Puppy Biting – Learn Puppy Bite Inhibition Training

Puppy Biting – Learn Puppy Bite Inhibition Training


Everybody loves puppies! Getting a puppy
is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. And you know what else that
means? Puppy biting. Desperate calls come in all the time about this one thing and
the solutions may surprise you. Ian here with Simpawtico Dog Training,
and before we address that puppy biting, please make sure you are
subscribed so you never miss any of our videos. Also follow us on all the major
social networks, and don’t forget to check that YouYube description for notes,
links, and resources about the stuff we talked about. Now puppy biting is easily
in the top 5 things I get asked about. Usually people reach out desperately and
ask, “How do I stop puppy biting?” Here’s the thing: you don’t want to stop puppy
biting. I know it’s frustrating but people misunderstand what it’s all about
and come at the problem all wrong. Most of what you see on the internet or have
people tell you completely misses the point. Let’s start with why puppies bite.
Play biting and fighting is absolutely one of the most important developmental
pieces puppies. Do the only things puppies do more than bite is poop,
pee, and sleep. That tells us that it’s important. There is a reason why Mother
Nature has programmed them to do it so much. Puppies play bite because they must
receive feedback for their bite pressure so they can acquire the skill of
monitoring and adjusting the force of their jaws. That process is what develops
“acquired bite inhibition” or ABI. Good ABI is what makes a safe dog in
adulthood. This can only be done in the early stages before it’s locked in
forever. There are presently no methods to alter this after adolescence. Thus
play biting for puppies is not only natural, it’s absolutely necessary. If you
were to observe your puppy playing with another puppy, they’d bite the other one
during the course of play. Puppies bite so they can receive
feedback on the force of that bite. This is why they have such sharp teeth—so
they can get a reaction with their relatively weak jaw muscles. An adult dog
that has never adequately developed ABI will not know how to monitor and adjust
the force of their jaws when they have big adult teeth and big adult jaw
muscles. Consider this scenario: a dog is asleep in the family room and a toddler
accidentally steps on it. A dog with good ABI
won’t even make contact, whereas a dog with poor ABI might bite that poor kid,
maybe even badly. In this case an ounce of prevention is worth a kiloton of cure!
So the bottom line is you don’t want to stop puppy biting because then the bite
training stops too. Okay so what do we do about it?
Well first, we focus on intensity before frequency. In the correct progression you
will see a reduction in the intensity before you see a reduction in frequency.
This is a training master key. Biting will get softer and softer before
actual incidents of biting diminish. Force MUST be trained before frequency.
They’re separate variables in the brain and force has a time limit on it whereas
frequency does not. Second, provide meaningful feedback. The first part of that is to
socialize your puppy. Dogs do the work of feedback 50 times faster and better than
we do. Get your puppy to off-leash puppy classes or playgroups as soon as
possible. You can do this after the second round of shots. You can also have
other puppies over to play—lots of them. A good puppy class or a series of
playdates will make a tremendous difference in your puppy, not just with
the biting. The second part of your feedback game is that your puppy has to
believe that humans are super sensitive. Every time they bite you, you cry out.
Don’t cry out like a puppy, and don’t try to yip like a puppy. You’re not a dog,
you’re not fooling anyone. You’re a grown adult, act like it hurts
(which it probably does). Loudly say, “Ouch! That hurt!” Here’s the secret to making
that work. The internet tells you to cry out but never fills in the rest of the
strategy. First, do not jerk your hand (or whatever body part) away. Quick movement
is stimulating and that triggers chase drive. They’ll just go harder for it.
Instead, leave it there your puppy needs to be the one to back off. Second if you
say “Ouch” loud enough and sharp enough, your puppy should buck their head back.
Immediately start praising and allow them to re-engage. If they’re softer tell
them “good puppy.” If not keep up the feedback. Ramp it up a little with tone
and volume without making it scary. “Good [praise and sharp sounds when biting] “good boy good boy that was fantastic
that was fantastic” This commentary needs to be both binary—right and wrong—and
constant. One or two times ain’t gonna do it. It takes weeks to do it right. It’s a
progression and we just talked about progressions in the last video. And
remember you’re not trying to stop biting with this strategy. You want to
see it getting softer and softer and softer over time. Also make sure to cry
out even if they grab your clothing or hair; your puppy doesn’t know the
difference between these and skin and should eventually be gentle with both. “Ouch! Ouch!
Good, good boy! Thank you!” “Good puppy, sweetheart. Good puppy. Oww-ouch! Good
puppy. Good.” If however during a session your puppy is too jazzed up and is not
responding to the work then leave, simple as that.
Don’t put the puppy somewhere else for a timeout; that’s non-instructive and it’s
not fast enough. YOU be the one to get up and leave. This is how puppies do it with
each other. A hard bite produces a yelp and play stops momentarily. Well, nobody
wants that so they learn to monitor and adjust. If you—the Playmate of the moment—
