Today’s question, submitted via Twitter

Jim – my new puppy bites my hand hard! I think she’s just playing, but it hurts. How do I get her to stop? She is 4 months old.


My Answer:

The first thing you can do is to start socializing your puppy. If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible, many puppies can learn to develop the  social skills they need to lead positive social lives interacting with other puppies and dogs.

To address the biting problem immediately, follow these tips:

  • First, simply freeze (no feedback to reinforce the biting) and in fact turn away to discourage biting.
  • The next level (with some aggressive pups) you would make a quick move towards the pup in the form of a lung as she snarls and growls – very fast and abrupt.
  • If all else is failing, use a distracting ploy. Toss a chew bone or Kong toy in front of the lunging puppy as a distraction.
  • Use Bitter Apple (a topical spray) from your local pet store. The taste should discourage biting. Apply to back of hands to prevent biting and spray on jeans or shoes if puppy is biting pant legs or shoes. You may also have to combine Bitter Apple with some of the above techniques.

Need help NOW? Check out my online puppy training course. You’ll think I’ve moved in with you!

The bottom line is that you can avoid aggression and injury with these non-physical recommendations. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell 2011