beginning to see lots of new puppies, no doubt the
result of Santa granting the wishes of many children at
Christmas. Along with all the fun that raising a puppy
can bring, it is also a lot of work, and dealing with a
puppyís super-sharp baby teeth can be a struggle if
youíre not armed with information on how to deal with
completely normal for puppies to use their mouths when
playing, when exploring new things and when bored.
Nature equips puppies with those sharp teeth for
defense, but itís the chewing that aids in loosening
them so the permanent teeth can come in.
puppies are playing among their littermates and one
bites too hard, his playmate may yelp or stop playing
altogether. Over time, the puppy learns to use its mouth
more gently, to inhibit its bite, to keep play going.
This is why itís so important to allow puppies to
remain with their dam and littermates until 8 weeks of
age. Critical skills, such as learning how much pressure
is too much, are best learned from their siblings.
equally important for puppies to learn to inhibit their
bite with people; our skin is much thinner and more
fragile than a dogís. But, if you attempt to stop your
puppy from using its mouth at all, you are denying it a
basic way to play and interact with you, and you canít
give feedback about what is too hard. Set your puppy up
for success and prevent painful, albeit accidental,
bites by having a toy between you when playing. When
your puppy misses the toy and uses its teeth on you
instead, respond with "OUCH!" and withdraw
from any play and interaction ó a short timeout. This
can be accomplished by simply becoming still, quiet and
avoiding the puppy for a few seconds, or you can get up
and walk away. In either case, your puppy needs to
experience what happens when it uses too much bite
pressure ó it loses access to you and loses the
opportunity to play. Your puppy will modify its own
behavior, and use much less bite pressure, in order for
what it likes ó the play ó to continue.
is not an exaggeration by any means to spend a lot of
puppy-raising time offering your furry family member
something appropriate to chew on. When I am raising and
educating a new puppy in my household, I have well over
a dozen items on hand to offer my puppy when it needs
some chewing activity. I include a variety of textures,
some soft and plush, others hard and rubbery, some with
ports for treat placement, and I rotate the items to
keep the pupís level of interest high. By always
having something good to chew on, I can prevent the
puppy from trying to come up with its own chewing
options, like the leg of a chair or my favorite shoes.
as your puppy grows into an adolescent and finally a
mature adult dog, the need to always being chewing on
something fades. Raise your puppy correctly, with plenty
of acceptable things to chew on and few opportunities to
chew inappropriately, and as a result youíll have an
adult dog that can be trusted, even without supervision,
to leave off-limit items and furniture out of its mouth.