Biting nipping and mounting normal behavior puppies. season pet parents good know-how to inherit this behavior and avoid pain/ loss of home items furniture, slippers, etc but for the first time pet parent, this behavior can be quite discomforting and painful.
Pet parents who do not know about the biting behavior of puppies would have questions in mind like what are the reasons for puppies to bite? how can I stop biting? is it normal for puppies to bite? etc.
Below are all the answers to the general queries of pet parents in doubt.
What is the difference between mouthing and biting?
There is very little difference between mouthing and biting.
Mouthing is an act by which a puppy explores objects by taking them in his mouth, this act does not involve forceful biting which can cause damage to the object. During the teething phase of puppies, they generally mouth different objects to relieve pain. Hence mouthing is a normal behavior in puppies and should not be stopped.
Biting involves mouthing but it also involves pressure of teeth on the object which may cause damage to the object in the mouth. This can be to a toy, furniture, or human hand.
Pet parents should inhibit biting behaviour in puppies else it may lead to behavioral problems when the puppy grows to be ana adult dog.
What are the reasons for a puppy to bite?
Puppy biting is a very normal behavior, the can be different uses for puppies to bite. following are the major reasons due to which puppies bite:
Explore the real world:
Just like human babies, puppies also mouth different objects to get a sense of the real world. During this phase of life, their mouth acts as a sensory organ that gives the signals of how do different things taste, how hard to bite a thing to change its shape or get a response back, etc. During this phase, puppies are just trying to know the real world and do not intentionally want to harm the objects.
Between the age of 12-16 weeks puppies shed their puppy teeth and get adult teeth. this phase is extremely painful for puppies since their gums are sore and need something to bite on which helps relieve the pain. in order to relieve the pain generally bite things which are hard example furniture, slippers, bones, etc.
Playful Biting: during this phase of the life also known how to play with other puppies. When playing with other puppies, puppies use their to provoke the reaction from other puppy. during this playful exercise it gives a very important learning to puppies as to how hard can they bite the other puppy so that it does not cause pain but is enough to provoke a reaction. If a puppy bite hard to another puppy, the puppy bitten will cry out loud and most probably will stop the play. This acts as a feedback mechanism for the puppy to know, how hard can he bite or should not bite to cause pain to another puppy. If there is no companion puppy might do the same behaviour with you. It's of utmost importance that you also let your puppy know how hard is he biting. By crying out loud. Do not scold or punish your puppy for this behaviour since its all natural for him and will confuse him to become a hyper aggressive or docile dog.
When is biting normal?
Generally the adult teeth of dogs comes till 6 months but the teething behaviour does not go beyond 3-4 months of puppy age. If the teething behaviour of the puppy is still after 4 months of puppy age then that is not a normal behaviour and needs to be looked into.
When is biting not normal?
Generally, puppy biting/teething behavior goes away after 3-4 months of puppy age, if the biting behavior still persists after 4 months then it is not normal and will need a correction else it will last longer than it should.
Following are the major reasons why puppy teething lasts longer than 4 months:
Generally, if the teething behavior of a puppy extends beyond 4 months it is due to the following reasons:
A lot of first-time owners play with the same excitement as they used to do during the teething phase of the puppy. this gives the wrong signal to the puppy that he should play the same way as he used to previously. To dissuade from biting you should stop the play immediately when the puppy biting you. This gives the signal to the puppy that biting is not ok as a normal playing behavior.
Lack of teething inhibition behavior:
Biting inhibition is a natural learning process of puppies where they learn biting force is acceptable so that it does not hurt the playing partner. Generally, this is inherently learned by puppies while playing with each other. While playing, the puppy bitten hard by another puppy cries out loud and generally stops playing. This acts as a feedback signal for the puppy as to how hard to bite for the play to continue. In cities puppies generally do not get to play with other puppies hence this learning face has to be taken up by pet parents by playing with their puppies and giving the right signals to their puppies like how hard can they bite without hurting them, what can they chew and what they cannot, etc.
Some parents bribe their puppy to stop biting by giving treats in order to inhibit the biting behavior. But in a lot of cases the puppies the as a reward and start expecting treat as soon as they bite and hence bite and hence keep up the biting behavior beyond 3-4 months of their natural teething phase.
What can we do to stop biting behavior?
Playing with your puppy is one of the most wonderful things in the whole world but there will be situations wherein your puppy might bite you in a playful way and it is very important to inhibit the biting behavior of your puppy right then and there.
Following are some of the ways in which you can inhibit the biting behavior of a puppy:
Stop the Play:
Stop the play the moment your puppy bites you. Your puppy should know that biting is not a welcome behavior and it will pause the game. this process might need repetition so that your puppy identifies the pattern and stops biting you.
Give Chew Toys:
During the teething period of a puppy he would need something to chew on to relieve the pain in sore gums but the item they pick to chew should not be your hand, furniture, or expensive items. You can give different types of chew toys that puppies can chew on and play with.
Time Out during play:
Don't indulge with an over-excited puppy. An overexcited puppy would need some time to calm down so that he does not indulge in biting you hot something else in excitement. you need to time out the procedure which gives your time to calm down before you start playing again. time out procedure helps your puppy from becoming over-excited indulge in biting you or furniture.
Exercise your puppy well:
Give plenty of exercises to your puppy by playing games like tug of war, throw and fetch and running games in parks. lack of exercise also tends to be a reason for puppies to indulge in biting behavior as a play.
What not to do to prevent biting behavior?
To prevent or stop biting behavior in your puppies following are things which you should not do:
Don't Bribe/Reward your puppy to stop biting:
To stop your puppy's biting habit, bribing your puppy or rewarding him to stop biting might be misinterpreted by your puppy as good behavior. He might keep up the biting behavior in order to get treats as a reward for his actions.
Don't punish your puppy:
Don’t punish your puppy for biting behavior, biting behavior for puppies is a natural behavior, and punishing them will confuse them and might make them very aggressive or make them very docile. None of the scenarios will be good for your puppy’s future.
Don't give attention to your puppy:
A lot of times puppies bite in a playful way to gather your attention. If you start engaging in an animated way with a puppy after he bites you, it might be interpreted by the puppy as the best way to gather your attention. This might end up your puppy continuing biting behavior beyond the normal 3-4 months.
I am practicing as a veterinarian since 2016 in small animal. I working as physician as well as surgeon. I have specilization in Neutering of dogs and cats and their anesthesia. I had performed more than 9K neutering and their post-operative care yet. My goal is to practice as a vet worldwide.