Puppies play with one another through the use of their mouths. When being petted, puppies usually nip the petter’s skin.
This puppy behavior is not considered as dog aggression but is considered normal. This puppy nipping is almost never aggressive. Thus, this should not cause harm.
Puppies are very much motivated to display this nipping behavior. Efforts to curb this behavior are most likely to fail except when an alternative behavior is provided.
The purpose of the alternative behavior is to avert your puppy’s longing to put anything on her mouth. This alternative behavior also aims to educating your puppy that nipping or putting her teeth on any skin is not an acceptable behavior.
Here are alternative behaviors that aim to stop puppy nipping:
1.Encourage Positive Behavior
Nipping on a human skin can be redirected to nipping or chewing admissible objects such as a chew bone or any other chew toy that your puppy loves to nip.
This approach can be done by offering a chew bone or any chew toy on one hand, while using the other hand to pet your puppy. This way, your puppy’s attention will be redirected to the chew toy rather than nipping you.
2.Discourage Negative Behavior
Your puppy must realize that nipping or putting her teeth on a skin is an unacceptable behavior and that such a behavior will result to something unpleasant. She must realize that nipping will result to loss of attention and interaction from you.
This approach can be done by saying “ouch” in a high-pitched voice and ignoring your puppy every time she nips your skin. For your puppy to get the message that you are ignoring her because of nipping, it is best for you to leave the room or alternately leash her while you play so that she cannot follow you.
The “encourage positive behavior,” that is, the chew toy and petting method; and the “discourage negative behavior” must go hand-in-hand. This way, your puppy will understand that it is unacceptable to nip a human skin as this can later on be perceived as dog aggression, but it is acceptable to nip a chew bone or a chew toy.