Puppy Biting Reason #3: Alpha Dominance

Most techniques for training puppies not to bite are fairly straightforward.  But when your puppy tries to be the “Alpha” dog, some of the more traditional bite prevention methods simply won’t work.

Your Puppy Dog Is a Domesticated Wolf

It’s strange to think that your little cuddly ball of joy is the direct descendant of one of nature’s most vicious predators.  But it’s true.

All dogs share a common ancestry with the wolf.  And despite years of domestication and breeding, many of these wild wolf tendencies remain deep within your puppy’s psyche.

One of the most powerful tendencies is “dominance” in which each puppy within the pack tries to become the “Alpha” dog.  (Funny enough, this tendency is not exclusive to canines.  We humans also have alpha tendencies.)

In order to live peacefully with your puppy – without all the biting – you must assert control and train it to understand that you hold the alpha position within the pack.

Moreover any loved ones who live with you are extensions of that alpha bloodline and should be treated with respect.


These include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Other pets
  • “Welcomed” visitors (“unwelcomed” ones are on their own)

Your puppy is part of the pack, but it holds a subordinate position within that pack.  Failure to ingrain this understanding will only lead to more frustration (and more biting) down the road.

Why Training Alpha Puppies Not to Bite Is Hard

If your puppy has a general disregard for your authority, it’s unlikely that targeted bite prevention training will yield lasting results.  You’ll have to dig deeper.Whereas playful biting, explorative nipping, and teething are all natural urges that you can easily train out of your dog, “alpha” behavior requires a lot more focus and attention.

It’s similar to a rebellious teenager who:

  • Talks back…
  • Skips school…
  • Gets poor grades…

Giving him extra homework in an attempt to raise his test scores doesn’t really address the larger issue.  This young teenager has disciplinary problems that can’t be targeted individually.  You must adopt a more holistic approach that corrects the deeper problems.

Similarly, a young puppy that…

  • Jumps on furniture…
  • Pees inside…
  • Disobeys commands…

… needs more than simple bite prevention training.  She needs obedience training that reinforces your dominance in the pack and her subordinate position.

Otherwise, you’ll never totally understand how to train your puppy not to bite.

You’re more than welcome to try some of the prevention techniques listed here.  But… if your puppy continues to ignore rules and boundaries, you should really consider interdisciplinary training methods.

Not only will this help prevent biting, but it will also correct many of the other behavioral problems your puppy continues to demonstrate.

This is why we recommend professional at-home training resources (online courses, DVDs, etc.) prepared by expert dog instructors.  For a list of these resources, click here.

Additional Puppy Biting Reasons & Prevention Tips

For more general resources on how to train a puppy not to bite, use the links down below.  These cover many of the primary reasons behind your puppy’s biting tendencies – with brief recommendations on how to stop this habit: