Handle Teething Lab Puppies: Pippa Mattinson gives us her top tips on how to get through the puppy biting phase without crying in “When Do Puppies Stop Biting”! We’ll talk about some triggers that make puppy biting so bad, how to keep the biting phase short, and how to make small children and puppies friends.
When does biting begin?
It is surprisingly painful to be bitten by an 8-week old puppy. It can also be very upsetting. We don’t bite our close friends, after all. Teething happens to puppies around the third or fourth month of their lives. Puppies bite when they are teething, but they also bite when they play. Around 9 weeks of age, the puppy usually starts biting seriously once they have settled into their new home.
With some exceptions, puppy biting usually stops when your puppy has a full set of grown-up teeth by 7 months. By stopping them from biting long before they cut all their adult teeth, you can prevent your puppy from biting. This guide discusses how to prevent your puppy from biting. Then let’s look at how you can stop your puppy from biting you and start enjoying it again.
If you need to access the training instructions immediately, use the links above, otherwise, you may want to begin at the beginning and work your way through the guide.
There is no doubt that Labradors are the world’s most lovable and loving dogs. What’s up with your adorable puppy being replaced by a small, furry crocodile? We’ll find out
Is every Labrador biting?
Anyone who lives with a 10 or 12-week-old puppy will tell you that Labradors bite! During the first few months after birth, I can assure you that this is true for all Labradors. Fortunately, this is not a permanent character flaw, but just a phase that puppies go through. The majority of adult Labradors are indeed very good-natured dogs.
We’ll begin with a quick look at what makes your Labrador puppy so bitchy before I show you how to turn him into a cuddly friend once more. And also what to expect from a puppy in a typical household.
There are a lot of bites from my puppy.
When a new puppy owner is worried, they often say, “but this can’t be normal puppy biting, he’s biting so much, and mainly the children.” And it is certainly worrying when your children’s tears after playing with the puppy aren’t the joyous tears you expected.
When your new puppy starts biting your terrified three-year-old and chasing him around the kitchen, you may wonder if bringing him into your lives at all was a terrible mistake. Here’s what you need to know.
Children are being bitten by my puppy!
Whenever your children try to play with and cuddle their new friend, they are bitten, you might worry that your puppy is becoming aggressive.
You may even be concerned that your children are at risk. You need not worry, your children are not at risk. With his sharp teeth and growls, your puppy may frighten your children. It is unlikely that he will be a danger to their safety in the future based on the way he is behaving now.
Fortunately, studies have shown that young puppy behavior is not indicative of how they will behave as adults.
What Causes Puppies to Bite Children?
When young children are living in the house, some breeders will not sell puppies. The reason for this is that puppies often bite children and teenagers harder and more persistently than adults. Children cry when small puppies are around. Before you rush your puppy to the local shelter, bear with me for a moment because I can help.
Puppies receive conflicting signals from children. Children’s movements and vocalizations are difficult for puppies to interpret, so they react inappropriately. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make it easier for yourself and your children. In a moment, we’ll see what you can do.
It’s important to know that this phase can pass quite quickly at this point, so you should try to be a little patient. There is nothing unusual about puppies biting a lot, and even more so when they bite children!
What Makes Labrador Puppies Bite So Much?
In this stage of their development, Labradors are even more biting than some other breeds of dog. Retrievers generally tend to be very bitey as puppies.
We have bred these dogs for generations to be a little obsessed about putting things in their mouths. Maybe it isn’t so surprising that they are very mouthy when they are still small and very playful. The constant biting can still come as a shock though, to anyone who thought that they had adopted a ‘gentle’ breed. As can the pain of being bitten.
“These are not ‘nips’!” say many new puppy parents “they are real ‘bites’!”
He biteeeeeeees so hard!
“Wait a minute,” you say, “I am being bitten by my puppy! That can’t be normal.” The answer I’m afraid is yes, it is. Dog bites hurt. Some of them leave marks.
Puppy pain, bruising, scratching, and little tooth marks on your toddler are all part of raising a puppy. Some puppies are so enthusiastic that they may even draw blood. All this is normal, but I’ll tell you what you can do about it.
You say, “Okay, so the biting and the pain are normal, but the snarling and the noise – that’s not normal? Is that right? “
How Aggressive Is My Puppy?
One of the most serious concerns that new puppy owners have is that their puppy may become aggressive. Dogs have been living alongside humans for thousands of years, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous since they are powerful predators with powerful jaws.
It is only natural for a puppy owner who is inexperienced to worry that their puppy’s behavior might indicate the presence of a dangerous animal
It isn’t that their puppy bites constantly, or even how hard he bites, or even how much it hurts that makes people think their puppy is aggressive. It is snarling that worries people.
My puppy is growling at me!
