If you’re beginning to wonder whether you’ve adopted a lion cub instead of a puppy, a cub that will end up tearing you to pieces, you can stop freaking out now. There are several reasons why puppies bite our hands, although this type of behaviour usually fades as months go by. In any case, here are a few tips to correct it.
We should start by saying that it’s perfectly normal for puppies to bite your hands: it’s part of their growing process, and it by no way means you’re raising an aggressive animal. When their teeth are coming out, chewing is a necessity for them. To save your hands, you might as well find them chewable toys, suitable for this period of their life.
This is why Ferplast has designed its GoodBite Natural line, chewable toys for dogs available in different shapes and in several flavours. Available as sticks or “bones”, you can use them to play with your dog, drawing her attention away from your hands. Made of natural, non-toxic and biodegradable components, these toys also help with your dog’s oral hygiene, as they strengthen her teeth and reduce tartar formation. They can be swallowed without causing any health problem whatsoever. Choose XS or S toys, more suitable for dogs only a couple of months old.
Biting and chewing on objects is a way for your puppy to explore the world and the environment around her. Never scold her for it, and keep in mind that this behaviour tends to become less and less frequent, disappearing around 18 months, when your dog’s teeth will be complete. Puppies who are particularly keen on biting are usually those that were separated from their mums before they turned two months old; this early period is crucial for their education, as adult dogs usually teach puppies not to bite and when to stop.
In any case, these are the dos and don’ts when facing a puppy that bites your hands:
1 – Don’t scold her. Say a firm NO if you need to. Don’t tease your dog by wiggling your hands in front of her. To sum it up, don’t give too much attention to this behaviour. You can also introduce a vocal command such as LET IT GO, giving her a treat when she releases her prey.
2 – Try producing an unexpected noise to distract your dog from what she’s doing.
3 – Right before she starts biting, replace your hands with a toy, such as GoodBite Natural bones or sticks. Don’t give her a toy AFTER she’s bitten you, or she might think the toy is a treat for good behaviour. Never allow your puppy to play with non-toys, such as shoes or cloth, as she may take that as meaning that playing with ANY shoe or piece of fabric is all right.
4 – If she continues to bite your hands, stand up and stop playing with her. Cross your arms to show you’re done, and, if necessary, leave the room.
5 – Your puppy must understand that you’re her alpha; she must listen to your instructions. Playing tug-of-war is pointless, as it would stimulate your dog to bite even more – she would see you as an equal, and not as the alpha.