VERO BEACH â€” It must be puppy season again. Iâ€™ve been getting calls and messages asking how to deal with puppy nipping and mouthing.
While this oral behavior is normal, it is also painful.
I donâ€™t think you can eliminate this behavior completely in puppies under 5 months old, but you can minimize it.
One of the first things to consider is whether or not the pup is getting enough rest.
Puppies benefit from 16 to 18 hours of sleep a day. Just like a 2-year-old child, when puppies are tired, they get cranky. Try to provide your pup with a regular routine of crate naps.
Be cautious of too much stimulation, it can lead to episodes of frantic and often bitey activity.
My second defense against puppy nipping is redirecting the pup away from my body parts and on to a toy or a chew. Itâ€™s OK for puppies to chew, just not on people!
You might have to try a variety of toys until you find one that holds your puppyâ€™s interest.
I like long skinny toys you can drape around your neck and produce the instant your pup starts to get nippy. Droop it down and tease the pup into biting the toy, not you.
You can also try diverting the pup to a chew of some type. Nylabones and Bully Sticks are just twoÂ of the thousands of chew-type items available for dogs.
Try a variety of items until you find some that your puppy likes.
I like to load Kong toys and give them to puppies in their crate or pen. It helps them lie down and feel calm and soothed.
Be sure to have chews and toys near you and your pup. You canâ€™t redirect if the items arenâ€™t close by.
If your pup is so excited/aroused he canâ€™t calm down, sometimes a break in his crate will help. Donâ€™t be angry. Gently place your pup in his crate. You can give him a chew or biscuit. Itâ€™s surprising how of the puppy will fall asleep after a minute or twoÂ of protest.
Of course, it is important to engage your puppy in play using toys, not hands.
When I have puppies in my home, I carry toys and chews in my pockets at all times. I invite the pups to play with toys and make my hands and skin unavailable.
By monitoring our interactions and limiting over-stimulation, you can successfully mitigate puppy biting.
New pet dog manners classes begin July 11 in Vero Beach and July 12 in Sebastian. Private training by appointment.
Cissy Sumner of Best Behavior Pet Training is Veroâ€™s first Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed and Certified Behavior Counselor Canine-Knowledge. If you have a training or behavior question, email Cissy at email@example.com call 772-978-7863 or visit www.bestbehaviorpettraining.com for information.
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