Learn how to Stop your puppy’s biting fast with proven, positive puppy training techniques. Training a puppy while it is young is the foundation for life with your gentle companion. Puppies are adorable and playful and come with needle-sharp teeth. Here are valuable tips for training “mouthy” puppies.
Teaching your large breed puppy to stop biting will help save your household items, your shoes, and your fingers. Training will teach your puppy valuable social behavior skills.
These training skills will help you divert and stop your puppies from biting and nipping without force or fear-based techniques. Early bite training will help your puppy grow into a well-behaved adult by stopping innocent, playful biting before it becomes a malicious habit.
Let’s get started teaching you how to gently discipline your mouthy pup at any age.
How to Quickly Stop your Puppy from Biting
To quickly stop your puppy’s mouthy biting, make sure you correct them immediately when they engage in biting by saying “Ouch!”, or “Stop!” and calmly removing your foot, hand, or any other body part the puppy is biting.
Never play wrestle with your large breed puppy and let him bite or mouth your hand for fun. Do not pin your puppy down with your hand while play growling with the puppy. Take your hand away and redirect the puppy by giving him a favorite puppy chew toy. You should repeat the command to Stop or Leave, and calmly get up and walk away if the puppy continues to chew and attempts to bite.
Remove your attention immediately from a puppy that insists on biting while playing. Walk away and do not reward the puppy’s behavior. Instead, remove your attention from the puppy. This is the same as an adult dog who ignores a puppy that is playing too rough. This is a good time to work on the phrase Leave It. Leave it is a phrase that many large breed owners find to be crucial in developing a gentle companion. You can also work on your puppy’s impulse control.
Do not yell at your puppy, use physical force, or do anything that causes the puppy to fear interaction with you. Do not strike the puppy or cause your puppy to fear your hand, this can lead to aggressive fear-based biting in adult dogs.
Always use positive reward-based training to teach your puppy acceptable behaviors and build trust in your relationship.
Correcting Your Large Breed Puppy, the Right Way
Let’s quickly talk about correcting your large breed puppy, because it is a controversial topic in dog training. Many owners are concerned about using corrective discipline to stop their puppy from biting.
Some people think it’s fun to play wrestle and encourage their cute baby pup to attack their feet or other objects.
Let’s think this through:
Your large breed puppy will grow to be 90-150 pounds. They will be a powerful adult complete with a bite force of over 300 psi. It is crucial that you teach your puppy manners and acceptable behaviors to avoid future accidents and problematic behavior traits.
This is why mild, corrective reprimands are so essential.
Some people believe that discipline means punishment. Positive corrective techniques teach your puppy future life skills and do not involve forceful punishment, involving fear-based techniques.
Here you will learn proven ways to Stop your puppy from biting and mouthy behavior.
- the reasons why puppies bite
- The most effective way to correct your puppy for biting
- actions to avoid while training your puppy so you do not mistakenly encourage the behavior
- techniques to encourage your large breed puppy to become a gentle giant
You will learn how to teach your pup not to bite you or others and to learn what is and is not appropriate to chew on.
Why does my puppy bite everything?
Most puppy biting is normal behavior. It is a way that puppies learn about their environment. Some puppies bite out of fear, frustration, or abandonment. This type of behavior can be a sign of future aggression.
Here are the most common reasons that puppies nip and bite:
- Teething. “The dreaded puppy phase”
- Lack of exercise or mental stimulation
- Boredom and tiredness
- Social skills development
- Practicing their natural instincts.
All puppies tend to chew or bite things as they go through puppyhood. Teething and growing pains, a natural prey drive, and social development all play a part in a puppy’s desire to chew on its surroundings.
You can take positive steps to divert your puppy’s desire to chew, by offering plenty of safe chew toys. You should never tolerate aggressive biting in your home or in your interactions with your pup.
Here is an in-depth look at the primary reasons your puppy is so mouthy and enjoys chewing and biting while playing.
Early Puppy Development and Social Bite Inhibition
When your puppy is born, he learns the correct social interaction with his mother and littermates. Puppies love to play, and they socialize with their littermates by barking, growling, mouth wrestling, and play biting.
Bite inhibition is an integral part of socialization. During bite inhibition, your large breed puppy learns to control the force of their biting developing a “ soft mouth” so that their siblings aren’t injured (source).
