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Help! My Puppy is Nipping

Are you feeling frustrated because your puppy is nipping you? Yes, you love your puppy, but this nipping is driving you crazy.

At first, it was exciting getting a new puppy. Now the troubles are starting.

Sometimes the nipping hurts, other times it breaks the skin. You wonder if it will ever stop, and you get worried that this behavior may never go away. You also wonder how to stop the nipping in the best way possible.

Why puppies nip

As human babies, we mostly cry when we need something. Of course puppies do this too. However, they have a mouth that they tend to use at a much younger age than humans.

When puppies are frustrated they may choose to let their frustration out by nipping you. This can be common when they want attention. They maybe seeking attention because they want to…

  • be pet
  • play
  • eat a treat
  • take a nap

They honestly cannot speak English. Their mouth becomes a huge communicator.

Of course, puppies can also be teething. This pain can definitely entice them to want to chew on objects including your hands.

There is also a theory that biting may help pups learn about bite inhibition. This means they can learn when they are biting too hard and learn to be more gentle.

Avoid these mistakes when your puppy is nipping

You will read articles online, and your friends will tell you many things. No matter what others may say, it is important to avoid these mistakes to ensure that your puppy grows up to be friendly.

If you do one of these mistakes, you risk your puppy developing fear or aggression problems when he grows up.

  • Grabbing your dogs muzzle. Shaking it can definitely increase frustration in your puppy. However, even gently grabbing it is not advise we would give you.
  • Bumping your puppy’s nose.
  • Putting pressure on your puppy’s tongue.
  • Yelling
  • Any type of hitting
  • Spraying your puppy with any liquid including water.

The best actions to take when your puppy is nipping

Patience is key. When you were a baby and were crying you wanted to feel safe. Your puppy wants to feel safe when he nipping as well. Remember nipping is just your puppy’s form of communcation.

Nothing in life is free

It is a great idea to use an exercise called nothing in life is free. This means that you teach your puppy to sit when he has a request. When he wants to play, to be pet, or to eat a treat, it is best for your puppy to learn to sit.

Chew toys

Give your puppy plenty of items to chew. Your puppy will want a variety of chew toys. Here are some great options:

  • Kongs can also be frozen to help with teething.
  • bully Sticks
  • antlers
  • nylabones
  • rubber chew toys
  • rope toys
  • stuffed toys
  • Frozen toys can really help with the pain during teething.

Avoid saying “no”

It is best to not say “no” when your puppy nips. Saying “ouch” is fine, but anything more than that can cause more problems.

When playing with your puppy, and your puppy bites you, stop playing. Resume playing once your puppy stops biting. When you are petting him, you can do the same when your puppy nips you . Giving him a chew toy while you are petting your puppy can help a ton.

Also, pay attention to your puppies needs. Maybe he needs to play, go on a walk, chew on a toy, or even take a nap. Puppies can nip when they are tired. They need to sleep often, so pay attention to your puppy’s napping patterns.

Your puppy will need help directing his needs. You may have to encourage him to chew on the correct toy or encourage him to take a nap by putting him in his crate or ex-pen.

The ASPCA also has an excellent article on puppy nipping.

What to do when your puppy is nipping your children

Children are fragile and nipping can be very painful to them. It is best to teach your children to say “ouch.” Then ignore your puppy. Once your puppy stops biting, the children can resume giving your puppy attention.

When they pet your puppy, it is best for your children to have a chew toy on them.

It is best for your child to have a toy in their hand, while playing with your puppy. Never encourage your children to play with their empty hands around their puppy’s face. This will encourage mouthing.

Always be a safe place for your child. If they are struggling and cannot get their puppy to stop bitting, it is time for you to help. They may need help understanding their puppy’s needs. As an adult, you can see the larger picture and determine what your puppy needs in the moment.

To learn more about peace between your children and your puppy read this past post.

How long will it take for my puppy to stop nipping?

There is no definite answer to this question. However, most puppies will start bitting less at about 6 months of age. Your ability to be committed, to work as a team with your puppy and to be consistent will effect your results.

Commitment is key

It is important that you stay committed to your puppy. Remember he needs you. When things get tough, remember you are committed to loving your puppy.

When you act from a place of love and being a team, how will you choose to react?

Be a team with your puppy

It is not just about stopping the biting. It is also about acknowledging your puppy’s needs. Remember to question why he is bitting and meet those needs as well. It is not a one way street.

