by Jenna Kiddie
Preventing Puppy Mouthing
Our how-to guide and top tips for preventing puppy mouthing!
Puppies explore and play with their mouths. We need to teach them to choose appropriate items…this doesn’t include us or our possessions!
They have a lot to learn, so it is crucial that we are calm and consistent. Being calm prevents puppies becoming more intense or worried, which could make their behaviour worse. Consistency makes it easy to learn!
Practice makes perfect!
Practice makes perfect, we need to make sure our puppies practice on appropriate items. We also need to prevent them practicing on the wrong things, and make sure that if they do, their behaviour isn’t rewarded.
- Manage the environment to keep your puppy from chewing the ‘wrong’ things – clear away things that you don’t want chewed (i.e. children’s toys). Using play pens or restricting your puppy’s access around the house using baby gates can really help keep them out of trouble!
- Provide a range of suitable toys and chews. Try soaking them in water and freezing to help sooth sore teeth. Rotate toys daily to keep them exciting! Praise your puppy when they chew on their own things and join in the game with them!
- Always have a toy with you when your pup is feeling playful so that they have a suitable item to put in their mouths! Avoid games where they put their mouths on your skin (i.e. rough and tumble games with hands). Praise praise praise for good behaviour!
- Any time puppy places teeth on you stop and go still. If they continue, turn away and cross your arms – a clear signal that your attention has been withdrawn! If this doesn’t work move away, leaving them to calm down for a moment before going back. Once your puppy is calm you can praise them. Your puppy will learn that mouthing = all fun ends. Do this every time your puppy makes a mistake, remember to stay calm and patient!!
- Provide appropriate exercise, socialisation and mental stimulation (such as food puzzles, positive, reward based training and play with other well socialised dogs). Rest and relaxation is important too as puppies are more likely to mouth when over tired!
- Don’t punish your puppy for mouthing or chewing, this will just make them worried which could lead to a deterioration in their behaviour.
Top Training Tip
Is your puppy testing your patience? Puppies are great fun but also hard work. To help you stay CALM and CONSISTENT, you might sometimes just need a short break. Getting annoyed never helps!