Playing with puppies teaches them to be fierce. When they are playing, they throw themselves into it with great enthusiasm. In addition, they are excellent players.
To make himself sound fierce and frightening, your puppy tries to make himself sound fierce and scary. It’s all in good fun. Making as much noise and sounding angry as possible is the most important part of that game.
Therefore, all puppies snarl or growl ferociously when they play, when they bite, and sometimes when they are trying to entice their poor owners into playing with them. In addition to sounding fierce, your pup will also look fierce. The scrunched-up little face, the pulled-back lips, and the exposed teeth will be the result. You shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve run from him!
The mother, brothers, and sisters of your puppy understood this was a game and were not bothered. Therefore, he has no idea that he is frightening your children or that you are worried about him turning into an aggressive and dangerous beast.
Despite how fierce your ten-week-old puppy sounds, do not worry. You are just playing a game. You are playing with him.
Puppy play behavior is normal
All puppies bite, so that’s the hard truth. Many puppy bites are quite painful as well. It is normal for some Labrador puppies to bite a lot and growl and snarl at the same time.
The same applies to biting so hard that it makes your eyes water and even sometimes breaks the skin. The puppies bite at the hands that go to stroke them, at bare feet, and happily tug at clothing, all the while trying to sound fierce as possible. This is normal behavior.
Quite naturally, you will want to know when it will end!
When do puppies stop biting?
The biting will naturally begin to decline at around four to five months of age, even if you do nothing and do not play physically with your puppy much. In families with a single adult or two adults that are used to puppies and aren’t likely to get puppies excited, this occurs without much active ‘no-bite’ training.
Additionally, in working dog families the dogs may be kenneled or at least not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone other than their trainers or main caretakers. In 2001, a study conducted on puppies of Guide Dogs found that simply refusing to play or interact with their adult puppy walkers was sufficient to prevent the puppies from biting.
However, in most young families, this is not always the case. In many families, especially when a puppy is a novelty, everyone plays with the puppy, sometimes quite physically. As a result, puppies become very excited and tend to bite more. Inexperienced puppy owners also tend to reward the puppy with attention when he bites, which prolongs the biting phase.
The Things That Make Biting Difficult
In summary, these are the three reasons why the majority of Labrador puppies bite
- Poor bite inhibition
In turn, let’s examine each of these:
When puppies are excited, they bite more. The more excited they are, the harder they bite. Physical play excites puppies, rubbing puppies’ tummies, chasing puppies, and grabbing at puppies. It’s all an exciting experience for puppies.
Puppies can be excited by noises too, such as children squealing, or crying, or adults shouting. There are all kinds of things that can cause a puppy to meltdown
Puppies deserve attention
In addition to making puppies bite more, rewarding them for biting prolongs the biting phase. Although you may not think you are rewarding your puppy for biting, you probably are. And you may be rewarding him with ‘attention’.
Attention is the most important thing to puppies. Most puppies love attention, but Labrador puppies love it more than most. Your puppy will respond well to any kind of contact with you or other family members, including physical contact, talking, shouting, and even eye contact.
If you give him these things while he is biting, this will reinforce the biting behavior, which will make him bite more in the future
Bite inhibition is poor
Poor bite inhibition causes bites to hurt more. In the next section, you will learn what bite inhibition is and how you can help your puppy improve it.
Bite Inhibition: What Is It?
With their jaws, Labrador puppies can crush bone as thick as a little finger at just eight to nine weeks old.
Your puppy doesn’t break your fingers when he bites you! Most likely, he doesn’t even break the skin. This is due to a phenomenon called bite inhibition.
Your puppy has been learning to inhibit his bite since he was a pup. This is the equivalent of ‘pulling his punches’. He learned how hard he can bite without hurting others from his mother and brothers and sisters.
Skin vs. fur
Sadly, you don’t have a nice fur coat, so the level of force your puppy could apply to his mother is too painful for your delicate skin. However, he is not aware of this.
Here’s where your training comes in. This is where you’ll teach him what level of force is appropriate. Why don’t we just teach him to avoid biting together from the beginning?
You certainly can do this, but some experts believe that staged bite inhibition training is very important to ensure that your puppy will be able to control the amount of force he uses at any time in the future.
How Does Puppy Teething Work?
Earlier, we mentioned teething because people tend to associate biting with teething. Is it true that puppies bite so much when they are teething? For how long does teething last? Problem puppy biting is usually caused by playing.
Although puppies may chew or bite fingers to relieve the discomfort of teething, this is not the major cause of biting problems we see in homes with small puppies. Play biting isn’t the cause of the snarling and tugging that accompanies it, either. Puppies are just playing.
The majority of puppies have their adult teeth by the time they are 7 months old, but biting does not last too long.
