Dog Training

Bite Inhibition Training for Puppies (4 Tricks to Help Immediately)

What is cute at first can become a problem over time. Playful biting is normal for puppies but the older our pets get, the more their bites hurt. In this article, you will learn how to train bite inhibition in your dog.

Puppies bite inhibition
Table of contents


➡ Puppies prefer to explore everything with their teeth. This is comparable to human babies, who reach for everything and want to put it in their mouths.

Dogs do not have hands to grab, so they use their teeth

Learning from Dog Mothers

Puppies playfully test their limits when interacting with others. This is how they demonstrate their strength. They bite their mother's fur or play with their siblings.

Dog mothers teach their puppies how much force they are allowed to exert. Most of the time, this is more than our skin can withstand. Of course, puppies don't know that. That's why it's our job to show them how much force is allowed.

Before training, it is necessary to determine what the goal of bite inhibition should be:

Should the dog learn better control of their teeth and how to bitw gently? Or should biting be completely taboo for him? 

If there are smaller children in the house, the puppy should always be taught not to bite.

Playful Biting

Puppy Bite Inhibition Play
Many dog owners fear that their puppy will later become an aggressive dog and bite again and again because he likes to snap when playing. However, this is usually not the case.

Playful biting is quite natural and every puppy will try it out. Growling is not meant to be a threat, but part of the game.

Puppies bite mainly when they are playing. Then they do it for fun and because they are full of energy and want to test their strength. 

Only if dogs often bite in difficult situations and out of fear, it can become a problem.

Even if your puppy only bites playfully and this is not a sign of Weary , he must know what his limits are. 

He needs to understand he can't play or handle you as roughly as he would other dogs. 

That is why bite inhibition training is very important.

4 Tips for Bite Inhibition

1. Never Punish or Reprimand

If your puppy bites you while playing, neither punish him nor scold him. 

He won’t understand at that moment what he did wrong. Was he punished because he wagged his tail? Or because he wanted to play with you? 

He won’t get the punishment right.

He won’t understand a gentle push away either, because he is probably used to rough play with his siblings.

Pushing him away would only be a part of the game and would animate him even more. In the worst case, it will only make him more hyper and bite harder.

In no case should you hurt your dog as punishment. This will damage your relationship. And at this age especially, a strong relationship should be built between you and your dog.

2. Toys Instead of Hands

Your four-legged friends play mainly by using their teeth. If you play with your puppy only using your hands, he will also inevitably bite you.

However, it is especially difficult to completely prohibit your faithful companion from using his teeth. 

At this age, he is only just learning to control his biting. He has to learn his own strength to know how hard he can bite. If you don’t allow him to bite, he will never develop a sensitivity for it.

If your puppy now has toys to nibble and bite, he can work with his teeth without biting you.

3. interrupt play and the "Ow!" trick

Does your puppy still snap at you while playing? Then show him clearly that he is not allowed to do that. 

At that moment, give him a catchphrase like a loud "Ow!". Then turn away from him and stop engaging with him. 

You also need to say the catchphrase at the right time. This way, your little one will understand he did something wrong with the biting. After you repeat the procedure several times, he will understand that he must not bite too hard. 

After all, your puppy desperately wants to continue playing with you, and he can only do that if he stops snapping.

The important thing is that you stay consistent. Only if you also turn away every time, will he associate this with his behavior. Once he has calmed down, the play can continue. In this way, he gradually learns what he is allowed to do and what not.

4. Let him Rest

Your puppy will bite you especially when he is hyper and energetic. That's why it's important that he calms down first.

Just ignore him the next time he tries to snap. 

This shows him that it only brings him disadvantages and he is no longer the center of attention. When he is calmer again you can once again play actively with him.

If the playful biting eventually hurts too much it may become difficult to ignore him. 

Will your puppy not stop jumping up and snapping at you? hen you should leave him alone for a while. 

He is too energetic at the moment to understand his misbehavior. He will only notice if you give him a clear sign.

Important Trick 🐶

The best thing to do is leave the room. When your dog is alone, he will calm down very quickly. As long as he is still hyper, it will be difficult to teach your dog the right behavior.

If he calms down again, it will be much easier. He will probably even regret his behavior after a while.

After a few repetitions, he will associate being alone with biting and do it less often in the near future.

When you return to the room after a few minutes, he will probably be quite excited again. After all, he's happy that you're back.

That's why you should hold a toy out to him this time. He’ll play with it first and won't bite you again right away.

If he still snaps again, repeat the process. Leave the room again and wait until your dog has calmed down.

After some time, your dog will learn he is only left alone when he bites you. This will teach him to stay calm and not to be over-excited all the time.

My Conclusion

Don't worry if your puppy bites you easily while playing. 

This in no way means that he will become more aggressive and bite other people later on. It is normal for young dogs to test their limits playfully. 

Puppies don’t know that they can't deal with us in the same way as they would with other dogs. That's why it's our job as owners to teach them.

When you train bite inhibition with your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should not scold him or hurt him by punishing him.

Your puppy won’t understand what he did wrong. Additionally, this could harm your relationship.

Rather, teach him that he is only allowed to bite toys and not you. If he bites you anyway, the game is simply stopped and you leave the room. This way your puppy will calm down again.

If you do this consistently, he will get out of the habit of snapping very quickly.

Do you already have experience around this topic or still have a question? Then we look forward to hearing from you in the comments. 😃

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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  1. Hello Claudia,
    many, many thanks for this explanation. We have since 2 weeks exactly because of stress with our puppy and nowhere you get a reasonable explanation. Especially the statement that this is normal for now and does not automatically lead to an aggressive dog is incredibly reassuring.
    If the puppy has now bitten into a jacket arm, trouser leg or similar and is tugging at it. How do I get him off without hurting him? The "Ow" trick only works if I really "snap" - he doesn't care about a friendly squeak.

    1. HUNDEO editorial office

      Hello Falko, thank you very much for your contribution. Your puppy might even interpret the "friendly squeak" "cordially" as praise and motivation to continue. The voice pitch for the "Ow" trick should already come across as consistent and "dominant", whereby you should also consistently ignore it. By the way, you can reinforce the "Ow" trick with a physical gesture, such as raising your index finger. With a little patience and time he will understand after a few more attempts that he is not allowed to do that. I wish you much success with the implementation.

  2. Hi Claudia, our young dog (17 weeks) bites less when playing than when we want to stop unwanted behavior, e.g. when she keeps jumping on the couch, which she shouldn't, and we want to lift her down. Then the ignoring doesn't work. Or when she nibbles on furniture or her basket. Raised index finger and corresponding tone do not impress her at all, also no toy as an alternative. She snaps/bites and cannot be dissuaded. A spirited grip on the fur only has a short-term effect, so far not a lasting one. It is really exhausting. Do you have a tip on how we can break our four-legged friend of this? Many thanks in advance.

    1. Mine from Hundeo

      Dear Susanne, it may well be that your dog is not sufficiently exhausted, i.e. challenged with games and training sessions. Spend a lot of time with him, in which you exhaust him with (intelligence) games, training etc. and keep him busy. If this does not help, it would be advisable if you call in a competent person in your area (educator, behavior therapist).

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