How to stop a puppy from biting your hand too hard is one of those problems that crop up over and over again on these pages.

We've recently recommended the FANTASTIC 'Cure Puppy Biting' book which helps owners solve this perennial canine behaviour issue inside the space of a dinner break. But we thought we'd do a more indepth article on the topic.

Animals play much rougher than people do, but this isn't a problem when they're playing among themselves. They have thick fur that protects them from each other's teeth. People, with their soft skin and hairless bodies, are much more vulnerable. Adult dogs understand this, but puppies don't. In fact, when they get really caught up in a game, they can get carried away and forget who they're playing with.

Dogs from 6 months to 2 years old do the most biting. Like human teens, they have more energy and strength than judgment. Plus, they're constantly testing boundaries. Even when they know they're not supposed to bite, they'll try just to see what happens. Dogs usually bite when everyone is running around and getting worked up. The faster and more furious the game, the more stimulated dogs get.

At that point, they're prepared to match playful aggression with more aggression. And once they're caught up in the camaraderie and competition, they may forget all their good manners and do rude things, including jumping on people, knocking over lamps, and biting.

Some lessons need to be taught at home. For dogs, one of the most important lessons they'll ever learn is that biting is bad manners. Mom dogs and other puppies in the litter have a very effective way of discouraging bites. They bite back, giving a little extra oomph for emphasis. It doesn't take dogs long to learn that biting invariably invites stronger bites in return.

By the time they're 8 weeks old, most pups have learned that biting their elders and playmates is a bad idea, even when they're playing. And most of them carry this knowledge into their human families.

However, if a puppy is taken away from his siblings and his mother too early – especially before 6 weeks of age – he won't have learned the proper etiquette about biting. At this point, it's up to his human "littermates" to teach the lessons that the poor pup didn't get earlier.

It's not always easy to do, mainly because of instinct: Puppies have an instinct to bite, and people have an instinct to swat the offending muzzle. This teaches dogs two things. They find that they can stop someone from swatting them by biting their hands and holding them. Second, they may decide that any hands coming toward them are fair game for biting.

How to Stop a Puppy From Biting – An Alternative View

Lena Carlson of How to be an Alpha Dog writes

If you have just bought your new puppy home and are reading this article, then you should congratulate yourself. Many owners of a new puppy do not do anything about their puppyÕs biting habit until they are almost fully grown adult dogs. It is easy to understand this behaviour, the puppy is very cute and almost comical in the way that it tries to bite at your toes, but unfortunately as your pup grows up, the bites will be harder and may even lead to aggression. Therefore it is essential that you let your puppy know that biting is not okay, no matter how cute they may be!

Puppies will learn so much about life and etiquette in their first 8 weeks of life, and one such lesson will be focused on biting. The little puppy that bites his brother will get just as big a bite back and they will quickly come to learn that the biting hurts.

To ensure that your puppy fully benefits from these lessons ensure they remain with their mum and litter until they are at least 8 weeks of age.

When you get your puppy home, you will need to develop your plan for biting, teach everyone in your home what to do if the puppy bites in any circumstance, especially if the bite occurs while you are playing. The first thing is to ensure you do not shout or hit your puppy, as you will confuse them. Instead, let your puppy know that you are hurt; the most effective way to do this is by a quick yelp and then follow this with a soft whimpering. While you are doing this, give the puppy one of his toys and withdraw from the game or interaction for a little while.

Because you are copying how a puppy would react if he or she were bitten while in their litter, your puppy is more likely to understand that they have hurt you. They also will associate the bite with the end of play together time, which will add to his or her lesson.

When your puppy starts chewing or biting the toy that you have given them, encourage and praise him or her to let them know that they are doing a good job.

Finally, it is best to avoid games, which can promote biting or aggression such as chase, tug-of-war and wrestling. Substitute these with games of fetch and extra walks.

Puppy Training

Whether or not your puppy bites, it is best to enrol him or her into obedience school. These are a great way to teach your puppy basic commands in addition to them learning valuable socialisation skills. If your puppy does bite, ask for a special class that focuses on this behaviour.

Keep up the training at home and reinforce the commands that your dog has learnt. Be strong and do not go soft on the puppy by letting him or her get away with nipping at you or your family. It is easy to let the puppy off because you know they didnÕt mean it, but if you do, you will be confusing them and quite possibly making the problem harder to get rid of later on.

Go to: for more tips on how to solve puppy biting problems.

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