Puppies learn fast that if they bite too hard their littermates stop playing, and playtime ends. Older dogs will walk away and ignore puppies that nip them disrespectfully. This is a valuable life lesson for living with people and other dogs.
8-Week-Old Puppies and Bite Inhibition
A puppy’s mother teaches early bite inhibition and corrects them when they play rough or bite too hard. If you get your puppy earlier than eight weeks, your infant puppy hasn’t learned proper social behaviors and has missed natural teaching from its mother. Leaving your puppy with its mother for a minimum of 8 weeks is critical for the puppy’s future social skills.
Studies show that removing a puppy before they are 8-weeks-old could negatively affect its behavior as adult (source). It is advised to leave large breed puppies with their mothers for up to 12 weeks, as the extra time with her will teach them valuable pack social skills. Be cautious of breeders that encourage you to adopt your puppy too early
Your new large-breed puppy should continue to learn bite inhibition skills from you after you bring them home.
Puppy Teething Phases
All puppies pass through a teething phase. Is yours?
Puppies start to get their baby teeth around 2-weeks-old. Baby teeth are usually all present by 6 to 7 weeks of age. By the time you adopt your puppy at 8-10 weeks of age, he should have all of his baby teeth.
When the adult teeth grow in they can irritate the gums and cause your dog discomfort. This can lead to your puppy chewing furniture, objects in the house, or anything they can chew to help soothe the teething process.
3 to 4-Month-Old Puppy Biting and Teething Phase
Around 3-4 months old your puppy’s baby teeth will begin to loosen and fall out as his adult teeth push through to replace them, just like a human. This is often the start of the dreaded chew on your shoe’s puppy stage. You might find the tiny teeth lying around but most are eaten by the puppy.
This does not hurt your puppy and is perfectly normal.
Chewing is your puppy’s natural way to ease teething pain and is very normal. While teething a frozen Kong filled with a mix of treats helps to cool any inflammation and distract your puppy from household objects.
Always have a few frozen puppy toys ready for your puppy when they’re teething.
Keep a few frozen toys and other durable chew objects on hand during the teething stage to make this stage easier for you and your puppy. Most puppies will start to grow out of the puppy biting phase around 5 months of age.
Recap of puppy teething phases:
- 2-weeks-old: baby teeth develop
- 6 to 7-weeks of age: all 28 baby teeth have grown in
- 3 to 4-months-old: baby teeth fall out naturally
- 3 to 8-months-old: provide teething toys to reduce discomfort
- 6 to 8-months of age: your puppy now has all 42 adult teeth
3. Boredom and Lack of Mental Stimulation
Most large breeds, especially the Estrela Mountain Dog are highly intelligent dogs. Intelligent puppies often have lots of energy and need both mental and physical stimulation. Puppies need exercise, games, and an environment where they can learn problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills are crucial to a puppy’s development, especially if the puppy is in training to be a Livestock guardian.
A pup that lacks proper mental stimulation will look for ways to keep their brains busy, which often means getting into trouble. Mental stimulation will exhaust your puppy both mentally and physically in a good way.
Your Dog’s Natural Instincts.
Most dog breeds were originally developed to perform certain jobs. Your puppy will exhibit specific instincts that come naturally to his specific breed. A working shepherd breed was developed to herd sheep, and a working livestock guardian breed was developed with a very low herd drive, to guard sheep. These two breeds possess completely different breed instincts. One will chase and one will calmly guard, neither is a learned behavior, it is instinctual.
Herding puppies bite and nip your ankles due to their natural herding ability and strong prey drive. This need to herd is in their genes and, unfortunately, if let go will give them the reputation of “ankle biters.” Herding puppies must be gently discouraged from herding or nipping their owners and family members.
Most giant breed puppies have a low prey drive and will not play attack their owners as much as smaller breeds. Livestock guardian breed puppies must be discouraged immediately if they start to play bite or chase other pets or family members.
How to Stop a Puppy from Biting and Nipping
Teach your puppy from the start that biting hurts you and doesn’t get them what they want. Begin teaching them by using verbal cues, and body language and showing them the behaviors you want from them. If your puppy continues to aggressively bite you, place them in a short time out.
Always use positive training and never punish your puppy harshly.
You can practice these techniques by following the steps below to quickly stop your puppy’s biting.
