How to stop a puppy biting

  • Brought to you by

Puppies have very sharp teeth and they know how to use them. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a set of puppy canines, you’ll know how much they can hurt. Of course, your puppy doesn’t intentionally set out to hurt you.

What starts as a game can quickly become painful playtime. Help keep playtime with your puppy fun, and teach them to play safe, with these handy tips.

Why do puppies bite?

It helps to understand just why puppies like to use their teeth. Like human babies, puppies explore their world by mouthing items they encounter. This means everything goes into their mouth, whether it’s appropriate or not – like human hands, feet, fingers and toes!

Puppies also like to play tough. With their littermates this involves rough-and-tumble play with lots of mouthing and biting. At first, the young pups have no teeth and mouthing doesn’t hurt. As their milk teeth come in, biting hurts but the pups can often tolerate this rough play, as they have thick skins and give as good as they get.  As they gain in strength, the biting starts to hurt and the pups may start to squeal as they get bitten. This often has the effect of making the biting pup back off. Their mother may also tell them off when they nip her too.

Is rough-housing ever okay?

Many owners enjoy rough-housing, which describes playing in an energetic and very physical manner – with their puppies. This behaviour often becomes a lot less fun as your dog’s adult teeth come in. It can also be dangerous for those people whose skin may be more fragile, like the elderly or young children. It can be difficult for a pup to turn their energetic behaviour off, even when their owner considers the game is over.

Dr Jo’s rule

It’s never appropriate for puppies’ teeth to contact human flesh. Instead, this behaviour should be redirected towards toys.

Your pup needs to learn how to behave when they come to live with you, including how to play. Teaching ‘bite inhibition’ will help your pup have fun with people and with other dogs.

How to play with your pup without being bitten

Here are a few tried-and-tested methods to teach your pup bite inhibition – the ability to use their teeth without causing distress to others… to continue reading this article from Purina, click here.

To see more from Purina, visit to browse their tips and range of products.

Become a member for free.

For healthy recipes, community initiatives, exclusive content and promotions that matter to locals like you.

Related Articles