Adding a new puppy to your family is a joyous experience, but it does not come without challenges. Training a puppy can be difficult, but the earlier you start, the easier it is for your new four legged friend to learn. One of the issues you will want to nip in the bud as soon as possible is puppy teething. Teething is a perfectly normal phase for puppies, and if done properly is the perfect time to train and regulate their biting. There are some tried and true methods you should use when your puppy has begun biting frequently.
Why Do Puppies Bite?
There are a few reasons puppies are so prone to biting and chewing things. Even before a puppy leaves the litter, they learn through biting. They receive feedback from their mothers and the other puppies in their litter. If they bite too hard they won’t eat or if they play too rough they may be shunned by the other dogs. While they will learn a lot about their own biting simply by socializing, it is important to continue bite training throughout a dog’s life.
A Puppy Teething Timeline
The American Kennel Club outlines a general timeline for puppy teething:
- Two to Four Weeks – The puppy will still be nursing, and their baby teeth will start coming in.
- Five to Six Weeks – The puppy’s baby teeth should have come in. They can begin eating moist, soft puppy food.
- Twelve to Sixteen Weeks – The puppy’s baby teeth start to shed and their permanent teeth start to emerge. This can be a painful process, so it’s important to offer chew toys and get regular check-ups.
- Six Months and Older – All of the puppy’s adult teeth should have grown in. Make sure to keep your dog’s teeth healthy to avoid dental issues down the line.
Puppy Teething Training Methods
There are lots of proven methods to help correct a puppy’s biting behavior. Some of the most general training rules for puppies include the following:
- Puppy socialization – In order to teach your dog proper behavior when it comes to biting, making sure they interact with a variety of other animals and people is very important.
- Encourage good behavior and always discourage unacceptable behavior.
- Use positive reinforcement – If you use negative reinforcement methods such as yelling or punishments, your puppy may become afraid of you. This can actually lead to worse behavior and does not work to stop puppies from biting.
- Be consistent – If you have a chosen strategy to train your puppy you must enforce that strategy every time the puppy nips or bites.