Consistency is important to stop puppy nipping

Giving your puppy attention for biting and ignoring your puppy for biting other times is confusing. Try to remember to use “ouch” everytime your puppy nips you.

From there acknowledge your puppy’s needs. Meet your puppy’s needs. Then repeat.

Alyssa, Giles is a puppy trainer in Clearfield, Utah

Alyssa Giles trains with Four Legged Scholars LLC. She currently lives in Clearfield. Her passion is behavior. As a result, she is a great asset to Four Legged Scholars.

She has been training for over ten years. She absolutely loves meeting the dog’s needs. Then from there she loves helping the client understand these needs so that both the dog and owner can live in happiness.

Enroll into our group puppy training course Read more about private puppy training

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Britnie Sorensen
Britnie Sorensen
18:11 06 Apr 24
This is our second round of training with Johanna! Our Bullmastiff Abbi is different from our previous dogs, and we knew Johanna would be able to help us. We reached out and were in excellent hands! Johanna was able to redirect our training efforts, majority of sessions were held virtually and supported with videos of us training Abbi. We will keep using Johanna no matter where life takes us. Her love and compassion for our puppy, and us, come through in every interaction. We are in a much better place and understanding of Abbi after working with Johanna!
Roberta Bonnell
Roberta Bonnell
01:37 24 Mar 24
My Australian Shepard had moderate separation anxiety and Johanna was able to help me get him to a point where I can see him being able to be home alone before the end of the year! Very grateful for all of her training expertise.
Karen Mara
Karen Mara
21:19 21 Jan 24
I recently met with Johanna for help with my rambunctious teenager, Roger. We worked on coming when called, leash walking, and staying calm around other dogs when on leash. After two sessions, Roger made huge improvements, and he continues to improve as we practice on our own. Johanna really understands dogs and is very good at communicating with people. She knows how to make dog training fun. I've worked with other trainers, and Johanna is by far the best.
Wendy Nighswonger
Wendy Nighswonger
18:47 08 Jul 23
I have known Johanna for 13 years. She has helped me with several dogs, but she recently helped me train my new black lab puppy, Raven. I have moved to another state so all of my training with Raven was done online via Zoom. I believe that the one-on-one training I received through Zoom was more personalized and thorough, especially with the way Johanna placed every ounce of training and recommendation on a board through an app that I can refer back when I need. Johanna is very intuitive and knew when stress was on overload for me, therefore tailoring my training for that day around making Raven feel good while simultaneously taking my stress load down. Johanna has years of experience and while her knowledge is a gold mine, it is her gentle patience and love for her clients that make this training so perfect. I would hire her again and again. She is a true canine whisperer. Thank you Four Legged Scholars and thank you Johanna!Wendy N. ~ Oregon
Christina Richards
Christina Richards
18:13 10 Feb 23
Johanna at Four Legged Scholars is great. She tailored my program to fit my needs and was easy to work with. My puppy responded very well to what she taught us together over Zoom. She's patient and understanding. We're still utilizing the things we learned and he's a well-behaved puppy. Thank you!
Karyl Bennion
Karyl Bennion
19:49 05 Feb 23
I adopted Frida as a companion that I could travel, walk and hike with. She loves to hike and walk but pulled on the leash and jumped at distractions. I learned how to be calm and talk in a non threatening way to her. She responds to this much better than yelling at her. The click and treat method that I learned works so well in getting her attention as well as the "target" training. Frida has improved greatly with these methods. I will continue the knowledge I have learned with her. I did the live on-line training and it was very successful. I am so happy we signed up.
Rachel Giddings
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02:57 12 Dec 22
My dog was abused in his previous home and has always been afraid of strangers. I wanted to train him and help him to be more confident, but I didn't know how to do that if he was afraid of his trainer.Doing online training with Joanna was perfect for both of us! Joanna helped me learn how to read my dog and understand his triggers. We then worked together on BAT training, which taught him self-soothing behaviors and showed him how to confidently and safely handle difficult situations. I never thought I would have fun doing homework with my dog, but he and I benefited from it tremendously. Working with Joanna via Zoom was perfect for my dog and me.
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Shawn McMillen
02:09 24 Oct 22
My 2 year old doodle was struggling with people walking by the house, barking incessantly, tugging on walks, improving recall when off leash and , for me, how to be a better more engaging human for my buddy. The personalized, online sessions exceeded all my expectations. The review of video homework sessions was awesome. We saw improvement in each of the priority areas and I developed real, tangible, lasting skills/tools to be a better pet person. Thanks Johanna!
