Young puppies have sharp teeth.  Young puppies put their mouth on everything.  This is a bad combination for puppy owners with skin.  In fact, a puppy will often enjoy the reaction of people who have met the puppy’s sharp teeth.  Often the recently bitten will cry out in pain and jump around.  Wow!  What fun for a puppy.  Sometimes, in an effort to punish the young dog for nipping, hands reach for the puppy’s face or mouth.  Hands near a puppy’s face, or even better moving hands, are terrific targets for repeating the bites.  Other people, tired of being a pin cushion, will run to safety.  Another win for your baby shark, who will gleefully nip the legs and feet of the retreating victim. 

How is one to survive this tiny terror?  A few tricks can make raising the puppy bearable.  To start, be a bad dog toy.  Good dog toys make noise and move.  Try to minimize your quick and erratic movements around the puppy.  Try not to reward the puppy’s biting with your noisy, rapid reaction to his shark behavior.  Second, have several longs toys available.  The long toy should reach from your hand to the floor.  When you walk around, tempting the puppy with your moving feet, drag the long toy.  When puppy shows interest in your legs and feet, stand still and wiggle the long toy. 

If you have very young children, they will need your help.  Your puppy runs much faster than your two year old toddler.  Have the puppy on leash, so when your young human baby needs to escape, he can run away from your young canine baby.  The puppy is punished for nipping to hard when the fun ends, and the toy (your child) runs away.  Without the leash, puppy can continue to chase, catch, and bite your child. 

Many puppies will grow out of mouthing everything they see.  Most puppies (and their human victims!) need a little help growing out of the mouthing stage.  Some never grow out of it, and if not trained properly, will continue to nip into adulthood. 

Sometimes puppies, like many young children, become most excited and out of control when they are tired.  The world is so new and exciting, they don’t want to miss anything.  Many dog trainers call this the “zoomies”.  The tired puppy runs and plays hard.  If you notice this behavior in your puppy, put him in his crate.  He might fall asleep. 

Carefully teach your puppy to keep his teeth to himself.  Gather the dog, and some really yummy dog treats.  I like to use chicken or turkey (boneless and skinless, of course).  Chicken and turkey are low in calories and fat, and dogs really like it.  Reach your hand toward your puppy.  Don’t touch, not yet.  If puppy bites your hand, slowly withdraw your hand.  If puppy does not bite, give him a small treat, and then withdraw your hand.  If puppy bit, and did not receive a treat, try again, but stop moving your hand when it is farther away from puppy.  When you find a distance that will allow puppy to keep his teeth to himself, give him a treat.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  After puppy has been successful, reach a fraction of an inch closer.  Reward your puppy each time he is successful.  Practice every day, until your puppy keeps his teeth away from your skin.  Puppies who have the opportunity to play with other friendly puppies and dogs often learn this lesson more quickly.

If you have difficulties with this lesson, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer can assist you.

Happy Training,


Tricia Fagan

Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed

DogS Gone Good

trainer @ (remove the spaces to send an email)

(713) 557-1949