So your new puppy is biting and jumping….
For now you think it’s cute; I mean who wouldn’t find a little puppy nibbling on you adorable? Now picture these habits down the road when your puppy is 40+ pounds and still jumping and biting or nipping people because it thinks that it is okay and fun.
What then? Let’s take a step back to when you first got them and break down how to avoid that unfortunate future.
Why is my puppy biting?
Well it’s just how puppies play. They chew on their littermates and that's also how they learn bite pressure! What happens when they come home and only have you to play with? They bite! “So how do we teach them humans are friends, and not toys?” you might ask…..Let’s talk about it.
The first recommended action to take is a gentle redirection to a toy, and not using your hands alone to play with the puppy. When you use your hands to play with the puppy they learn to view them as toys, and that’s not what we want six months down the road. When training a puppy at Sweethaven, we gently redirect to a toy, here are some great options! (LINK)
Another option is to yell out “ouch!” or make a whining noise to indicate to the puppy that it hurts and not okay to bite you, they will quickly catch on that biting the humans is not okay because they can’t handle it. ;) Sometimes a puppy is just so frisky that these methods do not work. If this is the case, first ask yourself, "Is my entire family following the same protocol when our puppy starts biting?". Often, you will find that one person is ignoring or even allowing the biting. Consistency is key.
Our last option works for stubborn biters and jumpers. After the more gentle options are exhausted, we will use the startle method. this involved something as simple as a plastic jar with coins in it. It only works if it is right next to you. You shake it (use use another noise maker) suddenly as soon as the unwanted behavior begins, and praise the dog immediately when they stop the behavior.
Now what about that adorable jumping that won’t be so cute at 40＋pounds?
For a well mannered and trained puppy that knows not to jump, try gently pushing your knee out to cause them to have to jump off you, give them a verbal command (such as “Off!) that shows you don’t like that and once they sit reward them with the ever-desired pettings! Do not push them off with your hands. While it is not petting, they may see it as the desired outcome of having you touch with your hands). Your puppy will quickly catch on that they don’t get what they want by jumping on you and that it makes you unhappy and in no time you should have a well mannered pup who sits for some lovins'.
Last but not least, always be kind and patient with your dog! They all learn at different paces but never want to let you down. With gentle redirection and correction you should have a well mannered puppy in no time!