Biting at 9 or 10 weeks
Currently, your puppy’s bite is not quite as powerful as it will be in a week or two, but its teeth are still needle-sharp.
The fact that your puppy is so small shouldn’t lull you into a false sense of security. Those bites will become much more painful by 11 or 12 weeks as he grows. Now is the time to act!
How To Teach A Puppy Not To Bite
After looking at some of the reasons why Labrador puppies bite, and some of the things that make biting worse, let’s move on to how to improve the situation. Here are five steps.
- Separate and supervise
- Stop making things worse
- Teach your puppy not to hurt you
- Training your puppy not to bite
- Safe play for Labradors
#Stage One: Separate and Supervise
This process begins with protecting any children that you may have, or who visit and play with your puppy.
While you relax with a glass of wine or mow the lawn, you may have had a pleasant image in your mind of your sweet puppy and children playing together. However, this image must be pushed aside for now.
Children under the age of five cannot safely play with puppies under four months without getting bitten. You need to supervise every interaction between them.
Do’s and Don’ts – Puppies and Children
- Children shouldn’t take their puppy into their bedroom.
- Regardless of whether you need baby gates for your children, place them across doorways. When you are not available to supervise, baby gates can be used to separate children and puppies.
- Teach children how to stroke the puppy gently while holding one end of a rawhide chew and letting the puppy bite on the other end.
- Children should not get the puppy excited or run around squealing while he chases them. This will result in tears.
Children are not the only ones who play inappropriately with puppies. Growing men have grappled with tiny puppies, rolling them around the floor, making growling noises, as the puppy gnawed at their knuckles.
While it may seem like a bit of fun to him, with his work-worn hands, there won’t be a happy ending if the puppy tries to play this game with your toddler.
In this situation, supervision or separation is essential, and if your visitor won’t be calm around your puppy, put him in his crate until your boisterous guest leaves.
Keeping your sanity and enjoying your puppy
While it may seem daunting at first, supervision and some separation are essential if you are to keep your sanity, and your children are to dry their tears and continue enjoying their puppy.
If you have older children, you need to show them how to interact with the puppy without getting him overstimulated. As with toddlers, labrador puppies can easily get overexcited. When they are overexcited, they begin to act silly.
As the puppy learns to control his biting, things will improve quickly. Making sure you don’t do all those things that make biting worse is the next step
#Stage Two: Don’t Make Things Worse
We talked about excitement and attention, don’t we? Keeping your puppy calm is the most important job at this stage. It is important to recognize when he is overexcited and ‘breaks up the game’.
The second thing you need to do is stop rewarding your puppy for biting. Your attention is one of the most important rewards for your Labrador puppy.
When the puppy bites someone, make sure he doesn’t get rewarded. Make sure he doesn’t get attention. The next stage explains how you can do that.
#Stage Three: Teach Your Puppy Not To Hurt You
This is the ‘bite inhibition’ training we discussed above. The process by which the puppy learns to use his mouth gently on your skin – and it takes a while.
Inhibition of biting is taught in stages.
Gradually, the puppy learns to reduce the force of his bites. He eventually learns to refrain from biting humans at all.
It’s worth your time, according to most experts. By teaching the puppy not to bite, we will prevent him from hurting us.
What to do if your puppy bites
When your puppy bites and hurts you, remove your attention immediately. Baby gates are extremely useful in such situations.
You can step over the gate if your puppy bites you while you are playing with him, thus removing him from all attention. Suddenly his playmate has disappeared.
Squealing is another option
You may have heard that a puppy will stop biting if you squeal or yelp. This may work for some puppies. But many puppies get even more excited by the yelping, and on others, it has no effect.
The strongest signal you can give your puppy is the loss of your presence and attention.
People sometimes smack puppies or shout at them to prevent them from biting. The problem with this is that it causes a lot of problems.
- First of all, it usually only stops the puppy from biting the person who yelled at it. I won’t necessarily stop your puppy from biting your children.
- the second problem is that punishment builds an association between an unpleasant event, and your presence, which can make it hard to teach later things like recall.
In any case, you don’t want your puppy to be scared of you. That isn’t a great way to begin your friendship.
In addition, physical or verbal punishment has been linked with aggression later in the dog’s life. Which is of course the very opposite of what you are trying to achieve!
Therefore, modern behaviorists and veterinary professionals all recommend that puppies be taught by positive methods rather than by force.
What if you have to move a biting puppy?
When you go to pick up the puppy or take hold of its collar and you need to move the puppy away rather than stepping away from it, he may bite at your hands. Here’s what to do if that happens:
How To Stop Your Puppy Biting Your Hands
When puppies are picked up, they may bite. When stroking or petting them, they may bite.
