Let's talk about puppies and that nipping that comes along with them.
Most puppies are very mouthy, and while of course puppies are cute, those sharp puppy teeth hurt! It’s important to teach your pup from a young age that their teeth on human skin or clothes are not acceptable.
Naming the Behavior and Redirecting
Always make sure to have a variety of toys including chew toys available to redirect your puppy to. Naming behaviors and being precise with timing helps your pup figure out exactly what you are trying to communicate. Say a firm “ouch” then redirect to a toy. If your puppy accepts the toy, great, it ends there. If they don’t want the toy and would rather bite you again for a second time tell them “ouch” then “time out” and you can either walk away or they get a two minute time out where they are tethered and you ignore them. If walking away does not work then have an already set up time out area by tethering a leash to a door. Never use the crate or playpen for punishment.
Think about how much physical exercise your puppy is getting daily. Most puppies don’t get enough exercise. While you should not take your pup for a jog, there are plenty of other activities to blow off some of that energy. Take your pup for at least 3 longer walks besides quick potty breaks. Play fetch if you have an enclosed area. If you don’t have a fenced off area, get a 15-20’ cotton training lead so you can go to the park (not the dog park) and let your puppy safely get some good exercise. Roll a ball up and down the hallways inside of the house, play with toys, and check out a flirt pole for your pup. There are plenty of activities to get your pup exercise.
While physical exercise is important, don’t overlook mental stimulation. Lack of mental stimulation can result in bored pups and manifest itself in bad behavior! Start training your puppy commands from a young age so you can work on short obedience training drills. Rotating through a variety of puzzle toys keeps their minds busy! Don’t forget to also rotate their regular toys to keep them more exciting and to maintain your puppy’s interest.
Consistency is key! Remember, it takes three weeks to change a behavior!