Hey folks. Dave from Sit Happens Nashville here. We are professional dog trainers serving the greater Nashville area.
As with any piece of advice related to dog training, it is important to note that not all puppies respond in the same way to particular methods. It is important to be patient and consistent, proceeding with caution and speaking with a certified dog trainer if additional support is needed. With that in mind, consider the following three tips for correcting your puppy’s biting problem:
Puppies are natural chewers, and this chewing is essential for their development. However, inappropriate chewing such as on hands, fingers, clothing, or furniture must be discouraged. To provide a positive way for puppies to work out their dental needs, carefully choose one or two appropriate chew toys. Make sure the toys are interesting, providing a variety of textures and shapes. It is helpful to purchase undyed, unbleached toys, as some dogs can develop health issues from forms of dye or paint that may be rubbed off with chewing.
It may seem counterintuitive, but positive reinforcement is an effective and proven way to reduce biting in puppies. Whenever your pup shows a sign of good behavior, such as refraining from biting, offer a reward such as a small treat or praise. Your pup will quickly associate the reward with the behavior and will be more likely to continue it in the future.
Lab puppies are especially active and curious creatures. Instead of scolding them for exploring and learning, redirect their attention to activities such as playing with a tug toy, learning a new behavior, or getting some exercise. If the puppy is biting at clothing, use a higher-value treat reward if they leave it alone. This positive reinforcement is much better than simply scolding them.
Time outs are a great tool to use in managing problem behaviors, including biting. Whenever your pup starts to bite, remove them from the situation and put them in a safe spot for a few minutes. This will give your pup a chance to settle and cool off before resuming playtime.
It is important to give corrections in a calm and brief tone of voice without anger. If a puppy is biting or has exhibited another unacceptable behavior, it is helpful to calmly repeat a word such as 'no' or 'stop.' This is not a good opportunity to reprimand, lecture, or get overly emotional. Puppies come pre-programmed with certain behavior patterns, so correcting them is the only way to make sure they do not repeat the same misbehavior in the future.
Puppy teething can be one of the leading causes of biting behavior. To reduce this, provide your puppy with various chewable and toy-based outlets. Chew toys and bones can help reduce the need to chew on you or your clothing.
By following the above three tips, your puppy can learn in a positive and effective manner. Remember to follow positive reinforcement-based training principles, providing corrections briefly and calmly. Be patient, consistent, and make sure to provide plenty of exercise and stimulation for your pup. When in doubt, users of a qualified, knowledgeable Nashville dog trainer for more in-depth advice about your puppy biting.