Courtney Daniels
Courtney Daniels
19:59 12 Sep 22
12 years ago I got a puppy and quickly realized I was in over my head. I wanted to have a good, well trained dog, but I was overwhelmed by methods and my puppies behavior.I joined the four legged scholars puppy training with my little 4 month old puppy Bowie, and saw immediate understanding with the clicker work. It gave us this incredibly ability to communicate and she excelled.We went on to take several courses that established general obedience, helped me turn a STRONG leash puller into a loose leash master (I took that course twice because it was a huge issue for us and I NEEDED help and reassurance from Johanna that I could do it) as well as skill class, that helped solidify a beautiful relationship between us. Learning clicker shaping allowed me to confidently teach complex and unique commands on my own as well, like waving hello and closing kitchen cabinets.My Bowie has climbed to the top of mountains for me staying right by my side never pulling on her leash. I've targeted her off trails to protect her from startling a mama moose and her baby. She's loved on my kids without jumping on them and knocking them over. She's allowed the neighbor girl who has always had a fear of dogs to walk her without pulling at whatever pace she was comfortable with. She shows off with all her fun little tricks Johanna gave me the tools to train my dog into an amazing companion.I feel so lucky to have found your training program and to have the relationship I do with my Bowie girl. These courses have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of families and their pups, thank you for that gift.
Megan Pond-Maxwell
Megan Pond-Maxwell
16:02 18 May 22
I am so grateful to have found Johanna. She was with us every step of the way as we tackled separation anxiety training and reactivity training with Daisy, my Mini Australian Shepherd. As a first time dog owner, I felt at a loss about how to manage my very vocal, scared, stressed, yet loveable dog. She had all of the typical puppy behavior, such as jumping, nipping/biting, leash pulling, as well as barking. On top of that, she was also not able to be alone without feeling terrified, as well as vocally and behaviorally reactive to other dogs, adults, and kids. I felt completely overwhelmed and Johanna created programs that felt manageable and doable. Each training session, I felt understood and empowered working with Johanna. Over the course of our programs, I felt that we accomplished the steps of the training process, strengthened the dog-human relationship, and increased my own awareness of my dog's emotional cues so that I could better work with her. My dog can now be on her own feeling relaxed and playful, her problematic puppy behaviors have significantly improved, she can walk on her leash loosely, listen to commands, and she can better tolerate other adults, dogs, and children as compared to where we first started. Our online experience was very positive. I look forward to continually implementing the tools and skills we have learned along the way to move forward in a positive direction that strengthens our human-animal bond and reduces distressing behaviors and emotional stress and overwhelm. Thank you Four Legged Scholars! I highly, highly recommend working with Johanna.
Emily Harward
Emily Harward
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Our rescue dog is sweet and playful with us, but her behavior around other dogs and people could be unpredictable. She would act aggressively around adults (lunging and barking), and would sometimes be aggressive toward other dogs. We chose to do online training with Johanna. I was skeptical that online training would work, but it ended up being very effective. Johanna taught me the skills I needed to train my dog, and provided resources that I could use throughout the week as I worked on the assigned tasks. I was also able to send her videos of me working with my dog, so she could provide feedback and help me improve. Johanna personalized the program and made changes as needed to ensure that I could meet my goals. Since working with Four Legged Scholars, neighbors have commented on how much better behaved my dog is, and I don't have to worry about her lunging and barking at people or other dogs when we are out for a walk anymore. We still have a lot of work to do with our dog, and I feel like doing the personalized online sessions with Johanna has given me the knowledge, and resources to continue training my dog.
Angel Lanoy
Angel Lanoy
15:22 16 Jun 21
We have a large family, including three big dogs. So when our biggest dog Obi, the Rottweiler, started showing aggression we panicked. The vet suggested we put him down after an experience in the office. He then said we could also try training and gave us Johanna's business card. Just a phone call with her made us feel like there was hope. We signed up to do the online sessions with FourLeggedScholars. The process from the first contact to the last was well oiled and very helpful. Obi gets to stay with our family now and we feel like meting with her has given us the guidance and knowledge we need to keep our family, friends and him safe. I was a tad worried about doing the training online, but it really worked out great and we were able to fit such a big task into our busy schedules. I feel like she set us up for success from the very beginning. Thank you.
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