Did you recently add a new puppy to your life that won’t keep your hands and feet out of its mouth? Professional dog trainers often refer to high-energy puppies that have a constant need to put something in their mouths as ‘sharky’ or ‘mouthy’, which are really common in the dog world!
Countless new pet owners flock to the Internet with the same questions, so you aren’t alone.
How to Stop a Puppy From Biting Your Feet and Hands (8 Tips)
It can be frustrating and even overwhelming at times when a puppy is constantly at 100% crazy energy.
We have compiled a list of helpful tips for use during training an excitable puppy with mouthy traits. We hope you find this article useful on your training journey!
1. Patience is a Virtue
Treat your pup like you would a toddler hyped up on sugar (because that is what they are!)
Patience is a virtue during your training process, remember that puppies aren’t very knowledgeable on how to please you yet, but with the right mindset and dedication your new best friend will do just about anything to make you happy.
Try not to expect perfection from your puppy immediately, training is a learning process for you both so use this time to bond and learn from your pup.
When you are playing with your pup and they begin to exhibit unwanted behavior (i.e biting hands and feet, chewing on furniture, etc.) by giving them something appropriate, like their favorite toy, or distracting with appropriate play.
Here are a few more simple redirection methods that are extremely easy for owners to refer to. The first thing to do when a puppy bites something they aren’t allowed to bite, make a loud startling noise. This could be a firm ‘no’ or anything else that can quickly get your pup’s attention.
After the noise, give them an appropriate item they could chew on. Repeat this action every single time your puppy exhibits improper behavior.
Knowing what motivates your dog is a necessary component of training. If your puppy is highly food motivated, incorporate their favorite treats into your training routine.
Consistently reward good behavior with heaps of treats and praise, and your puppy will reward you with the behavior that pleases you the most! Even simple practices like fun playtime with your puppy can be used as an incentive!
If your pup knows that pleasing you with good behavior ends in awesome treats and an abundance of praise, they will be even more motivated to continue these good behaviors.
Investing in a crate is a really great way to get your puppy to stop biting at your hands and feet. Putting them in their crate for brief 15-minute time-outs when they display unwanted behavior allows them to realize that what they did was wrong and it results in punishment.
Never physically punish your puppy, as this can lead to them developing aggressive behavior and severe behavioral issues.
Punishment should never harm your puppy, you can simply speak to them in a deeper, more frustrated tone and they will get the point. Remember, canines are intelligent!
Enrichment is an extremely easy way to distract your pup from biting on things they shouldn’t. Hiding their favorite treats around the house in various hiding spots, spraying dog-safe smell goods around the house, and letting them exercise their brain encourages positive behavior.
Not to mention, it distracts them for a good bit so you will have the chance to take a little break, we know you need it. Remember, try to have fun when teaching your pup, they will appreciate it!
There are a variety of different mental enrichment toys you can purchase. Treat mats and puzzles are widely available at differing price points and are recommended by trainers and veterinarians worldwide!
Mental stimulation and exercise are important for your puppy’s overall health and happiness, and promotes higher intelligence!
6. Puppies Teethe, Too!
That’s right! Puppies teethe just like babies do, as they also go through a process of losing their baby teeth and growing their adult ones. Your puppy may be biting or chewing on your hands and feet because their gums are sore.
Lucky for you, there are endless options when it comes to soothing a teething pup’s gums. You can easily find a recipe for puppy-safe yogurt bars on the Internet that you can pop in the freezer and let your pup chew and lick on when they are exhibiting those unwanted behaviors.
You can also look up puppy teething toys at a variety of pet supply websites and find multiple products at a wide range of different price points.
7. Professional Help
If your puppy seems to not be slowing down or if you have a hard time getting your pup to focus on you and retain information, a professional trainer may be a good option.
Widely available at varying price points, a trainer can teach not only your puppy but you as well in helpful practices and descriptive training investments. A recommended professional is worth the investment, not only for your dog but for you too!
8. Learn Your Puppy’s Body Language
Learning your puppy’s clues and body language is extremely important. If you notice your pet exhibit a specific behavior before doing something that is against the rules, by learning these signs it will be a lot easier to stop that behavior before it even happens.
Here are a few examples of dog body language to keep an eye out for:
- Ears perked or forward, wagging tail = Happy
- Ears folded against the head, straight or down the trail, panting = Anxious
- Standing hair on the neck, bared teeth, growling = Angry
If your puppy is exhibiting signs of anxiousness and high stress more often than not, it’s worth it to make a trip to their primary veterinarian to check for any underlying causes!
In this article, we detailed a wide range of helpful tips to help you stop your puppy from biting your hands and feet.
We hope you enjoyed reading, and hopefully incorporate these practices into your training schedule.
If you are more of a visual learner, YouTube is a great source that has a variety of detailed training videos posted by professional dog trainers for free.