gets up and leaves unceremoniously that’s a big thing to a puppy. Come back
in 30 to 60 seconds and try playing again. This is precisely one of the
reasons we don’t let our puppies have free reign of the house yet. They exist in
gated off rooms for a while and earn more space over time. In the meantime you
have to be able to get away when the puppy is too intense.
You also can’t keep labeling play biting as bad behavior—it’s not. It’s
inconvenient for us humans, but we don’t call it bad behavior when a baby poops
its pants or cries at night. You know this is part of what
you signed up for, inconvenient as it is. puppy biting is natural and necessary!
Don’t waste the opportunity you’ve been given to create a safe adult dog. As you
work you should be seeing the ABI progression. You’ll notice your puppy’s
biting getting softer and softer over the weeks if you’ve given consistent,
timely, and appropriate feedback. The play biting will eventually just be soft
mouthing. At this point it is appropriate to start addressing the frequency of
incidents. We can begin addressing the number of incidents because we’ve
cultivated a dog that thinks differently about the way they use their mouth.
You should ideally have been integrating obedience training into your puppy work
all along the way anyways, so it’s a simple manner to use incompatible
behaviors to stop the mouthing. By now the mouthing behavior is more about
controlling their environment than it is trying to elicit feedback, so now you
can focus on polite behaviors, redirecting, building impulse control,
engaging them in interactive and instructive play, and simply continuing
to give good representative feedback on their behavior. Chew toys for quiet time
come back into play here. If you’re a follower of this channel you know that
we have preached the gospel of creating a chew toy addicted dog. Settling down
with a toy is emotionally satisfying and teaches them to learn to occupy
themselves. Gentle tug for playful opposition and energy expenditure is also
one of our favorite teaching tools. This provides an opportunity to build manners,
impulse control, and more motivating reward structures. Also make sure you’re
using good food handling to short-circuit nipping. Take a look at our
Power Tip Number Two video for more info. By about 18 weeks the brain chemistry
starts changing and your window for learning acquired bite inhibition will
start closing. Don’t wait! By six months it will be pretty much closed and the
strategies we talked about won’t work any more. If you have an eight or nine
month old dog jumping up and grabbing your arms or sleeves, and you haven’t
done that work already you’re gonna be in a pickle. You’ll need different
methods to fix that because off leash classes, crying out, or walking away won’t
work anymore. Now you can really only focus on a frequency and the force of
biting is what it is. Contact a qualified trainer or behaviorist near you to help
you out. Now let’s do some myth-busting! There are a lot of solutions offered by
articles on the Internet and well-meaning friends, and
most of these are total rubbish. Let’s dissect them. Using leave it or drop it—
these prevent any opportunity to learn bite inhibition because they’re not
providing the right kind of feedback. These are important to learn on the side
but useless for play biting. Use these for mouthing after they’ve mastered
their bite inhibition. Shouting no bite— This only works if they’ve had specific
lessons on the meaning of that phrase away from the situation they’re biting
in. It also stops the bite training altogether, so it’s no use for us at all.
Tap them on the nose—this is great if you want to teach your dog that you’re a
bully. Also great for creating a head shy dog. However it does nothing for bite
inhibition. Actually you’ll probably get some relief from the biting though
because the puppy will just stop interacting with you altogether. Stick
your thumb in their mouth and smash their tongue against their teeth—oh my
god! This makes no training sense whatsoever. It’s abuse. Please stop doing
that. Using a squirt bottle—do we squirt
babies in the face when they’re doing something that annoys us? Using a muzzle—
this prevents all mouth interaction and pretty much guarantees a hard biter as
an adult. Also it means no eating, drinking, playing with toys, or anything
else related to just being a puppy. It’s lazy and irresponsible. Redirecting to a
chew toy—Puppies aren’t trying to relieve teething pains when they play
bite. As you’ve learned they bite to learn ABI. You might get a temporary
respite but it’ll be short-lived and you missed a teachable moment. Chew toys are
awesome but they’re for chewing during quiet times. Chewing is relaxing and it
does relieve teething discomfort but play biting serves a whole other purpose.
Don’t waste the opportunity. All right everyone,
I hope this has helped you learn more about your puppy’s instincts and how to
deal with them constructively. Now, questions for you:
what other mouthy conundrums are you running into, and how has this video
helped you redesign your puppy plan? Let’s connect in the comments. In the
meantime don’t forget to thumbs up this video and as always: keep learning, keep
practicing, and we’ll see you again soon. Thanks for watching!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. This is outstanding, all new and vital for me and Dot who is 4-5 months old. Every evening she gets puppy zoomies and includes lots of play bites which are really painful. Today I applied your advice and the change was immediate and dramatic. THANKYOU.
    Please do a counter surfing video.👍😉