Stop your puppy biting by teaching bite inhibition.
Your puppy needs to learn how to control the force of his bite while he is young. There could come a time when your dog is in fear, pain, or discomfort and they put their mouth on you or someone else.
If your puppy has learned bite inhibition through social interactions with its mother and during play, will understand to not bite down hard. This will enable them to avoid injuring their family members.
While training your puppy not to bite you, you can play these fun games with him.
Puppy Bite Inhibition Training
- When your puppy bites you, make an “ouch” or “ow” sound to let them know it hurts. If high-pitched noise excites your puppy and he bites harder walk away without fuss.
- Gently remove your leg, hand, or whatever body part the puppy is biting
- Gently tap their nose if they refuse to release whatever they are biting, for example, your pant leg, or finger.
- Stop all play and communication for 10-15 seconds.
- Resume interaction but stop immediately if the puppy continues to bite. Do not reward a biting puppy with your attention. Teach your puppy the same as an adult dog would, by ignoring unacceptable rough play.
Teach your puppy that biting ends playtime.
If your puppy continues to bite aggressively, show them that playtime is over.
If you’ve already stopped playtime and then resumed play when training your puppy not to bite but he continues to bite, show your puppy that this will not be tolerated by ending the interaction. A hard bite that damages the skin means the game is over.
How to stop your puppy’s aggressive biting:
- If your dog hurts you during playtime, do the same thing another dog would do, ignore the puppy and walk away.
- Calmly walk away from your puppy, preferably to a place where he cannot follow, such as a room where you can shut the door.
- If your feet are on the floor pick them up, if they have access to your hands remove their access. Don’t let them get access to you and continue to bite and hurt you.
Distancing yourself and removing yourself from playtime when your puppy is biting aggressively is a way to calm them by withdrawing your attention from them. Show them you will not reward rough playtime. This is a very effective way to stop your puppy from biting without negative force.
Distract your Puppy with appropriate chew items.
Provide appropriate toys and items for your puppy to chew before he destroys your favorite pair of flip-flops.
Keep durable chew toys available, and distract chewing behavior in a positive way, by offering toys whenever your puppy nips your feet or fingers.
What toys do Puppies like to bite and chew?
Large breed puppies have powerful jaws and need durable toys that are not easily dissembled or splinter into choking hazards. Dog chew toys should be able to withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. An empty water bottle, large carrots, or a wet, frozen, knotted hand towel can provide hours of entertainment for your puppy.
My puppies loved rolling toys that are built for heavy chewers, like this Monster Ultra Durable Chew toy.
Livestock guardian dogs should never be allowed to chew on items that squeak or resemble baby animals. Never use a plushy chew toy, such as a stuffed animal or a squeaky chew toy for Livestock guardian puppies. Livestock guardian puppies can be given teddy bears to snuggle, carry or play with, but they should be supervised to prevent them from destructive behavior.
What are the most effective chew toys for puppies?
Read our favorite handpicked recommendations for bored puppies.
⭐ The Best Chew Toys to Reduce Boredom
Stop Your Puppy Biting with a Time Out.
Sometimes, a short time-out is required for hard nipping and biting. Place your puppy in time out for aggressive biting.
We’ve all been there; sometimes our puppy continues to aggressively bite despite our best interventions.
Gently place your puppy in his crate and give him space to calm down and stop biting. Give him his favorite chew toy and allow the puppy to decompress. A timeout is not a punishment, it is a time for your puppy to self- soothe. After your puppy self-calms, let him back out, and make sure that your pup does not view his crate as a punishment.
How to correct your puppy for aggressive biting and mouthing
- Gently take them to a safe designated time out place. This can be a crate or a room with a pet safe partition gate that they cannot escape from.
- Do not give your puppy excess toys or entertainment in time out; if your puppy cries excessively, he can be given his favorite chew toy depending on his age.
- Keep your puppy in time out for up to 5 minutes or longer if the pup is 5-6 months or older. Be flexible depending on how long your puppy takes to self – calm.
- Let your puppy out after your puppy is calm and not crying or whining.
Never treat time out as abandonment or severe punishment; this will break the trust bond between you and your puppy.
