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Puppy Biting: A Fun Guide to a Happy Pup

Puppy biting is a natural behaviour for our puppy. It's a part of their development, helping them explore their surroundings and learn about the world. 

However, excessive puppy biting can be a cause for concern, and may be a symptom of something else we can support them with. In this article by Super Woofers' Carly Clarke, we will dive into the reasons behind puppy biting and explore a supportive approach to help our pup and manage this behaviour.

Is Puppy Biting normal?

Puppies, much in the same way human infants use their hands, use their mouths to interact with the world. Biting is a way for them to explore, play, and learn. It's normal behaviour that shouldn't be completely discouraged but rather redirected and managed appropriately.

We can expect our pup to go through a painful teething process where you will likely see an increase in biting. However, excessive biting can also indicate that your puppy might be struggling in other areas.

Outside of teething, let's take a closer look at the most common factors I see, as a puppy trainer, that could contribute to excessive biting and how we can help our pup:

    ● Tiredness

    ● Hunger

    ● Boredom/ Attention

The tired puppy: The importance of quality naps:

This is the most common reason I see outside of teething.  

Puppies need plenty of sleep for proper development.

If your puppy experiences a sudden burst of energy followed by a biting spree, it might be a sign that they are tired. It is important to note that your puppy will be unlikely to automatically regulate their own sleep

It’s up to us as their caregiver to ensure they get at least 18 hours of sleep each day, especially during their early months.

Jack Russell pup Birdie loves shoes! Photo - Jesse Hunniford for WAGD

✔️ Frenzied biting, feels out of control.

✔️ It’s directed at anything.

✔️ It increases the more you try to stop it.

✔️ Can be accompanied by ‘Zoomies’.

✔️ Often worse if they’ve had a busy day.

What can you do?

✔️ Use my Puppy Settle Routine (below) before sleep.

✔️ Build a daily routine which includes naps.

✔️ Create a quiet and comfortable space where your puppy can nap undisturbed.

Puppy Settle Routine - How to give your puppy the best chance of settling:

✔️ Have a short training session.

✔️ Take out immediately to the toilet.

✔️ Give your dog something to chew or lick in their sleeping area.

This should not take longer than 30 minutes; if your pup is not settling after going through this, try working through the steps again.

The hungry puppy: Why might your puppy feel hungry?

Puppies grow the quickest in the first 4 months. It is hard to accurately increase their food for that growth rate. Especially if you have a large breed puppy who seems to grow longer legs overnight.

Their gums may also be sore from teething. As they go through that painful teething process their gums can swell and become sore, they may only be able to eat a little of the food you put down comfortably. We can confuse this with our puppy being full, but later our pup is hungry again.

Often we change the puppy's diet from what they have been used to which can cause tummy upsets or their diet simply isn’t working for them due to food intolerances.


✔️ Looking elsewhere for food like digging for roots, grass etc.

✔️ Slow to put on weight.

✔️ Finding it hard to settle and sleep.

✔️ Runny poops or really frequent poops.

✔️ Appearing to be ‘fussy’.

What can you do?

✔️ Make sure to weigh and adjust their food regularly.

✔️ Add variety, find out what your puppy loves.

✔️ Use a soft texture food if they are struggling during teething.

✔️ Don’t use food to lure them to things they’d choose to avoid.

✔️ Encourage sniffing and foraging at feeding time.

Attention: Is your puppy just bored?

Puppies very quickly learn that if they are bored, the way to get a party happening is to use their teeth. If there are kids in the home, this is usually even more successful for them. 

Biting or chewing usually earns attention, especially if it’s something we think is valuable. This attention is often perceived as negative to us, but to a bored puppy it can be fun.

What can you do?

✔️ Mental Enrichment

One key factor in preventing excessive biting is ensuring that your puppy’s needs are met, before they feel the need to ask with their teeth. 

Engaging your puppy's brain is just as important as physical exercise. Consider incorporating mental enrichment activities such as sniffing games, training sessions, puzzles, and food toys into their daily routine.

✔️ Chewing: Produces feel-good chemicals. 

Chewing is a natural and instinctive behaviour for puppies. It not only helps with teething but also produces those "feel-good" chemicals that can help your puppy relax. Provide suitable, long-lasting chews to satisfy their chewing instincts and help them chill out. 

Having soft chew toys on hand can also serve as a useful redirection tool if (when) biting does occur.

✔️ Routine: Establishing a consistent daily routine is key. 

A good routine should include a balance of mental enrichment, physical exercise, and quality nap times. By meeting your puppy's needs proactively, you will significantly reduce instances of unwanted biting.

Shark mode: What do I do when it’s happening?

All of these tips should help lessen puppy biting. 

However, it is a natural behaviour and puppies very easily become tired, so it is inevitable that it will happen at some stage.

There is lots of contradictory advice but here are my tips I have found work for most situations:

Don’t make a high pitched squealing noise

At this stage your puppy is often over-tired or aroused and this will likely make the puppy biting increase.

✔️ Prepare plenty of long-lasting chews or toys to hand to redirect your puppy on to.

✔️ Use this to lead to their sleep area.

✔️ Close the barrier between you - Pen or a crate.

✔️ Supervise them to ensure they can peacefully chew on their chew.

✔️ Often if they need a nap this will calm them and they will fall asleep.

Puppy Biting round up: keys for success

Credit: Super Woofers' Super Puppy Club - Daily Routine Cycle

● Routine, routine, routine.

Naps are compulsory. Use my Puppy Settle Routine.

● Use foraging and variety to encourage a healthy appetite and calm.

Put all valuables out of reach.

● The new 'puppy overwhelm you feel' is real and absolutely normal.

In Summary

While puppy biting is a normal part of their development, excessive biting may indicate underlying issues. 

By addressing the key elements of mental enrichment, chewing, physical exercise, sleep, and routine, you can create a well-balanced environment for your puppy, leading to a decrease in excessive biting behaviour.

For a deeper dive on puppy biting, including how to help your pup through teething, what to expect, how to tell if your pup is the hungry, tired or bored puppy plus more, be sure to check out my free Puppy Biting Webinar.

About the Writer

Carly Clarke from Super Woofers started her dog training journey in 2013 after the arrival of rescue dog Big J, who is also the muse for her dog kit brand WAGD

Carly with her Heart Dog BJ
Carly is a reward-based trainer from Super Woofers and WAGD, who believes in preparing your dog or puppy for real-life. She focuses on key life skills such as recall, walking calmly on a lead, and the ability to settle. 

The end goal? An easy-going dog that can accompany you everywhere, from leisurely walks to outings at the local cafe. Carly wholeheartedly believes sessions should be enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Recognising the uniqueness of every family, Carly understands that what makes a "Super Dog" varies from one family to another. She is committed to supporting you and your dog's unique dynamic, rejecting the idea of a one-size-fits-all training plan.

For more information, please visit the website

You can follow her on Facebook @superwoofers.aus or on 
Instagram @superwoofers.aus

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