Puppy Biting Reason #7: Hunger

Like a baby crying, puppies sometimes bite to signal that they’re hungry.

During the first 6 or so weeks, these bites usually begin as licks.  Puppies in the wild routinely lick their parents’ faces to encourage them to regurgitate food (i.e. vomit pre-chewed food).

Fortunately, you won’t ever be expected to throw up your last meal in order for your puppy to eat.

But that doesn’t mean your puppy won’t bite you out of hunger from time to time.

How to Stop a Hungry Puppy from Biting

In most cases, the licking and biting go away on their own.  Although these forms of expression are sometimes replaced with barking or other hunger signals.

By setting regular meal times, you can slowly train your puppy dog to expect food at schedule periods throughout the day.

She can whine and bite all she wants, dinner is not until 6:00pm.

However, you should avoid giving your puppy dog any food immediately after it bites.  Doing so reinforces the link between “biting” and “instant gratification” (i.e. food).

In fact, as a general rule, you should hold back anything that could be perceived as a “reward” for several minutes after your puppy bites:

  • No playtime
  • No petting
  • No treats

Does “Free Feeding” Help Prevent Puppy Biting?

Some puppy owners leave food out all day (this is called “free feeding”).

Although most dog training experts recommend against this practice, one side benefit of free feeding is that your puppy is less inclined to bite when hungry – the food is already out whenever she’s ready to eat.

Free feeding is generally discouraged, however, for the following reasons:

  • It makes housetraining harder because eating and the need to poop happen at irregular intervals
  • Weight problems are common in free feeding.  You’re just trading one problem (biting) for another (obesity)
  • It’s harder to maintain dominance since your puppy is less dependent on you for food.  As if by magic, her meal is always there waiting for her

Of course, it’s ultimately up to you.  But in order to ensure the happiest, healthiest, and least biting-prone friend, we strongly recommend adopting a regular eating schedule.

Need Additional Puppy Biting Help?

Use the resources down below for more tips on how to stop your puppy dog from biting: