Does your dog play bite?

Puppies that are not trained early are at risk of continuing play biting through to adulthood.

OVERVIEW

Dogs use their mouth to investigate and sometimes they chew, mouth or bite on people.

Puppies are naturally excitable and energetic and as they tend to use their mouth to explore, it is not unusual for them to play with their mouth. It is important that you define appropriate play from the puppy stage. As soon as play becomes too rough, it is important to walk away to avoid reinforcing the inappropriate behaviour. Puppies that are not trained early are at risk of continuing this bad behaviour through to adulthood.

SIGNS

To ensure that the play biting is not a form of aggression, check that the dog's body language is that of a playful stance i.e. relaxed body and face. If you suspect aggression, seek veterinary attention immediately.

MANAGEMENT

Tips to help manage and prevent play biting:

  • Avoid rough play
  • As soon as your puppy bites, say 'no' or mimic a 'yelp', stop play
  • Play biting = NO RESPONSE for at least a few seconds. If this timeframe does not help, try walking out of the room.
  • Always have plenty of chew toys around and new ones
  • Consider playing such as tug-of-war rather than wrestling
  • Early socialising as puppies will learn that play biting can be painful to playmates or themselves
  • Adequate exercise to release any excess energy
  • Never punish rough play

If the puppy persists in biting as you walk away, separate the puppy for a short period (no longer than 5 minutes).