Guest Blog by Verina, Dog Trainer and Canine Myotherapy (CMT) Practitioner from Zeminal
Getting your puppy to stop nipping seems easier said than done.
Nipping is perfectly normal behaviour for puppies and a crucial part of their development.
Why do puppies nip?
Nipping is how puppies explore the world around them and how they learn to interact with others. Naturally, this is something that they'd do when playing with their siblings.
In this instance, their sibling's negative reaction to nipping is what will encourage them to stop doing it over time.
They often let out a squeal to signal they are hurt - and stop playing with their nipping sibling. This is negative reinforcement for the puppy who will eventually learn that nipping leads to bad things.
So, how can you get them to stop?
The best way to do this is to make like another puppy when they nip you, and squeal! Make it clear you’re in pain and ignore them for a few seconds. Yes, I know it's hard to ignore your sweet little puppy, but remember that it's for their own good.
Eventually they'll figure out that nipping is not the way to interact with others, and quickly stop doing it.
When it’s OK to nip
That said, you mustn't discourage them from using their teeth altogether. While they're in the nipping stage, make sure that you have a chew toy on hand and give them positive reinforcement when they’re nipping on that.
Eventually they'll learn that nipping on the chew toy is ok, but human skin is not!
When you start this process, I find that within a week or two, the problem will be fixed and they’ll stop nipping you for good.