Make sure your puppy is not hungry or tired
Some puppies bite excessively when they are hungry, over-stimulated or tired. A simple routine can help you and your puppy learn and relax. Just like human babies, your puppy needs a regular sleep schedule, or he will become hard to handle and struggle to concentrate on your cues.
Puppies need a quiet bed, or crate away from the stimulation of your family life, you wouldn’t expect a human baby to sleep in the living room when it is loud and noisy, your puppy won’t be able to either.
Setting a routine for your puppy
Puppies need regular small meals, adequate water, and consistent potty times, to help them be on their best behavior. Sometimes biting puppies are just hungry, need to potty or are over stimulated.
Puppies sleep up to 20 hours a day, and an over stimulated puppy is a cranky pup. Place your puppy in his crate with a blanket draped over it, and his favorite toys. After his nap, he will be refreshed and happier.
Use a noisy fan (blowing away from the puppy ), a sleeping aid with a mothers simulated heartbeat and warming feature, or a white noise machine, to provide a soothing sleep environment for an over stimulated puppy.
Here are our favorite sleep aids for puppies of all ages.
Routines are crucial for helping your puppy learn and grow into his smart, gentle adult self. You can stop your puppy biting easily when the puppy is on a routine and getting enough sleep and mental stimulation.
How do you teach “Leave It” and “Drop It” Dog training tips
Teaching the “Leave It “and “Drop It” commands can feel overwhelming. Early “Leave It” training will teach your puppy impulse control, keep your puppy safe and strengthen the bond of trust between your puppy and you. “Leave It” cues are especially critical for LGD puppies and should be a regular part of puppy education.
Puppies need to learn as early as possible that they cannot put toxic and dangerous things into their mouths.
Start training your Puppy to the “Leave it” cue:
- If your puppy is biting your clothes or has something in its mouth that you do not want them to chew, calmly offer them a treat instead.
- If your puppy drops the item, praise him, and mark the action with a clicker or the word your puppy associates with “Good.”
- If you are distracting your puppy from chewing, offer him an acceptable chew item after his treat.
If your puppy enjoys chewing household items, try and swap them for items he is allowed to chew. For example, if your puppy enjoys chewing shoes, offer him a safe and suitable rawhide option.
Never allow LGD puppies to chew soft fuzzy things, pillows, etc. LGD pups need to be taught that they must be gentle with all soft, fuzzy items. This sets them up for success if they are introduced to baby animals or birds later in life. Nobody wants to come home to feather pillows spread all over the house.
How to train your dog to have a gentle mouth
Teach your dog that only gentle mouths are rewarded. Our favorite dog treats.
Training your large breed puppy to have a gentle mouth is easy with positive training techniques.
Teaching your large breed puppy or livestock guardian puppy what is acceptable pressure with their mouth helps to avoid unnecessary force and damaged clothes, baby animals, etc.
Training your large breed Puppy to have a soft mouth
- Start by feeding your dog his favorite treats. Keep the treat between your fingers securely. Make your puppy taste the treat by licking it.
- If your puppy starts to chew or bite your hand, pull your hand away slowly out of your puppy’s reach.
- You can offer the treat again after 2-3 seconds. When your puppy starts to gently lick your hand with the treat, praise your puppy verbally and give him the treat.
- If your puppy bites your hand out of excitement, try again later when he is calmer. After your puppy has played hard and burned some energy, it is a good time to teach soft mouth skills.
Keep your puppy training sessions short and positive. You want your pup to associate treats, and mouth training with rewards and a good time. Teach mouth training 2-3 times a day in short sessions of 5 minutes or less.
Start your Puppy in Obedience Classes.
Puppy obedience classes will do more for you and your puppy than teach basic obedience. Effective dog classes will cover dog behavior, the importance of puppy socialization, basic dog body language, and many other helpful topics.
Puppy classes are helpful for all dog breeds, but they are especially significant for giant breed puppies, such as Estrela Mountain Dogs and other LGD breeds. Working guardian breed puppies, kept as family members, must be exposed to other dogs at a young age. This is, to prevent them from viewing them as threats in their adult future.
If you cannot make time in your schedule to take your puppy to daily classes, consider weekend classes or hiring a dog sitter. This will enable you to attend the classes with your large-breed puppy.
It is crucial for giant breed puppies to have socialization with other dogs before the age of 16 weeks.
