How to stop a puppy from nipping at your legs. This works.
Biting and nipping are normal puppy behavior as it is how they explore. Puppies want to familiarize themselves with their surroundings and use their mouths. This is why your puppy is nipping at your legs and sometimes hands.
You may also notice nipping when puppies are playing with each other—getting your puppy to stop nipping at an object and your legs. Take a few steps to stop nipping at an object and your legs. We all know that dogs fetch for themselves in the wild to survive.
However, when we adopt puppies, they will not have to hunt to eat since you provide that. Domestication has limited dogs, and we now live together despite our massive differences. This does not mean puppies do not have these animal indicts that motivate them to hunt. Nipping and biting can also be a way for your puppy to express his instincts.
Movement is most likely to motivate your puppy to nip. When moving your legs, your puppy will be tempted to join in, thinking that you want to play. Even though young puppies may not hurt you by nipping, it might become a dangerous behavior later in their life. This brings about the need to curb this behavior.
We want to control the undesirable behaviors of our pets for us to live together and in harmony. Therefore, in this article, you will unfold some of the most effective methods you can use to stop a puppy from nipping at your legs.
The ways to stop a puppy from nipping
One of the most incredible things about puppies is that you can always teach them out of the habit. As easy as this might sound, it is quite some task, but it comes with excellent results. It might take some time to teach your dog, but once you get there, you will not have any more problems with him.
You will need to teach your puppy alternative behaviors to nip at your legs. And to do that, you will need to understand your puppy.
Often, puppies want to be applauded for their excellent behavior. It encourages your puppy to keep up the good behavior. Therefore, using rewards will catalyze the training process. Once your puppy develops the habit of nipping at your legs, he will need to replace it with something once you start the curbing nipping kick-off.
Therefore, you must provide an alternative positive behavior for him. Below are eight ways in which you can be able to stop a puppy from nipping;
Once your puppy nips at your leg, you should consider a standstill. This is because movement, as said before, is quite a motivator for nipping and biting. Once you move, your puppy may feel the need to nip at it from the hunting instincts, just like in the wild.
Nipping on a still object is not as enticing as chasing a moving one for your puppy. Once you stand still, your puppy will get bored and eventually let go. Usually, once you pull away from him, you are only stimulating him to keep nipping.
Provide alternative behavior
As said earlier, you must provide alternative behavior to nipping at your legs. There are several ways of doing this, including rewarding. Distract your puppy by offering him an alternative activity to carry out. For instance, you can do the following;
- Teach your puppy to sit down – Puppies are quite obedient pets, especially if they have already been trained. It is difficult for your puppy to engage in undesirable behavior when he is busy doing something else. In addition, puppies feel good when they please their masters. Use this to your advantage.
- Maintain eye contact – Once your puppy starts nipping at your legs, stop and make him look at you. This method works best when reinforced by dog treats. Once he looks at you, bring joy to his eye level. Usually, smaller dogs tend to nip at legs and ankles more than larger dogs. Well, as we all know, your puppy’s attention will be on the treat rather than on biting.
- Make your dog walk by your side.
Puppies that will nip at their legs usually walk behind their owners. Well, most dogs do that. Smaller dogs may get enticed to bite at your legs, especially since your legs are at his eye level. For this reason, making your pup walk by your side will minimize the chances of him nipping at your legs. As said earlier, if he nips at your legs, standstill. You can train your dog at home and without a leash until he stops biting.
Once again, good behavior in dogs is quickly reinforced by a treat. So make sure you carry a bite-size pleasure and reward him whenever he gets it right.
- Encourage non-touch play
. This may lead to your puppy nipping at your legs during playtime. Therefore, you will need to come up with a way to inhibit this kind of behavior. Non-touch play is recommended if you notice your puppy nipping at your ankles.
At other times, your puppy may nip to initiate play. Remember that the goal here is not to stop your puppy from mouthing completely. This is because mouthing is healthy for your dog’s jaws. However, he must stop nipping at your legs so that he does not grow with the behavior.
You can encourage play without your puppy having to touch you or even nip. Encourage non-touch play sessions like tug-of-war to meet your puppy’s needs. He will enjoy play and also get to mouth or nip at something.
Toys to redirect his attention
Toys are pretty effective when it comes to redirecting a puppy’s attention. You will ensure that the toys are interesting enough to grab his attention. Several types of toys could work to your advantage. A great example is a food puzzle toy that is sophisticated enough but also quite interesting for your puppy.
