What to Do When Your Puppy Won't Stop Biting Your Legs
As cute as puppies may be, it's not so adorable when they bite and attack. If your new dog won't stop nipping at your feet, ankles, or pant legs when you walk, you're not alone. Biting is a common phase for most puppies, but it can be very frustrating for even the most experienced of dog owners. Thankfully, there are several ways to keep the bites at bay.
1. Try more playtime
One of the most common reasons puppies bite ankles is that they're bored or understimulated. Young dogs have a lot of energy while they're growing, and if their owners don't give them an outlet, they'll often find their own way to release it. For many puppies, that release comes in the form of negative behaviours like chewing, scratching, or biting.
If your puppy is biting because they're bored, the solution is simple: more playtime. Make sure you're giving him plenty of opportunities to run around and burn off energy, whether in your yard or in the great outdoors. Make sure to include interactive play too, like fetch or tug-of-war.
2. Try more rest
On the flip side, puppies can also bite more often when they're overstimulated. Playtime, exploration, and even cuddles can get a puppy overexcited. This causes them to build up excess energy, which they may release by pouncing and attacking.
Other signs of overstimulation include running around without purpose, whining for attention, and excessive barking. If you see your puppy getting worked up, it's important to intervene before they start biting.
A great way to give your puppy some rest and help them calm down is to sit them in their crate or another designated spot for a few minutes. Once your puppy's behaviour returns to normal, you can let them back out.
3. Use a taste deterrent
If your puppy is a particularly persistent biter, you may find luck with a taste deterrent. Taste deterrents are flavoured sprays that dogs dislike the taste of; getting a mouthful of one of these flavours while biting you can discourage your puppy from continuing.
Of course, you'll need to make sure you're using a safe taste deterrent. According to experts, bitter apple or spicy sprays are good options. Avoid citrus, as it can be toxic to pets.
4. Use positive reinforcement
Whenever your puppy is bored, overexcited, or in need of attention and doesn't bite your ankles (or when they stop), it's a good idea to use positive reinforcement. For example, when your puppy starts to bite your legs, try to redirect their attention. Once the biting stops, reward your dog with petting and positive words.
Giving your puppy plenty of praise and affection when they behave well will help them understand that you want to them continue that behaviour.
5. Go to puppy preschool
If all else fails, or you want to nip the biting in the bud as quickly as possible, puppy preschool is a good solution. Puppy classes are designed to teach young dogs how to interact with others, including their owners, in a positive way. Since puppy preschool staff are experienced in dog training, they can often get a handle on unwanted behaviours like biting quicker than you could.
Plus, puppy preschool is a great way to socialise your puppy with other dogs and a good opportunity for you to meet other dog owners to arrange playdates with.
Reach out to a puppy preschool provider like Findon Vet Surgery to learn more.