It is not behaviors that dogs understand that we wiggle our fingers at puppies, pet them, and rub our fingers in their fur. In addition, many puppies enjoy chasing and playing with their fingers and toes.
The hands are a common target for puppy bites, so teach your children to interact with your puppy by giving him toys he can pull and bite, instead of playing with him with their bare hands.
Play with your puppy with a long strong rope tug toy instead of your hand or rubbing his tummy.
You can use treats or hold a rawhide chew so your puppy can gnaw on its end if you want to sit and pet him. As soon as he is eating or chewing calmly, you will be able to pet him without getting nipped
Making use of a houseline
If your puppy often bites at your hands when you go to pick him up when he is overexcited, you need to find a better way of removing him from what he is doing.
Wear a harness and houseline so you can pick up the end of the line and carry the puppy to where you want him to go without him grabbing your hands.
#Stage Four: Train Your Puppy Not To Bite
It is here that we teach the puppy to allow us to stroke and pet him or handle him in any way we like, without putting his mouth around our fingers.
A clicker and some dog treats are the best way to achieve this. Alternatively, you can use a word like YES instead of clicking.
The training exercise goes like this:
- You move your hand towards the puppy a little bit
- You should say YES if his mouth doesn’t move towards your hand. Put a treat on the ground before him.
- Bring your hand a little closer.
- Say YES if he does not move his mouth towards your hand. Place a treat on the floor in front of him.
Can you see where I am going with this? Set him up for success by not stuffing your hand right in his face from the start. Build up your touch slowly so that you can touch any part of his head or body, pick up his paws, etc. He will not grab you or mouth at you.
If he mouths at me, what should I do?
You got too close to the puppy if it grabs your hand. Make smaller hand movements further away from him until he ignores them, then bring them closer slowly.
On the Kikopup YouTube channel, you can see a nice video demonstrating this technique
#Stage Five: Playing Safely
Biting can reappear as puppies grow older. During play, puppies between six and nine months of age are extremely boisterous and may begin nipping with their teeth. When your puppy reaches this age, he is more than half-grown, and his size and weight present a significant problem if he is allowed to play rough.
Changing the way you interact with your puppy is the key to avoiding and resolving this issue. Children will also follow your example.
Playing rough games with small people must not be permitted when puppies are boisterous and excitable. As a result, young dogs are often abandoned or given up to rescue at this age, because the consequences can be very unpleasant.
When do puppies stop biting?
Biting is a frustrating and sometimes painful stage of puppy development, but no matter how fierce your puppy may sound, and however hard he bites, it is just playful and normal puppy behavior. Most puppies grow out of biting by two years old and have reduced their biting by a year old.
It is a great idea to attend a puppy pre-school class using modern force-free training methods if this is your first puppy. It can assist you in avoiding other puppy behavior problems as well.
The five steps listed above will help you guide your puppy through this phase as quickly and comfortably as possible.
Do not leave tempting items like clothes, shoes, or children’s toys where your puppy can reach them. At the same time provide lots of safe chew toys. Keep chew toys “fresh” by rotating them, only having a few out at any one time. Supervise your puppy so he does not have the opportunity to chew something he shouldn’t.
How long does teething last for Lab puppies? Labradors stop teething between six and seven months of age on average. With that said, you can’t just hang in there until the teething stages are over. You have to pay attention to your puppy’s needs and keep them happy and healthy during this time.
Puppies start teething at 3-4 months old. Puppies do bite because they are teething, but they also bite in play. And biting tends to start in earnest once the puppy has settled into their new home, so around 9 weeks old.
When do puppies lose their baby teeth? Puppies begin losing their baby teeth around 12-16 weeks of age. The first teeth that fall out are the incisors (the tiny little teeth at the front of the mouth). Around age 4-6 months, puppies will lose their canine teeth which are those sharp little fang teeth.
This process can be awfully painful for your pup — his gums will be sore. When teething occurs, you might notice the puppy drooling or see little spots of blood on his toys, although if you notice anything unusual, talk to your veterinarian since both symptoms could also be related to a more serious issue.
There are a few reasons that puppies may bite. The most common one is that they’re curious, and this is another way to explore their world. Sometimes pups may resort to biting out of frustration, or when they’re frightened. If they precede the bite by a growl, they ate you because you ignored a warning.
Biting is also a natural trait in Labrador Retrievers. These dogs are hard-wired to chase after prey, put it in their mouth, and carry it back to their owner. As such, Labs are mouthy and love to have something in their mouth, be it your fingers or a toy.
Labs don’t start “settling” down until sometime between two and four years of age. A few labradors are quiet and sedate from early puppyhood onward, and a few others are bouncing puppymaniacs until well into old age, but by and large, you can expect to see mental maturation happening between two and four years of age.