There are many excellent virtual dog training courses available today along with in-person classes. Online programs will cover a comprehensive list of dog behaviors, including puppy biting and other issues you might be struggling with. Taking an online puppy training program will strengthen the bond between you and your puppy.
Large-breed puppies are future giants; it is your job to teach them gentleness in puppyhood. Use these fun mental health exercise tips to engage your puppy in positive behaviors and prevent boredom:
- Enrichment activities for Large Breed Dogs for all aspects of their life
- Excellent toys and enrichment for Large Guardian Breed Puppies.
- Easy ways to Entertain and Exercise your dog.
Puppies are highly intelligent and creative. However, if you do not give them proper outlets for their creativity, they will often find things to do that you would rather them not do.
Set your puppy up for Success
Don’t let your dog have full access to the house if they’re not well-trained yet.
Puppies that are left unsupervised learn that they are on their own. They learn to do what they want; they discover they do not need to follow rules or guidelines. One of the most effective steps in preventing unwanted dog behavior is to prevent the dog from repeating the unwanted behavior. By controlling your puppy’s environment, you can stop your puppy’s biting behaviors before they become habits.
- If your puppy chews shoes, you can remove the shoes from the areas he is allowed in.
- If your puppy gets too excited while play wrestling, do not allow family members to overstimulate or roughhouse with your puppy if he begins to bite.
- If your puppy runs around biting your feet, attach him to a leash, fastened to the table leg until he calms down. Do not allow him to stay underfoot nipping at family members.
- If your puppy plays too rough with children, remove him to his crate or behind a dog-safe gate/area. This will allow him to observe, but not to chase or nip children.
Supervise your puppy and set him up for success.
Puppies need guidance and quality interactions. Shaping a puppy’s behavior sets him up for success. Preventing your puppy from failing and engaging in negative behaviors will help your puppy learn faster and help him be successful.
Your puppy doesn’t come to you knowing your preferences or knowing your house rules. Be patient and give your puppy an environment he can thrive in.
How do we get our puppies to do what we want? Dog owners shape their dog’s behavior from a young age. A dogs behavior is shaped through obedience training and positive human interactions. Dog owners should praise the behaviors they want from their canine companions and gently make negative behaviors unpleasant for the dog to continue engaging in.
Lastly, let’s talk about what not to do when teaching your puppy not to bite.
Never punish your dog, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Scientific studies have proven that even mild punishment-based training causes increased stress levels in dogs. Punishment-based training caused negative stress behaviors and prevented dogs from learning skills, and commands easily. (source).
Dogs that were trained with positive techniques (like the ones we discussed here) had overall better learning experiences, better training retention, and healthier behaviors overall.
Dog owners should never punish their dogs by yanking on collars, hitting the dog, jerking their dog roughly, smacking their dog’s heads, forcing their mouth open, or physically causing their dogs harm in any way.
Never chase your puppy when they are afraid and avoid yelling or verbally intimidating your puppy. Avoid mentally or emotionally stressing your puppy as a form of punishment.
Punishing your Puppy incorrectly will destroy the trust bond between you and your puppy.
Are you punishing your puppy incorrectly and making things worse?
Using outdated “alpha training techniques” including shaking your puppy, forcefully putting your puppy on his back to show him who is boss, or grabbing your puppy’s food from him while he is eating, can increase aggressive dog behaviors.
Don’t forcefully shake your dog or put him on his back and growl at him.
A study using negative, aversive training techniques found that:
The use of incorrect punishment can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs. (source)
Never use old-school techniques that aren’t supported by science, when positive training techniques will give you much better results. This is not the way to stop your puppy from biting or chewing things.
Never grab your dog’s mouth and shake them.
Browse any online forum and you will find someone suggesting forcefully grabbing an item from a puppy to establish dominance or prevent biting
This study showed that over 25% of dogs grabbed by the mouth and shaken showed adult aggression. The study also included dogs, that had food or items forcefully removed from them. By yanking away their food dish to establish dominance. Source
Always treat your puppy with respect, to ensure he respects you and becomes a devoted family companion.
Respect is the foundation for a healthy and positive relationship with your puppy. Before you know it, the puppy phase will pass. With patience and positive training, your adorable biting dinosaur will be the giant, gentle companion of your dreams.
Learn more about Estrela Mountain Dog Puppies Here