Is your puppy jumping on people frequently? Or does he have a habit of biting things, people and other dogs? Perhaps you’ve tried different ways to stop him but it doesn’t seem to work.
Don’t fret. We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll break down the causes of his behavior and show you how to stop your puppy from biting and jumping. Tips from experts are included too!
Why Puppies Jump and Bite
It can be cute when your furry friend is chomping on a chew toy, but it’s not as cute when he starts biting you. Plus, he may have a habit of jumping on you and your visitors.
To address these behaviors, it’s important to understand why your puppy acts the way he does. Here are some possible reasons:
Sometimes, a puppy bites because he’s simply learning how to live with his family peacefully. Or perhaps he hasn’t been trained or attended any obedience classes yet. Here are some of the behavioral reasons that explain why he bites and jumps.
To greet people
Dogs greet each other face to face, and enjoy doing the same for their humans as well. Thus, they may jump and give a playful nip to a person who seems friendly.
Learning to socialize
It’s important for puppies to learn how to socialize, and in a litter, you might see one of them biting his littermates.
He does this to gauge how hard he should bite when playing with others. If he bites too hard, his playmate will yelp, so he’ll know to soften the blow, or stop entirely. This helps him pick up social cues and better interact with others.
If your puppy feels threatened, he may bite to defend himself or his loved ones.
Attempting to herd
It’s in the nature of herding breeds, such as Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, to nip at other dogs or people in an attempt to “herd” them, just like how they would with cattle or sheep. So if they spot anyone running around, they’re most likely to try to “herd” their new friend.
Sometimes, your puppy bites or jumps in response to how his body feels. Here are some potential reasons for his behavior.
Most puppies start teething around 2 to 3 months old and stop between 5 to 8 months of age. Thus, if your furry friend is within that age range, biting is normal. If he doesn’t grow out of it by the end of 8 months, speak to your vet to find out if there are any health-related issues.
To express hunger
Sometimes, your puppy bites or jumps because he needs food and there isn’t enough of it! Or maybe the nutrients in your dog’s diet are insufficient for him. Biting and jumping may be a way for your fur friend to tell you that he’s hungry.
Has too much energy
Young puppies, in particular, have a lot of energy to spend. You’ll know this as they’ll chew on and destroy many of your prized possessions at home, or jump up and stain your walls with their muddy paws.
Potential health problems
It’s unpleasant to think about, but your dog’s behavior might be caused by an intestinal parasite that’s depleting his ability to store nutrients. This may cause him to feel especially hungry and he may try to tell you this in various ways including biting and jumping.
If you suspect that this may be the cause, you’re recommended to visit a vet for a check-up.
Sometimes, your furry companion may be acting out due to his emotional needs or to express certain emotions.
To get attention
Your puppy may jump up to say, “Look at me!” like a small toddler, and you may yell at him to stop in response. Despite the negative reaction, your puppy will see this behavior as a way of getting attention from you and continue to jump.
He may even think of this negative attention as a reward.
Feeling nervous or afraid
Something may have startled your dog, such as a sudden loud noise. His reaction might be to bite the object or person scaring him, or to jump onto you.
Additionally, if your puppy has been away from you for too long, he may develop separation anxiety. This may also result in him jumping onto you.
How do I know when playful biting becomes aggression?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are some tell-tale signs to differentiate playfulness and aggression.
Aggressive puppies tend to have a stiff body posture, with their lips peeled back and teeth bared. Moreover, puppies who are playing won’t use as much force when they bite.
How to Stop Your Puppy from Jumping
While this behavior may seem relatively harmless when he’s a puppy, it can get more intimidating as he grows older and becomes larger in size. To prevent your puppy from bringing this habit into adulthood, here are some methods you can try.
Method 1: Redirect Your Puppy
When your puppy jumps on you, push him off firmly but gently. Avoid giving him attention until he calms down.
If he jumps on visitors, it can be more challenging. One way to calm him down is to put him on a leash and make him sit when visitors arrive at the door. If he jumps when they arrive, you can firmly but gently pull him back.
Method 2: Play Games With Your Puppy
There are 2 games that you can play with your puppy to stop him from jumping – the 4 paws game and the mat game.
The 4 Paws Game
This is a game that you can play with your pup indoors. It’s best to block the exit to the room when playing this game. The rules are quite simple:
- Every time your puppy has all 4 paws on the ground, give him a dog treat.
- As soon as a paw is off the ground, turn away and ignore your puppy.
The Mat Game
The objective of the game is to get your dog to stay on the mat. Here’s how to play:
- Lure your puppy to the mat with a treat.
- Once he sits or lies down on the mat, give him the treat.
- You can use a clicker or say “OK” as a cue that he can get off the mat if he wants to.
This is a helpful way for your puppy to expend excess energy and serves as a form of obedience training.
How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting
Your furry friend loves to bite – he’s chewed on cables and toys, and even nips playfully at your arm. If you’re wondering how to stop this behavior, read on!
Method 1: Puppy Proof Your Home
Puppy proofing your home means keeping anything that you don’t want your puppy to bite out of sight.
