Top Tips on Play Biting and Mouthing

Puppy Play Biting

So Puppy is settling in well, the visitors are keen to come meet your new bundle of fur and you've romanticised about this moment for weeks, possibly months, but the reality is every time you go to walk somewhere, or if the children move quickly, your cute bundle of fur keeps making a bee line for your ankles or trousers, does this sound familiar? Bear with and I'll reveal more… As much as these first few weeks are fun, but at the same time fearful, you need to remember how important these first few weeks are, shaping your puppy is all your responsibility, so you need ensure you’re fully aware on your puppy's development. I say this as it’s part of the puppy's development, as biting is during play, it’s normal and it’s how puppies explore the world around them.

Understanding how Puppy is thinking is also key. Have you thought why he's biting everything in sight? Well I can tell you he's biting to simply invite us to play. In his world, before he met you and your family, this would be how Puppy would invite play with their litter mates, so at the moment, your puppy is just thinking you don’t understand that yet!

Puppy Play Biting & Mouthing

But you do need to take action to guide him positively to more suitable ways to initiate play and what to bite, as Puppys' teeth are like needles - they’re sharp and when they bite it hurts! But as I said earlier, being as it’s part of the development helping Puppy know what is ok to bite and what is not, it's down to your positive guidance. I need to point out that I have said it’s ‘normal’ as it helps puppies to identify and discover what’s alive and what’s not in his world.

So here are some top tips on how you can discourage the behaviour:

  • Your puppy needs to know that biting hurts you, so every time he mouths your hand or clothes, just yelp or give a big ‘ouch’, then turn away as though to nurse your ‘wounds’.
  • Ignore your puppy for about 20 seconds, then continue in positive play and interacting, repeating the ‘ouch’ as soon as you feel their teeth.
  • Biting will not stop immediately, but as I’ve stated before, your puppy will learn through consistency and from you remaining calm and confident about your own ability to guide puppy into what is a more desirable behaviour.


Do not play rough and tumble games with your puppy, or any game where puppy grabs your clothes, skin or hair… you will only be giving your puppy permission to bite people and will set back your other efforts.

When remaining consistent with your positive guidance to puppy and with your naturally nurturing puppy their behaviour will develop into the desirable manner you want then, remember you are shaping your dog to be a healthy happy dog by implementing your positive plan.

Blog category: 

I'd love to hear from you, why not get in touch?

Contact me