Ugggghhhhh. How do I cope with my puppy’s biting phase?
There are a few techniques I recommend when the puppy bites “too hard”. I use all of them at different times. A video demonstration of the first two techniques is below the descriptions.
Give a gentle “buzzer” sound or “ouch!” and quickly stand up and turn away from the puppy with no eye contact. After about 5 seconds, begin playing again. If the puppy bites too hard again, great! Disengage again – repetition is great for learning!
Similar to the first technique but sometimes easier. Give a gentle “buzzer” sound or “ouch!” and quickly disengage from play for two seconds by turning your back and eyes from the puppy. Turn back around and put a toy in the puppy’s face and encourage to mouth the toy instead of you.
Engage with the puppy in a different way – hand targeting, self-control exercises, sit, down, stay.
* It can be difficult to define what “too hard” means. If you are inconsistent with that threshold, the puppy doesn’t really learn what amount of pressure is “too hard”. If you make the threshold “any teeth on skin” then you’re going to spend a lot of time turning around and potentially miss out on teaching some useful bite inhibition towards people.
These techniques aren’t one size fits all and none are perfect. None will stop the biting outright. Properly implemented, they will simply make it easier for you to cope with this very necessary puppy phase. Try them for at least three days. Practice is not only important for the puppy, but it’s important for you.