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A puppy's mouth houses about 28 tiny razors that love to nip your fingers and toes. While your puppy doesn't mean to harm you with their “play biting”, they haven’t yet learned to control themselves – often resulting in painful surprises if you’re not careful! 
Puppy teething is normal and necessary for development – but to prevent problems down the road, it’s important to start training early. Did you know Eukanuba has formulated a puppy food range with high levels of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), which has been shown to significantly improve focus and trainability? 
At Eukanuba, we're all about helping dogs become as active as possible. When your fear of being bitten is gone, you'll feel much more comfortable adventuring with your puppy. So, how do you get a puppy to stop biting you? To learn precisely what you can do to stop your puppy from biting – whether that’s fingers, toes, hands, or feet, keep reading. 


As a rough guide, your puppy’s biting phase will usually last around six to nine months from birth (though it varies significantly between different breeds and personalities). 
And if you’re wondering whether your pup’s too young to start training, the answer’s a definite no. Bite inhibition training should begin as soon as possible, so your puppy learns that human skin requires gentle mouthing … not enthusiastic chewing! 


Much like infants and toddlers, puppies learn and explore the world by putting things in their mouths. They have a teething period just like human babies and feel some discomfort during this time. By chewing whatever they can get their mouths on, they’re speeding up the teething process and relieving those frequently sore gums. So, if you’re asking ‘Why is my puppy biting me?’, well, don’t take it personally. 
As an owner learning how to train your puppy to stop biting, you can help the whole process along by providing plenty of chew toys. When you do, you’re sending a clear message to your pup that they’re perfect for munching (instead of hands and feet). 
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Teaching a Puppy Bite Inhibition

Puppies who learn bite inhibition are less likely to grow into adult dogs who bite, which comes with much more severe repercussions. Chew toys are great for teaching puppies bite inhibition, but there is a range of other methods you can use to help them along the path. 
By following the simple tips below, you should be well on the way to learning how to stop puppy biting – even if it takes a little while!

Teach Your Puppy To Be Gentle

By teaching your puppy to control the force of their bite, you’re helping them interact more gently with humans and other dogs. Their families do this as well – puppies naturally nip at each other, and their mother or playmate will loudly yelp when they’re being too rough.
It’s a great trick – and you can do it too! Here’s a brief five-step ‘cheat sheet’ to follow, which covers the tips above: 

  1. Make a high-pitched “ow!” if they bite too hard. You want to make your puppy aware they’re hurting you, as it’s often the last thing on their mind when they’re delightedly chomping your hand!). To do this, you have to be 100% consistent when they clamp those teeth down. 
  2. Turn quietly around
  3. Walk away
  4. Reward with a treat and verbal praise if they back off
  5. Repeat as necessary
Throughout the whole process, remember that your puppy isn’t trying to hurt you. Even if they do, it’s accidental – so calmly stop the game, walk away, then begin again when you’re ready. 

Teach Your Puppy That Biting Means Playtime Is Over

That ‘walk away’ part is crucial because you need to show your puppy that any biting at all means playtime’s over.
The best course of action is to teach them that biting gets them nothing. Withdrawing your attention sends your puppy a calming signal, discouraging them from biting you again in the future.
To make the point clearly, you can also stop playing with your puppy for a set amount of time after they bite your hand too hard. Just take a few minutes off, then re-engage and stop if they do it again. (Yelling and punishment won’t work, because they’ll frighten your puppy and may erode their trust in you.) 
If you’re concerned that your puppy may not be able to tell the difference between soft and hard bites, start by forbidding them from making any contact between your skin and their teeth. If you take this approach, try stopping play as soon as you feel their teeth on your skin. 
If this happens, take time out for a set period (not too long though, because your puppy’s attention span is short!). Then, patiently begin the game again, being prepared to stop immediately if required. 

Give Your Puppy An Alternative To Your Skin

When used at exactly the right time, chew toys are great at diverting your puppy’s attention away from your skin (particularly your hands and feet). As discussed, chewing’s an important part of your pup's development but having your puppy biting your feet and hands is a common problem – so the better you are at anticipating your puppy’s biting behavior the easier it will be to curb this behavior. 
If you have a chew toy ready, you can immediately redirect their attention to it whenever the biting starts. Doing this tells your puppy that the toy’s OK to bite or chew, but your hand isn’t. Remember, your puppy won’t naturally clamp down on the toy in preference to your skin, even if you have lots of toys nearby. Even though it seems weird, you’ll have to actually guide the toy into your puppy’s mouth, and encourage them to bite down on it! 
Rewards are great for reinforcing the message, so have a treat on hand. As soon as your puppy shows the first signs of easing off, give them a treat while making appreciative noises. (They’re great at gauging pressure with their mouth, so they should be able to remember the correct grip strength for next time.) 
And as we mentioned before, if they ignore the toy or treat and continue to nip, the play session ends immediately! 
The following can also work as biting and chewing alternatives:
  • Non-direct forms of play (e.g. fetch)
  • Plenty of socializing opportunities, to allow your puppy to get used to playing rough with other dogs rather than you.

