Puppy Class Extras
Bite inhibition is one of the most important lessons your puppy learns through play in puppy class, and you’ll also want to teach them this at home with members of your household.
Bite inhibition is a dog’s ability to control the pressure he is applying while biting so as to cause little or no damage to the receiver of the bite. Puppies start to learn this first with littermates, then in puppy class through puppy play. If one puppy bites another too hard, the bitee yelps and playing is postponed. The biter soon learns that hard bites interrupt an otherwise enjoyable play session. He learns to bite more softly once play resumes.
Remove: You can teach your puppy bite inhibition in a similar way. Anytime a bite is hard enough to cause you pain, say “ouch” and stop interacting with your puppy for about 10 seconds. If he continues to grab at you when you remove your attention, step on the other side of a baby gate or exercise pen, wait until the puppy calms down, then try again.
Repeat: Repetition is the key to learning. Be patient, calm and consistent, and do NOT use physical punishment as this can elicit more biting from the puppy.
Reinforce: As long as your puppy is biting softly, keep playing with her and praise her calmly, “Good gentle!” Also praise when they are chewing on appropriate items calmly.
Redirect: Redirect bites to toys by arming yourself and others in the household with appropriate chew toys so that when puppy is in a particularly bitey mood, he has something to clamp down on besides hands, pants ankles, and arms. Teach your children to do this so that they don’t reinforce and encourage the playful biting by squealing and running around – a very fun game for bitey puppies!