Why are puppies so obsessed with trying to nip our ankles?! Yes, they’re cute and all, but those little teeth can be really sharp, so here’s some advice on how to stop them from having a munch on something they shouldn’t. So what to do if your puppy is biting?
Why is my puppy biting?
The first thing to remember is that this behaviour is completely normal. Biting is key to how a puppy explores the world, and it’s probably been part of some really fun play sessions with their siblings and other puppies. But it’s really important to make sure they learn boundaries.
How do I stop my puppy biting?
A little nibble when you’re playing is quite common, but if your puppy bites down hard, make sure you respond with a sharp ‘no’ and take yourself away from the situation. They’ll learn that this means the end of playtime – and no puppy wants that!
It’s also really important to get them socialised with other dogs whilst they’re going through their key development stage (up to 16-18 weeks). Allowing them to experience interactions with dogs and allowing them to be told off from time to time (!) is a really good way of learning boundaries.
We’ve got a great blog with some more information on socialising a puppy here.
Why is my puppy chewing?
Puppies chew things, babies chew things, even adult humans chew things (gum, anyone?). It supports play, exploration, teething, and it’s what we like to call an ‘occupier’ – in other words, it keeps them busy. But sometimes they chew things they shouldn’t, so it’s important to give them some pointers on what they can and can’t chew.
How do I stop my puppy chewing?
As a general rule, it’s easy to get your puppy to stop chomping on things they shouldn’t – take it away and make sure they have something more suitable (and more exciting) to chew on. It’s a good idea to get a few different types of chew toys to keep it interesting for them. Think flavoured toys, noisy toys, puzzle toys… all of them will help with your puppy’s mental development as well as being fun, safe ways for them to get all that chewy angst out!
If your puppy is teething, try popping their toys in the fridge or freezer to give them something cool to chew on. It’ll help soothe their gums and give them something else to focus on.
It’s also a good idea to ‘puppy-proof’ your house. Get down on the floor and have a look round – if you were a puppy, what would you chew? Wires, plants, shoes: they’re all fair game, so move them away or keep them covered.
What if my puppy is chewing wood?
When your skirting boards, doors and the legs of your table are getting munched on, it can be pretty annoying. Again, it’s usually boredom, but it can be a result of separation anxiety as your puppy sees it as a way to escape. Whilst a little bite won’t do them much harm (we can’t say the same for your furniture) it’s important to stop them from getting into the habit as wood can break and splinter which can be dangerous for your pup.
Keep lots of fun chew toys around to keep them away from the door frames, and if they insist on continuing to chew the table legs, there are a few specially designed sprays available that taste bitter and should act as a deterrent!
And if you need some advice on what they should be chowing down on, check out our guide to puppy feeding here.