  2. There is so much contention about what does and doesn’t work. ‘Yelp’ May work or mane things work. Some say the ‘ouch’ May or may not work. Then there’s constant references to click and reward and not to tolerate any mouthing at all all and to reward the stopping while working in a cue of ‘gentle’ or ‘easy’ to enforce that behavior.

    Should we reward the stopping? Is the praise enough reward for a puppy or should treats be added?

  3. My 2.5 month old Schnauzer puppy has been increasingly nipping and biting at our feet making it difficult to walk around the house. I realized that a lot of the techniques I've been told make me seem like a bully 😭 so that's gonna stop here and now. I like the methods you've shown here, but any others for this specific nipping behavior?

  4. I have love your videos but I am having a really bad go with my new puppy. He isnt just biting like the others in the videos. He only gets super aggressive if I say OW! This is day 3 of him being with us but he has drawn my blood twice today. I placed him what others called puppy time out and he falls asleep. Please help!!!!

  5. Love your approach dude. Best pup biting video I've seen (I've watched MANY). The force before frequency , and necessary aspect of it as concepts really helped. Thanks!

  6. This worked the first few times my puppy started mouthing me when I got him. He's 14 weeks old and somewhere along the road I think I become inconsistent because even when I yellow "ow!", my puppy will only want to bite harder. And he's been going after my clothes too which I didn't realize I should've shouted instead of letting him bite them. What do I do now?

  7. We have an 8 month old husky that that been soooo mouthy since day one – we have tried everything I'd say he is getting better but any advise to use at this age of how to get him not to play bite all the time? When it's really bad I just walk away or have used time out but feel like we missed our chance and listened to all the other internet advise and didn't get him to soften his bite young enough although I tried everything – wish I had found this channel sooner 🙁

  8. Yes! Finally someone who understands dog behaviour at an academic level has put this out there in the webiverse in an eloquent and succinct manner. I heard this at an APDTA conference a few years ago and it made so much sense to me. I am in a couple of dog training groups where it is all about “leave it” and I get so frustrated because they always apply it to play biting. I will be sharing the hell out of this one, hope you don’t mind. 🖖

  9. Training a dog isnt that difficult, consistency, discipline and some common sense…….I can leave mine in front yd all day no leash and she is there when I get home from work…….show em love, respect, discipline and they will listen…..its alot of work no doubt…….but once they're trained its mainatence free

  10. What if you get your puppy from a family that couldn't handle it? They got him at 5 months and he was at a puppy mill for the first 4 months — he is now 6 months exactly and we have had him one week. The biting our clothes is really bad because he gets skin too and he really is basically trying to play tug…ANY help would be appreciated. We are starting in home professional training on 8/19/19

  11. Thank you ..I have a 10 week old labradoodle who I brought home 2 weeks ago .His biting is painful for my 5 year old grandson who the dog loves playing with under supervision… do you have any tips on how we can minimise the nipping.

  12. I get what you are saying, and agree with you. How ever my puppy is a two month old and is already at about 20 lbs. with very big and sharp teeth, he will get to be at about or over 180 lbs. full grown and I cant take the pain of puppy play biting and neither can my wife and kids. Do you have other tips? Thanks.

  13. Thank you for showing us what you are talking about with an actual dog before or in training! So often people talk about training a dog/puppy but show you a dog who is already trained!

  14. Thank you so much for this video!!

    My 10 week old puppy gets hyper excited – biting and growling when he locks into something he wants and does not get to bite it

    I was taught the "old" school approach of timeout – forcing the dog to become calm when too riled up.
    This triggers Balder to bite more obviously because he's being restrained…
    But calmed him down and he stopped so i thought I was doing it right (gosh I'm so stupid)

    I felt like this was wrong and that the ouch method felt instinctively better, hence why I found your video!
    Now I know that you should not stop him from biting – ABI!!

    Again thank you so much!

  15. If only I had seen this video a few weeks ago… My 16 week old GSD is already too strong and she just won't let go once the biting starts, hurts like a bitch.

  16. What happens with 8 week old who starts to ignore the yelping and biting harder and grabbing at clothing? Other options? She is malamute and will have a big jaw and weight, want her to slowly learn soft and gentle mouth.

