannot be as rough or nip.
Over time, if you continue the action on pulling away he will begin to understand. He will quickly learn how gentle he needs to be when playing with humans versus other dogs.
Practice time outs
Time outs are not always a bad practice. Often times giving your mouthy puppy a time out can be very beneficial. A time out can help teach your puppy the difference between right and wrong behaviors during playtimes.
By giving your puppy disciplined breaks, you are communicating hard biting will result in playtime being put on hold. You will want to be sure to pick up playtime shortly after your dog stops nipping and begins behaving well.
It is important to show him that nipping will not be tolerated but still encourage positive playtime.
Redirect your puppy’s attention
Initially, it may not seem like a huge deal when your puppy nips at your bare skin. Actually, you may even find it adorable when he is very small. However, as he grows in age he is going to also grow in strength.
If he does not understand that nipping can cause pain he may be the cause of a serious avoidable accident. Therefore, you should test out the redirection method when you find your puppy nipping at your hands.
During playtime, you will want to immediately pull your hand away before your puppy is able to mouth it. Once you have removed your hand from the puppy’s reach you will want to offer a treat. You may even be able to offer a toy for them to chew on instead.
Teaching your puppy the right way to play to have fun
The most important point to remember during this process is that you still want your canine to be a puppy. He should still get to enjoy life and play nicely with humans as well as other dogs. Being able to get the nipping under control is critical for your dog to be well behaved.
Your end goal should be to ultimately phase out the nipping behavior together. You eventually want your puppy to play and interact with any human or another canine without nipping them.
Stress the importance of being gentle and allow him plenty of opportunities to play with other dogs and humans.
He is only going to be able to learn through experience with others. These tips will hopefully assist you in achieving your overall nipping goals.