You can also get an ankle-to-tug toy if your puppy won’t stop nipping at your legs. Once he grabs your legs or ankles, stop and present the toy to your puppy. This will automatically take his attention to the toy and thus leave his leg alone.
My puppy will not stop nipping when I leave the house. Could this be aggressive behavior?
This is a common and disturbing question among new puppy owners. Nipping and biting do not always indicate aggression in puppies, as it is normal behavior. However, we cannot wholly brush off the possibility of charge in a nipping puppy. Usually, this type of nipping will be painful, and you can tell your pup is upset. Before we proceed, let us look at some signs of aggressive nipping in puppies.
How do I tell if my pup is throwing a tantrum?
There are so many factors that you may need to look at if you are wondering whether your puppy is being aggressive. Usually, your puppy will nip at your legs playfully and without aggression. His face will be relaxed as he is doing something he loves. However, you should be careful if he is growling and snarling. This could lead to future aggression.
Some breeds are more aggressive than others. For instance, if you have a Labrador, you may experience a bit of aggression at some point in life. Therefore, you may need to pay attention to him to understand his nipping.
The following signs and symptoms may accompany aggressive nipping;
- Painful nipping and biting whenever provoked. This might be as simple as petting or touching him when he does not want to be touched. This will trigger frustration, and your puppy may bite or nip at your legs or hands.
- pulling back his lips to expose his teeth. Well, there is a thin line between playful nipping and actual aggression. When your pup is aggressive, he may nip at you with his teeth exposed, followed by angry snarling and growling. His face will not be as relaxed as during playful mouthing.
- He nips at you hard. When your puppy is trying to play with you by nipping at your leg, it is usually harmless, and he does not want to hurt you. However, when he is exhibiting aggression, he will usually bite at you hard
Why is my puppy this aggressive?
Once you recognize that your puppy is exhibiting aggressiveness, you must address it as soon as possible. However, to do this, you must understand your puppy well to tell what is causing the aggression.
In most cases, dogs are aggressive when they are afraid or frustrated. For instance, you may touch your pup in a way he does not appreciate. This could lead to aggression and thus nipping at you. Additionally, a puppy may bite hard when feeling threatened and has to defend himself. It is, therefore, essential to understanding what is causing the aggression to treat it.
Furthermore, over-exciting play can also promote nipping hard. It is therefore recommended that you encourage gentle play and, in some cases, refrain from touching him.
Avoid situations that expose your puppy to the possibility of nipping. In addition to this, spend as much time as you can to understand him. This way, you will not have trouble ruling out the situations resulting in puppies’ aggression.
What should I do if my puppy is nipping at my legs aggressively?
We already mentioned that you should take your time to learn more about your dog. You should be able to understand the source of aggression to curb it. One thing you should never do when a dog is nipping at you is to pull away. If he is aggressive, this will only entice him and even get him angrier.
So what should you do instead? Stay still until he lets go. It would help if you refrained from producing a yelping sound to exhibit pain. It is precisely what he wanted to do, to hurt you. Therefore, even if it breaks, do not pull away or even scream.
If your puppy throws a tantrum, you must figure out why and eliminate the source of aggression. It would help if you also were very careful to solve this problem immediately as it may result in future attacks.
Once again, refrain from aggressive and overexcited play if your puppy is nipping at you. Instead, take some time to teach your puppy gentle stretch.
Daily exercise is good for your dog’s health. It also helps burn up the extra energy your dog may have, allowing relaxation. Furthermore, when you are playing with a puppy that won’t stop nipping, you should encourage non-touch play. Instead, you can replace it with other games like tug-of-war or throw a ball for him to fetch.
When training your pup, reinforce good behavior by offering a reward or praise. This will encourage him to keep up the good work since it gets him treats. However, training a puppy out of a habit may take some time. Be patient; he will adopt good behavior and stop nipping.
Ignoring your puppy when he nips at your leg may also work to correct the behavior. You can be able to do this by standing still when he bites. Do not pay any attention to him, and he will let go. This will teach the alternative puppy ways to initiate play or get your attention. Once he lets go, reward and praise him for encouragement.
It would help if you did not encourage nipping at whatever cost. This is because it could lead to aggression and biting later in life. Instead, correct this behavior using the above-discussed methods. However, you must take your time to observe and understand your puppy.