Oh puppies! Thank god they're cute right? They're even cuter when you don't have to live with them. If you haven't had a puppy in a while you've probably forgot about some of their antics. Common puppy behaviors include but are not limited to play biting, jumping, eliminating in the house, chewing things it shouldn't, jumping... and the list goes on.
Play biting typically is the most annoying. Why is that? Because it hurts! But why do puppies do it? They do it because it is actually a very important part of their development. This is how they learn "bite inhibition." Bite inhibition is knowing how much pressure they are applying when they use their mouths. It is also how they play. This is how they would play with their little mates or other dogs they come across. This means that they are just trying to play with you! So how do we start to curb this behavior? And how much of it do we really want to curb?
One of the first things I recommend doing is getting a good Tug Toy to play with. This will give your pup an appropriate outlet for the biting. No only is it an outlet, it is a fun outlet because the human plays along. If your pup is getting a little ornery don't be afraid to grab the tug toy and show him what to do instead.
Another option is doing some mentally draining training. Doing a 10 minute training session is equivalent to doing a 30 minute walk for most dogs. What does this consist of? You can teach your dog different skills it doesn't already know. Some examples are sits, downs, leave it, drop it, go to a place, stay, wait at the door until released to go outside, wait in the car until released to get out of it. You can also teach your dog tricks like retrieving something or shaking your hand. Doing this will tire your dog out, and also give them something productive to do. Both of which aren't play biting you.
It isn't a bad idea to introduce "negative" consequences to your pup when it does something wrong too. But do these negative consequences have to hurt or scare the pup? Nope! They do not. I also highly recommend not using any methods that do hurt or scare your pup. By doing so you can open up another can of worms in the long run that you really wont want to have to deal with. So how do we introduce a negative consequence? Firstly, timing is EXTREMELY important. As soon as your pup puts a tooth on your skin he needs to be removed from you. Dogs are very social creatures and being removed from the thing they want to be around can be extremely effective if done correctly. If your pup puts a tooth on you, tell them "too bad" and put them away for a short time out. (1-2 minutes should be sufficient. Once the timer has beeped let your pup out and let them try again. You can do some of the things I mentioned above to set him up for success, (which I recommend) or you could allow him to make his own decision again. If he makes the wrong decision, repeat the "too bad" process. Be very consistent with this. If you stay on top of it very quickly your pup will see that play biting you equals nothing that benefits him. He will then see that doing some of the other things really benefits him and he will be more likely to do those things.
A process like this can actually be very beneficial in showing your dog that what you say goes. (Not that I'm on a power trip) but it is important that they do as we ask because if they do not we will have an out of control pup.
Another option is to do some long sit and down/ stays. Sit down on the floor with your pup. Ask them to get into a position and reward them for staying in said position. Reward often in the beginning and as you go start to spread those rewards out. (another great form of mental stimulation.)
Finally, check out these videos below to see some of the methods in action!
Check out my youtube channel for more videos! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFE9vxI1W0bxh0aPu8Ms7Ww
Two Videos below courtesy of Michael's Dogs in Houston, TX