  17. Please please what do we do if you are outside doing potty time and your puppy is biting pants feet . You cant walk away outside buying you put them back into pen is that a time out? Please help with this enquiry. 8 week old 3 days in at home biting hard on clothes and now body using ow ouch over and over.

  18. what is considered adolescence my dog is 8 months and still likes to put hands in her mouth and chew, not nipping, but chewing like were some giant teething toy

  19. My beagle puppy doesn’t stop from biting unless he’s forced to and I hate it. I love my puppy more than I love myself. Yet it’s extremely painful, my hands are always bleeding and nothing can stop the biting, like really, nothing. Every time when I try and play with her she would bite very hard and it’s like she’s trying to rip my hand out. It’s not only my hands, but my face, legs, thighs, even belly. And even if I scream or cry she just doesn’t care haha.
    My loved ones are the ones that stop her and it’s becoming worse and worse and I feel like my pup hates me know. I reached out a local trainer and he told me the tongue thing and ever since then my family uses this method although it’s clearly making things worse.
    I’m afraid that my pup will just lose control and snap and our bound will never recover. It breaks my heart.
    Please, if any of you can give me any other advice I will happily try it out. Thank you 🙂

  20. I have a 10 week old very large Husky puppy I was keeping him on a leash inside so he wouldn’t bite my toddler, furniture or other small breed dog I have. I give a soft tug and say no is this wrong? I let him bite me a bunch though 😝

  21. Thank you for this video! Never realized what I was doing wrong since I’ve only ever been around adults dogs my entire life.

  22. Mine is 12 months old and she still puppy bites, tends to have the mad moments morning night, starting to hurt, thankfully she only does it with us at home,

  23. My 3 month old lab puppy bites and chews and destroys everything within his reach. Table legs, door stopper, phone charger, sofa, curtains. I don't know what to do. D;

  24. Omg thank you so much my 8 week old puppy is of course puppy biting and I have no experience with dogs or puppies so this helped a lot again thank you so so much!!!!!!!!

  25. Dude ur hilarious & u helped me understand alot about me and what IM DOING WRONG for my furry friend!!! Thank u so so much !!

  26. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You just saved me from making terrible mistakes! We just got our 10 wk lab puppy and we are in the biting phase! Your video was very eye opening we are changing game plans!

  27. If my puppy bites me outside I can't get up and leave. She's only 9 weeks old and a Chiweenie so tiny. She also just follows me and bites my ankles. IDK what to do.

  28. what kind of dog was 5:05 , because we have a puppy who looks exactly alike. but the sketch breeder told us that she was a German shepherd. To us she looks more like a malinois,but im no expert.

  29. Thank you for your video! It was very helpful, tho I'm still having some problems with my 2 months old puppy. He doesn't react to any "ouch" sound. Me and my fiance tried many different voices and so far the only thing that works from time to time it's whining like a small puppy 🙁 and he doesn't treat our sweaters as a part of us. I love my sweet baby lab, but it's my first time having such a active pup and honestly I don't know what to do. I want him to be a soft dog in the future..

  30. Thank you – this is great information. My 12 weeks old standard poodle is breaking skin on my arms using this method – I'm older and my skin is easily torn. So I'm looking for something to wear (it's hot in Miami) on arms/hands/legs so we can keep working on this without being injured. Suggestions on materials/barriers for me appreciated.

  31. Finally….advice that makes sense i use a horses natural behavior to help them understand what I want them to do. Puppies are much harder for me to figure out!

  32. I have a 4month old american pitbull and i wish i would have watched this video before i feel ive wasted too much time i hope she learns soon enough

  33. Super helpful! My 10 week old puppy play bites with my 18 month old, I am teaching her to only interact with him when he is calm or if he comes to her when sh is sitting but sometimes she walks by and he goes for her shoes, arms, etc. any tips on this as she will jerk away even if I teach her to saw ow

  34. I am no stranger to training puppies. I have trained 6 this far and they grew up to be great dogs. After losing my American bulldog about a month ago I decided to fill that void with 2 Bully pups, Nala and Joi. After working with them for about 3 weeks I noticed that Nala is responsive and her biting pressure is gentle where as Joi does not react and tends to bite hard or play to aggressive. After further evaluating her behavior I've come to terms with the fact that Joi is a death puppy. Now how can I shift gears here and get her to understand that she is biting to hard when she can hear the standard "ouch"? I've tried making big hand movements or pulling away but doesn't seem to be getting the hint. Any suggestions?

