If you are like any other puppy parent, you’re probably still experiencing puppy biting and chewing. You might feel like it’s getting better and the next thing you know, you’ve been a victim of those sharp, needle-like teeth on your skin, again. You might find yourself getting frustrated because you have yet another shirt with a hole in it or something else that has been chewed. When will the madness end? You’re at your wits end and you’re not sure how much more you can take.
We can’t wish the biting and chewing away or skip over this phase- no matter how badly we want to. This phase of puppyhood can last 6 months, 7 months,… or longer. The good news is it will get better as time goes on and you will see more or a reduction in the amount of biting and chewing and the intensity.
I want to share some information with you which can help shed some light on what’s going on with your puppy.
- Puppies have 28 baby teeth
- These sharp, needle-like teeth are called “milk teeth”
- Baby teeth start to fall out around 16 weeks
- The Canine Teeth will fall out later- around 5/6 months
- Puppies develop a total of 48 teeth
That’s a lot going on inside your puppy’s mouth, and it’s painful. Did you know humans have a total of 32 teeth? Your puppy is growing 16 more teeth than you have in your mouth. This was a painful experience for you as a baby. You don’t remember the pain of teething, but your family sure does. On top of that, puppies have a natural desire to chew.
We previously spoke a about some biting and chew strategies in another post that you can refer to as a refresher.
There’s no way you are getting out of this phase of puppyhood unscathed, but I have some key times to share when your puppy is at their bitey-est. Knowing when and why your puppy might seem like more of a demon during the day can help you prepare and feel less frustrated when you are up to your neck in puppy biting and chewing (and covered in marks).
Top 4 reasons puppies bite:
- When they are hungry
- When they are tired
- When they are overstimulated
- When they are frustrated
If your puppy is biting more than usual, ask yourself:
- When was the last time she ate, is it close to mealtime?
- When was the last time she slept?
It’s possible your puppy is hungry, and they are trying to express themselves. If your puppy has eaten and it’s not close to mealtime, your puppy could be tired. Puppies need about 18 hours of sleep a day. If your puppy is biting, it’s possible they need a nap. Puppies get cranky just like babies and toddlers.
If your puppy’s belly is satisfied and she has had adequate sleep, then look at what is going on in that moment:
- Did she play a lot? Run around a lot? Was she interacting with a lot of people or other dogs?
- Were you practicing training skills? Was your puppy trying to gain access to something they wanted and couldn’t have/get to (hello, self-control- puppies don’t have any!)
Being overstimulated, over aroused, or frustrated will cause your puppy to bite even more. Your puppy has little or no self-control. Much like a toddler who is overstimulated on Christmas Day, their birthday, or other big event or when they are frustrated, we see “tantrums”, only our puppy will use their teeth instead of kicking and screaming and stomping their feet. A frustrated puppy or overstimulated puppy typically needs a nap.
Instead of asking “how can I get my puppy to stop biting me”?, ask yourself “What is going on that is causing my puppy to bit a lot at this moment”? Knowing why your puppy is biting isn’t going to make it hurt less but can help you to understand what your puppy is experiencing and how you can help your puppy in that moment.
Your puppy isn’t giving you a hard time- your puppy is having a hard time. Now you know how you can help them and ease your frustration at the same time.
Frustrated? Aggravated? At the end of your rope? Yes, please help me combat puppy biting, chewing, and other puppy predicaments.