Cords and chargers should be put away, and cleaning supplies kept in high places so they’re out of reach. You’ll also want to put away sharp objects and anything that may potentially be a choking hazard.
If necessary, you can spray your furniture with anti-chew spray. When your puppy bites on the furniture, it’ll leave an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Do this a few more times and he’ll associate biting with an unpleasant taste.
Method 2: Create a Playpen For Your Pup
If your puppy is new to the house and is younger than 6 to 8 months of age, you might want to create a playpen for him. This helps him get used to the space and understand what he can or cannot bite.
Choose a room or space that’s easy to clean and set up the puppy playpen there. It should be free of furniture and household items that you don’t want your pet to chew on. It should also be a fully enclosed space with a secure gate installed.
There’s no fixed duration for keeping him in the playpen. Once you notice that he’s curious about the house, you can gradually let him out to explore.
If you have children, it’s best to supervise all interactions between your puppy and kids to prevent any injuries.
Method 3: Expose Your Puppy to Different Situations
Your puppy will encounter various sights, sounds, objects and people on his walks. It’s good to expose him to these experiences gradually so he’ll feel more comfortable in such situations.
During these walks, observe him closely and see if these scenarios or people scare him. If your dog starts to act up, pull on his leash and lead him away. You can try again when he’s feeling braver.
If he doesn’t act out, that’s great! Offer positive reinforcement by giving him treats. This will help your furry friend combat his fears if any.
Method 4: Divert His Attention
Once you see that your puppy is about to bite you, pull your hand away and give him a chew toy to divert his attention. Use the toy to start playing games with him such as fetch or tug-of-war.
By doing so, he’ll be aware of the appropriate situations in which he can bite objects. This is also a good way for him to expend his excess energy. Furthermore, it allows you to strengthen your bond with him as he gets the attention he craves.
Here are some toys to consider if you’re looking for a chew toy:
Method 5: Discourage Him from Biting
When your puppy bites you, make a yelping sound or shout, “Ouch!”. Make sure that your hand remains there so that he’ll learn to release his jaws from you. Ignore him for about 10 seconds before resuming play.
If the biting occurs more than 3 times within 15 minutes, give him a time-out and place him in a pen or small enclosure. Remember not to put your puppy in a time-out for too long as it’ll cause stress and anxiety.
According to Erin Jones, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, time-outs aren’t to be used when you’re feeling frustrated or to punish your puppy. The purpose is to show that rough play is unacceptable.
Slowly, your dog’s bites won’t hurt as much as they’ll mouth without chomping down on you.
Tips for Training Your Puppy Not to Jump and Bite
Here are 3 tips to make training your puppy not to jump and bite easier.
1. Use Positive Reinforcement
Every time your puppy stops jumping or biting, reward him with his favorite treat. Always be generous with praise to reinforce that his behavior is ideal.
Do this repeatedly, and your furry pal will start behaving in order to get treats!
2. Establish a Consistent Approach
Establishing a consistent approach means using the same method every time your puppy bites or jumps. This can be difficult, especially when he gives you that pleading look.
However, it’s important to be consistent with the techniques used so that your puppy gets the idea that biting and jumping are strongly discouraged.
3. Seek Cooperation in the Household
Get everyone who lives with you on board with training your puppy. This means that every family member or housemate uses the same techniques and doesn’t reinforce his biting.
Actions to Avoid When Training Your Dog
Sometimes, training your dog can be frustrating. You may be tempted to “exert dominance” to make your dog behave. However, according to Clive Wynne, this isn’t necessary. In fact, dogs look to us for love and companionship, so certain “dominant” behaviors can backfire.
Here are some actions, including “dominant” ones, to avoid when training your dog.
Holding a Dog’s Snout Closed
When you hold his snout closed, your dog will start to fight against your grip and bite when you let go. Similarly, avoid using a muzzle. A tactic like this is more aggressive and will affect your relationship with your dog.
Roughhousing and Alpha Rolling
Any form of roughhousing, such as rolling your puppy on his back and holding him down has serious consequences. This is called alpha rolling and is detrimental to your relationship with your pet. Your dog will think that you’re aggressive towards him and lose trust in you.
Training your dog can be frustrating, but harboring ill feelings towards your pooch only serves to make the situation worse.
Whenever you feel frustrated, cool down and seek to understand your puppy before trying again.
Yelling and Physical Punishment
It’s always best to take a breather and start again if you’re frustrated with your puppy. Avoid yelling or using physical punishment – abuse of any kind is detrimental to your dog’s well-being and affects your relationship with him.
Engage an Obedience Trainer
What happens if you’re at the end of the rope? You’ve tried every technique and nothing seems to work. In such situations, it’s best to consult a trained professional to determine if your pet’s mouthing habits are normal.
According to dog experts, Rangers dog, getting your puppy trained will help boost his confidence and improve his bond with you.
A dog training expert would be able to better advise you with regards to your pup’s behavior and to design an effective training plan. It’s important to understand the cause to rectify the problem.
All it takes is patience and the right training for your puppy to correct his behavior!