Ouch! Puppy Biting & Nipping
A woman in a pet supply store is remarking about her 12 week old Labrador retriever puppy.
He’s aggressive. He won’t stop biting everybody all the time. "We’ve done everything to stop it. I
don’t know what to do and my husband even taught the children to flick the puppy on the nose
to stop getting bit," she adds. Frustrated and ready to re-home the puppy she storms off. Puppy bitting
and nipping is one of the most common complaints among puppy owners.
From the moment puppies are born, their mouths are their most essential body part. Even before their eyes and ears open, their mouth‘s are responsible for finding essential life-giving milk. As they develop, their mouth becomes a means of communicating and playing with litter mates. Once puppies become more mobile they start playing with each other and again their mouths are the central component. Chewing and suckling on limbs, ears and faces is how puppies interact with one another. If the mother dog is with the litter, she will monitor play and is the first defense in teaching bite inhibition. Secondarily, litter mates help teach each other know what is okay and when intensity of biting is just too much. So after spending weeks with other puppies, delighting in the recreation of chewing and tugging on each other, puppies find their way into human homes.