Why Do Puppies Bite?


Before training your puppy not to bite, there are a few things you need to understand.

First and foremost – all puppies bite.

There’s no way around this.

In fact, their first few minutes in the world begin with a “bite” when the mother gently tears open the birth sac with her teeth.

Blind, hungry, and confused, newborn puppies then use their ingrown biting reflexes to find the closest nipple for their very first meal.

This biting reflex only becomes more powerful with time as puppies learn to explore and communicate with the world

So before you can even begin to train your young dog not to bite, it is important to understand that mouthing, nipping, and playful biting are inherent characteristics of all canine breeds.

But why do puppies bite, and how can you stop it from happening?

Understanding why your dog bites is critical to determining how best to prevent this behavioral problem.

Although most of the reasons boil down to communication, exploration, and play, the exact prevention measures depend on the underlying causes:

  • A young teething puppy, for example, bites because it’s an inevitable part of the growing process.  Most times, your dog will grow out of this phase with little intervention.
  • A playful puppy, on the other hand, will continue to bite until you provide some gentle guidance.  It’s purely social behavior, and you must train your dog that this type of activity is inappropriate.
  • An overly aggressive “Alpha” puppy needs much stronger intervention.  Chances are, no single prevention method will work since dogs in this category suffer from behavioral problems that need a more holistic approach.  Even if you can train the biting habit out of him or her, you’ll likely continue to face other problems as your puppy tries to assert dominance.

Why Do Puppies Bite? Additional Considerations

Many puppy biting problems stem from premature separation from the pack.  Ideally, pups should stay with their mothers and siblings for 12 weeks (in the wild, young dogs typically stay with their parents for a year or more).

During this early socialization period, puppies grow out of the biting phase naturally – through continued feedback from their peers.

When separated from the pack and adopted prematurely by humans, it falls on us to do all of the training and provide all of the feedback.

  • Done incorrectly, this education process can be exhausting and ineffective.
  • Done correctly, you can transform a problem dog into an endless source of love, cuddles, and joy.

Our goal here is to make sure that you implement the proper puppy training methods.

Use the links down below to better understand why puppies bite.  You can also use this information to determine which category (or categories) your young dog falls into.  These insights will help guide you as you train your puppy dog not to bite.