The most important part about a bite, or any unwanted behaviour, is figuring out why it happened in the first place. I firmly believe that a misunderstood action or behaviour leaves a lot of room for it to happen again, or for other symptoms to occur.
This is why my immediate response to an unwanted behaviour is not how to stop it, but rather how to prevent it.
When it comes to puppy biting, this is most commonly due to boredom or being overtired/overstimulated. Very few young puppies will bite for other reasons. Puppies play with their mouth, and it’s also how they can initiate play with one another. But if you want to stop and deterr your puppy from biting you, you will need to be one step ahead of him, by providing activities where he will get to burn both physical and mental energy.
A mellow and relaxed puppy is not as likely to feel the need to bite. The only thing they will then feel the need to do is chew on a Kong-like toy and settle before resting. Start by being aware of the moment your puppy wakes up, as this is when energy start to build up. At this point you should be taking your puppy out for a potty break anyway, but after coming back inside, don’t let them roam free.
Instead, go into a fun tug and pull game, and if your puppy happens to be very mouthy during play, you can use a towel or gloves. Puppies naturally play with their mouth, and given proper outlets, they will with time realize that there’s no actual need to use their mouth to instigate a game of any kind. Following the physical game, switch into a mental game like snuffling, or hiding your puppy’s food inside a towel.
Mental games are not just great at burning brain energy, they’re also fantastic at helping your dog’s miind relax, slow down and think. All of which are critical in your dog’s development. Without these types of games you will end up with a pup that is left feeling overstimulated, not yet knowing how to self soothe. Following the mental game, provide your pup with a stuffed Kong and other toys that they can place any chewing energy towards. This should be leading to a nap. Once your puppy wakes up, rinse and repeat!