DD 013: How to stop puppy biting and mouthing

Mouthing in nature

In nature it’s so natural for puppies to mouth their siblings. They understand exactly what’s acceptable and what’s not. When they’re living with us however we often struggle to come to terms with what is okay and what’s not. I sometimes find myself working with people whose homes have been turned into fish bowls where their puppy is like a piranha fish trying to bite anything that moves!

How to stop puppies biting and mouthing

Listen to the podcast

In this free podcast I cover off 3 key topics on How to stop puppy biting and mouthing.

Before we get stuck in, when it comes to the question of “What should a puppy chew?”… then just click the button below to download my PDF of the 11 Favorite Puppy Chew Toys (that don’t cost the earth!):

1. How Biting & Mouthing works in nature

Here we take a look at how it all works in nature and why we are making things hard for ourselves with some very old school training methods. If you have a young puppy then you may well discover that you have been told to set your puppy up to fail without even realising it.

2. Summary of the solution

The thing about stopping puppies biting and mouthing is that it’s actually very simple when you know how. There is no need for screaming and shouting and certainly no need for tapping or smacking your puppy. In fact these things will often only make things worth. A calm approach with a simple yet effective consequence if they continue is all you need.

3. Why things go wrong

Here I cover off some of the most common reasons why things go wrong and explain exactly what to do to turn it around, including the missing piece of the jigsaw… The one thing that every puppy owner needs to do to put an end, quickly and easily, to all that biting and mouthing.

Understand the real battle that’s taking place

As well as covering off all the practical steps we need to take, we also take a more in depth look at why we’re really running into trouble. For example we look at how a mother dog works patiently with her pups, putting up with so much hassle, however when she draws the line in the sand and says that’s enough, the pups will respect her and stop. So the question has to be asked “Why do our puppies fight back so hard?”, and the answer may surprise you!

Q & A and more help if you need it

At the end of the podcast I answer a selection of your questions and show you where you get a whole load more information on stopping this and many other issues if you want more help. Of course this puppy problem is completely covered off in my video training website, theonlinedogtrainer.com.

If you’re struggling with puppy mouthing and biting or have an older puppy or dog and are in trouble then help is here, enjoy the podcast!

If you’re looking for a more concrete solution that will help you sooner rather than later, I invite you to check out how I’ve trained over 88,000 with a kind, gentle approach.

Find out how I did it here!

Have a great training day, and as always, love your dog ☺

Doggy Dan Signature .

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Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

16 Responses

  1. Having a difficult time with my Pyradane 11wksold biting me. I don’t know what to do
    Keep hearing different things to do. I don’t want to yell at him

    1. Hi Debbie, the most effective way in overcoming puppies from mouthing/biting is for you to respond calmly and consistently…no yelling required! If you add energy to the situation then your puppy will become more excited or see it all as a bit of a game….which means the behaviour will continue. Try the techniques I mention in my Blog but we also have a very comprehensive section on Mouthing & Biting in my ‘Perfect Puppy Program’, which you can find on my website…TheOnlineDogTrainer.com Best, Doggy Dan

  2. I don’t have an iPhone to listen to your podcasts but I would really love to know how I can effectively get my 3 month old puppy to stop biting us! Thanks for your time.


    1. Hi Heather…..my website TheOnlineDogTrainer.com has a very detailed section about raising calm and well behaved Puppies. One of the topics we cover is mouthing/biting…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  3. Hi I have a 5 month old pit bull that doesn’t know how to be gentle when Playing how can I calm him down. Enough so he can have more fun playing.. As it is no other pups or my cats want to play cause of his rough housing play

    1. Hi Tracy,
      It’s really normal for young dogs to need a little help learning how to play with others correctly. And so if you think your dog is getting a little too rough then calmly intervening is a good idea. I generally advise to take the dog gently by the collar and hold them still until they calm down a little. You can clip a leash on if your dog is not all that happy about you holding him by the collar but it’s best not to say too much to him, just let your calm actions help him relax. It may take a few reminders but if you are consistent at the point at which you intervene then you will show him how you expect him to behave, which will then allow him to use some self-control…..the best form of control there is! If he refuses to calm down then placing him in a room on his own for a few minutes will let him know that he has done the wrong thing. Thanks for posting your question, Doggy Dan

    1. Hi Susan,
      My website TheOnlineDogTrainer.com deasl with these issues and has a very comprehensive Puppy Training scetion…maybe take a quick look…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  4. I understand these training methods, but mine is a little different. We have a rescue that is a 1 year old Lab. We have had him for 6 months. Our home based business in downstairs with the door at the bottom of the steps. Whenever we go up or down Gus nips at heals, arms legs and even butts. The only thing that words somewhat is I hold a newspaper in my hand and he hesitates (not stops though). Don’t want to have him fear me, but do want him to stop. Like the ones you mentioned here, he draws blood and even tore my pants.

