likes biting and chewing on almost anything that enters her world. Just
as with jumping, biting between littermates is their style of play. Biting
also teaches them how to use their main hunting tool, their mouth with
all those teeth. Unfortunately, this often carries over into their interactions
with the members of their new home. All the people, including the children,
are brought into the game. Puppies have very sharp teeth, and a bite
or nip can hurt and be terrifying to small children. There are several
methods that are used to eliminate this behavior.
Startle response and redirection
Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist and adjunct professor
at the University of Wisconsin, suggests a method which startles the biting
puppy. Just as the puppy bites down, make a sudden, abrupt, high-pitched
and loud 'AWRP' sound. This would be the same sound that a littermate would
make if bitten by the puppy. The sound should be so sudden and sharp that
the puppy is immediately startled and stops the behavior. If done correctly,
you will be surprised at how instantly the pup removes his mouth and looks
bewildered. At that point, quickly substitute a toy, such as a ball, the
puppy can chew on. This redirects the puppy's biting behavior to the ball.
This way the puppy learns it is no fun at all biting you, but chewing on
the toy is. You may need to do this multiple times if the puppy gets excited
in play. If the 'AWRPs' make the puppy more excited, try another approach.
Stop the action
Dr. McConnell also suggests that, in some cases, just immediately (and
dramatically) leave the room when the puppy bites. This is certainly a
method children can use. After multiple times, the puppy will learn that
every time she bites she loses her playmate, and that is no fun at all.
Important prevention measures!
No matter what method you use, do not entice the puppy to bite you. Games
like tug-of-war and waving your hands in front of the puppy instead of
using toys may encourage the puppy to bite.