Exercise Your Puppy 

Your puppy’s a huge ball of limitless energy, and their mouth is their way of getting information about a world they’re very curious about! That’s why they’re hardwired to bite.

So, if you’re trying to figure out how to get your puppy to stop biting, getting rid of all that pent-up energy’s your top priority – but how? 

Luckily, you have a free and convenient method right in front of your nose when figuring out how to break a puppy from biting. Your puppy loves running more than anything, so get out to the nearest open space and start wearing them out. Better yet, incorporate training lessons into your puppy’s daily routine, as this is a great way to burn off some excess energy, and teach your puppy important skills that they’ll carry with them well into adulthood. 

You definitely don’t have to worry about using up too much of their energy – you’ll almost certainly get tired before they do!
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Give Your Puppy Some Quiet Time 

Speaking of exhaustion, all puppies (like humans) need some downtime once in a while. Not even a puppy’s capable of being crazily excited 24/7!
Assigning some regular ‘quiet time’ during the day will be a godsend for your puppy. Consider giving them some calm after they’ve returned from a walk because they won’t be in the mood for causing chaos (yet). 
That ‘quiet time’ isn’t being lazy – it’s an important period to help them focus. If puppies don’t get the chance to relax occasionally, they might begin getting anxious. 
If your puppy has trouble calming down, consider getting them a crate, as they’re useful tools that allow your puppy to retreat for some much-needed rest and relaxation. 

Enroll in Puppy School 

As you can see, there’s plenty you can do to encourage your puppy to stop biting at home. But for an optimal boost, we highly recommend attending puppy school. Here, your dog will learn everything they need to know about tamping down those unruly biting instincts. 

Prevent Your Puppy From Jumping Up

As you know, some very excited pups will want to jump up onto you as you walk. While this is common playful puppy behavior, you'll want to stop it – but how? (This advice will also come in handy if your puppy’s jumping and biting.) 
To address it, try holding a high-value treat next to your leg while walking, teaching your puppy that you will reward them if they walk nicely alongside you. This method’s extremely effective when teaching your puppy to walk on a leash.

Give Them a Time-Out 

Choose a designated "time-out" area and gently place your puppy there, giving them the chance to calm down after they go on a biting rampage. While doing this, make sure to stay calm to prevent your puppy from associating the area with punishment. When your puppy’s calmed down, let them out again – but not before.

Positive Reinforcement is Key

With any puppy training regime, positive reinforcement is crucial. Keep this in mind, so you can reinforce the behavior you’re seeking with a “good dog”, a treat, or a cuddle when your pup is calm. 
It may go without saying, but never, ever hit or physically punish your dog. If their biting is frequently aggressive, speak to your vet or dog trainer.

Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions 

Remember how challenging this whole process is for your puppy. Don’t introduce unnecessary distractions, run through things too fast, or make chaotic or intrusive movements when you’re playing together. You’re trying to make sure they’re focused solely on your hand, and the pressure they’re exerting with their jaw. If there’s too much noise or movement, they won’t be able to pick up on your cues.

What Do I Do if the Biting Persists? 

 If you've tried everything discussed above and your dog continues to bite, you may be asking yourself: ‘When will my puppy stop biting?’ If you are, it’s likely time for puppy school! Giving your pup the chance to socialize with other dogs can be the best way to teach them how to be polite with their mouth, as they’ll learn from other dogs.
With a bit of patience and training consistency, your puppy should learn to moderate their behavior around the six-month mark. If this isn't the case for your pup, an experienced dog trainer or dog behavior specialist should be your next step.

How to Avoid Provoking Your Puppy

If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that puppies love playing. It's very easy for them to get excited and go a little overboard, so keep in mind that your puppy will base its reactions on how you’re acting. For example, if you excite your puppy with slightly aggressive playing, they’ll return the same level of energy (and likely a little more!). If they haven't yet learned to moderate their bite, this can be quite painful.

To prevent provoking your puppy, which causes them to bite more frequently:

  • Avoid waving your limbs in front of your puppies face
  • Don’t ignore your puppy altogether, rather teach them to play gently
  • Avoid jerking movements; this will only encourage your puppy to lunge forward
  • NEVER hit your puppy if they bite you - this can often cause them to be afraid and bite harder
Puppy biting and chewing is an entirely normal step in your dog's development and while it’s not always a ‘simple fix,’ with (a lot) of patience, positive reinforcement and obedience training along the way, these behaviors can be curbed before they become second nature. 
Once your dog understands how to bite playfully, you'll be a much more confident owner, happy to go anywhere and meet anyone with your best buddy – and we love adventurous dogs here at Eukanuba! 

Learn a little more about how to instil good behaviours in your pup via another one of our helpful articles; ‘Basic Obedience Training For Your Puppy.’
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