    1. Hi Karen,
      I agree, it is far better to overcome unwanted behaviour by encouraging your dog to use self-control rather than have them fear a negative response. One thing that is really important when this behaviour happens is not to tell your dog off or make a big fuss as it cam be counterproductive. Actions speak far louder than words here and if you get upset then your dog will be less likely to calm down and the behaviour will linger.
      I would encourage you to practice walking up and down the steps but have your dog on a leash with you when you do. If he tries to nip you then stop and calmly hold him still by the collar, we call this a Calm Freeze, or shorten the leash and hold it at arms length from you. When you feel your dog relax and stop trying to nip you you can move off again but repeat the technique if required. You may need to be prepared to do this a few times but the more you practice it the quicker your dog will learn that this behaviour no longer works for him.
      Hope that helps! All the best, Doggy Dan

  5. Hi Dan, I have a 12 week border collie who bites to draw blood I have tried everything on the internet and I am at my wits end and need help. I say no firmly And he goes for the face he gets aggressive. Any advice? He has tons of toys and has time out so I do distract but he really hurts..

    1. Hi Bev, one thing I have found is that the biting can often be at its worst at around 12 weeks so hold tight and ride the storm. Whatever you do it sounds like you have a lively one there in terms of a puppy personality! So I recommend you pick up on the warning signals and get a serious training program in place ASAP… such as Theonlinedogtrainer.com
      In terms of a solution there is a lot of ground work and foundation to put in place if you really want any training to stick and have meaningful impact however the “training” I would do is simple. Use a short line so you can catch your put, and use timeout. Stay silent as you do it. Puppies and dogs do not like timeout. It is like putting a calm and consistent consequence in place with a child. You bite my face – you go in timeout. He will know exactly what he is doing. Do consider the $1 3 day trial at Theonlinedogtrainer.com for access to my complete training program it will save you a tonne of trouble in the long run. Best regards Doggy Dan

  6. Hi.i have a 6 month old rescue cross. He’s stated to bite mainly me but my young sons too. I can just b sitting quietly and he will do it or after a walk. If I turn away and ignore it he bits my bum and legs and when I try and get him in time out, I get bitten even harder. I’m covered in bruises and scratches. I’m worried that he’s gonna really hurt me or my sons soon. He doesn’t do it to my husband. I do everything from feed him to walk him etc. Help

    1. Hi Lisa. Biting/Mouthing is a behaviour that does need to be addressed correctly and often our natural reaction to tell the dog off is counterproductive. It sounds like you are aware of time-out but if you are trying to give your dog one and he is becoming more agitated then there is another option. One thing I would say is that sometimes dog’s don;t like being lead to time-out by the collar and so attaching a leash is a better option. If your dog bites/mouths you, and you can’t take him to time-out, then immediately have everyone leave the room he is in and close the door behind you. This is still the same consequence as time-out, he loses everyone as a result of the behaviour. It’s also a very handy one for small children to do as it is safe and means they don;t have to touch the dog at all. After a few minutes you can return to the room again but pay no attention to your dog until he is calm and has left you alone for a few minutes, you can then call him over for a pat/fuss if you want to. Leaving a short-line attached to his collar can make delivering a time-out much easier if his biting/mouthing is a common behaviour. My website TheOnlineDogTrainer.com also shows you very clearly how to overcome this…maybe take a quick look if you need some more help…its a $1 trial for 3 days…all the best Doggy Dan

  7. Hi what about when your taking your dog for a walk and the dog attack your jacket and biting your hand .. it hard to take him to time out when your in the middle of a walk.


    1. Hi Sylvie,
      this is a great example of where you really need to establish some respect inside the house before you leave! It reminds me of people who go to a restaurant with young children and have no control over them, the restaurant is not the place to try to train them or gain that control. Once you have more control your dog will not do this. If they do there are some simple things that you can try however until you have established yourself as the pack leader they are unlikely to work well. What size and age is your dog I wonder? sounds like they are acting like a puppy but much bigger…which makes me think you really should take a look at my site for $1. http://www.theonlinedogtrainer.com Firstly I would find out WHY? your dog is biting you, what they want. There will be a reason and then we can work from there… I like to understand where the dog is coming from before I just try to “stop” the behavior as it can alter our approach. Hope that helps…Doggy Dan

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