  35. mate, been looking at videos for about an hour and a half, have a super kind 11 years old rottie that was trained when I was younger. Now I got a Pitbull puppy, About 50 days old and was biting the hell of out me. Gets too enthusiastic and bites hard, tried as much as I could, even putting her in another room…. while watching your video she came along to bite me and did this. Was like a new puppy, started LICKING ME… will defo follow you. I was so concerned I wasn´t going to be capable of doing it … has been hard on me for ten days, and so young!! Thank you so much!!! Makes so much sense! (And I saw a video of a guy doing the thumb thing inside their mouth, thought it was awful!!)

  36. Best thing to do is ignore it and or turn your back… the behavior STOPS…this action does not just happen with one dog but with ALL dogs its amazing what patience does in training….Don't allow them to Bite you AT ALL…Adult dogs don't allow it in the pack…neither should we…

  37. Very useful information! What am I doing wrong? After two days of crying out in pain, it seems like my 11-week-old mini Aussie is biting harder than ever. Tonight, she drew blood on my toe. Any suggestions?

  38. We have a rescue, mixed breed pup,3 months old.we have a trainer coming Monday.Biting is the biggest issue!!Thank you for the video!

  39. My pup wouldnt stop biting even when I do all that has been said in the video. She wouldnt jerk her head back or do anything to stop biting unless it starts bleeding and I physically shove her away or go away myself. What shall I do? My pup just turned 3 months old

  40. This is the best video I’ve seen and certainly answered a few questions for me … so far the pup and I are on track which is so good to know (and a relief!)

  41. This video and the advice given in this video is spot on and earns a subscribe from me for whatever that's worth. Judging by this video they are following the teachings of Dr. Ian Dunbar to the letter. Ian is brilliant and I have been seriously studying his work as I am on a one year waiting list for a new pup (family member), an American Bulldog. We have had other dogs and have tried everything from normal crap advice you get all the way to all the training methods available out there. The difference is this: Dr. Dunbar's methods get you results, strengthen your relationship with your dog as your friend and change the way you see other things and think in the process. Afterwards you're like, of course. It's so easy and obvious and I can use this in my daily life with people. I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Dunbar's videos and free books and everything beyond and additionally this video. I look forward to this channel's other videos assuming they are based on the same philosophy. Thank you.

  42. Thank you so much for this video! I have two 9 week old puppies and they play bite all the time, I used to stop them thinking they were hurting each other and developing aggressiveness toward each other. Thanks to your educational video I have changed my view and parenting style! 🙂

  43. If an older or larger dog is play biting you and you squeal loud and sharp, most will stop. I learned that from Victoria stillwell from it's me or the dog.

  44. I have been looking at a lot of online resources to try to deal with our 9 wk old chocolate lab play biting. I found this video very helpful. You have clearly showed me the right approach and also what I have been doing wrong. She is a great puppy but at times goes 'crazy' or is overly excited. I now know to walk away for 30-60 seconds. And yes, those sharp puppy teeth can hurt.

  45. Hi, We have a 8 months old Gokden retriever and couldnt able to train her. We love her more than anything, and she also. But she is having lots of behavioural issues and we are really tensed. Kindly advise.

  46. I needed to know this, My Max loves to bite my toes and I keep take it away from him, and he chases me and does the same, I am gonna teach him now, thank you

  47. Great info! Makes a lot of sense too. My question is how do I get my kids to be consistent with this method too? They always screech a little and pull away when our puppy tries to bite, which I don’t blame them. It’s just the typical reaction.

  48. I tried this literally 20 minutes ago, it worked! Oh My God, Thank you so much, my puppy played with me without buying me, I am so happy right now 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

  49. Bite inhibition training is one thing, chewing on is to learn soft bite. What about the unending need to chew on everything around them? My 9 wk old bulldog pup wants to chew everything

  50. Hello ! Any tips for dogs jumping ?? My GS is 10 months old and jumps on people (and me) just like a kangaroo. What can I do please ? thanks

  51. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I subscribed to your channel and look forward to learning how to make my 8 week old Lab have Good manners.

  52. what if socializing with other puppies is impossible? we live in an area where there are no puppy classes and noone i know has a puppy!

  53. This is the BEST video I've found on puppy biting. The reasons why they do it in the first place makes so much sense now. Thank you!

  54. I seriously cannot belie how well these videos are made. Are you an IT nerd like myself that just loves dogs or do you outsource your editing??? Amazing videos, keep it up!!!

  55. These are great tips!!! I have a question, me and my family have a 3 months old golden retriever. A dog trainer that we know told us that each time the puppy bits us, we have to say “no” and give him a little hit with our fingers simulating what other dogs would do… is this also a mistake to do?

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