Teething/Mouthing

Puppy Mouthing

Why do puppies mouth and bite? Puppies like to explore the world with their mouths, which makes everything (including your skin) a potential chew toy. Providing a safe environment to prevent inappropriate chewing on household items and teaching your puppy bite inhibition from an early age will help prevent unwanted behaviors as she grows.


How to Stop Puppies from Mouthing and Nipping:

  • Teach your puppy that mouthing or nipping a person’s skin or clothes at any time stops play and attention immediately.
  • When your puppy nips, get up and walk out of the room for a short time.
  • Come back in and resume play and attention.
  • If your puppy mouths again, play stops again. If she keeps her teeth to herself, the game and attention continues.
  • Give your puppy appropriate toys to keep her entertained and redirect mouthing onto something appropriate.
  • Puppies love to seek, grab, play, and pull. This play is great bonding and will also help break the mouthing habit.
  • By using a rubber toy stuffed with puppy-appropriate food, you are turning a mouthing puppy into a dog that is playing with you through the toy.
  • Expect a second chewing phase around the 6-9 month adolescence period.

© Dana Cubbage Photography 2012

Photo by Dana Cubbage Photography | www.danacubbagephotography.com


Why is this important to teach my puppy?
Play is really important for your puppy, so you want to be able to play with your puppy. But there have to be boundaries.

  • What you do not want is to have a puppy that has a habit of mouthing that carries on into adulthood.
  • A mouthing puppy is much more manageable than a mouthy adult dog. Those habits are difficult to break in adulthood, and the bites can be much more painful!
  • This is not an easy habit to break in all puppies. It is important to find what motivates your puppy, whether it is praise, toys, treats, or a combination.
  • Once you find the right motivator, you may find your puppy is happy to redirect his mouthing elsewhere.


What Not to Do:

  • Avoid playing roughly with your puppy. Encouraging mouthing and roughhousing at a young age will quickly leave you with an adult dog with a major mouthing problem.
  • Do not just tell your puppy "no" when she is mouthing on you. Even negative attention is still attention and will not successfully discourage the mouthing.Get up and walk away instead.
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JOIN THE CONVERSATION
  • Anna Georghallides

    What can be done when it's a 5 year old rescue who thinks Nipping and showing teeth is play? Thank you

  • mary

    my dog licks everything and eats my underwear.

  • andrea

    I am training my puppy not to mouth and bite using Victoria's exact direction, but as I walk away he thinks I am still playing and will bite at my shoes/socks/toes/pants. could anyone help me on this situation? I want to train him correctly so we both can play and have fun, without bites. thank you!

  • Jane

    I have just got a Rottweiler puppy who hadsnt had a lot of socialising in the first 8 weeks and fairly neglected ( have been exposing her to lots of people, things and noise making good progress) she has a terrible habit of mouthing, chewing just about everything and anything, humans included when she bits my feet, legs, trousers etc I stop usually try to distract her with toys in the event that I haven't got anything she just doesn't stop, usually have to pry her mouth open to remove clothing and in the event that I can distract her when I walk off she is after me try to grab legs, trousers again. Help please what do I do. Jane

  • Kim Schlossberg

    Hi I have a 9 week old pit mix and she can't stop herself from rough play with my 2 year old mix pit. He is a very chil type dog and very well behaved! He has always even at her age more low key. He is good with her and enjoys playing with her but I have to be close at all times. Of coarse I know this is puppy play but she bites and hangs on to him. I get her off and give her chew toys. I have also put her in a play pen when she does it to separate the behavior. She is very smart. She has already learned to come and to sit. She is learning stay. I do give treats for good things. She goes to the bathroom out side every time I take her. It's rare she has an accident l. He potty trained great to. Please can you help me with my more non stop little puppy? Both of my pits were rescue. Thank you!!

  • Susan

    tether his leash briefly to a door handle so he can't follow, or crate him.

  • Elizabeth Despain

    Hi, I have a 4 month old Labradoodle that I got a week ago from a pet store. He has a really big problem with mouthing/nipping/biting. When he gets riled up (which is very quick and easy) he quickly goes to biting - to the point of bruising and drawing blood (he will growl aggressively also). This is the worst with my boyfriend (who lives with me) he will often growl and bite at his arms and legs drawing blood often. We have tried to "OW" and getting up to ignore him but he follows me and continues his bad behavior. I do not want to put him in his crate because that is not supposed to be used as punishment and he will destroy things if I put him into another room. We have tried to redirect him but he quickly looses interest in toys that we give him. WE have started to train him with "stop" (I started with a treat in my closed hand and told him to stop, when he stops nosing my hand I give him the treat) this has had a little success but he still bites. I am most fearful that he will bite someone else and we will have to put him down. I want to fix this problem before it gets worse. What do you suggest? How can we fix this issue?

  • Kathryn

    Hi there, I have a 4 month old pug, she is absolutely great and we have managed to enforce the leave it command with everything apart from biting our feet! She just focuses on biting our feet so much that she will ignore any distraction/demand/noise that we make to try and get her off them. We have even tried using taste deterants on our socks to put her off but apparently she likes these and it spurs her on more.. Have you any advise at all please?

  • Lizzie

    Hi, I have a 8 month old Husky puppy and she is very lovely and listens to commands apart from when she's is mouthing me but she doesn't do it to my partner, but I try turn my back and she bites my bottom or scratches my back is have tried all the tricks I know and this is a tuff tackle I need help

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