Dogs can acquire the ability to bite softly if they are given plenty of feedback about bite strength during the first few months of life.

Puppies can and should play-bite continually in supervised social interactions with other puppies. Suppressing puppy biting too early means the puppy doesn’t get repeated doses of feedback on his jaw strength. Allow at least some puppy biting to give the puppy information about his bite strength and to rehearse a soft mouth.

When a puppy bites down a little too hard, screech or yip as though it hurt much more than it actually did and call a time out, ceasing all interactions for a few seconds. Resume play after a minute or two. Be prepared to repeat this procedure over and over. If you are consistent your puppy will learn that if he bites too hard he will end up playing by himself.

Allowing a puppy to playbite may seem counterintuitive for most Filipino pet owners, especially those who still erroneously believe that puppies are born with rabies (read more on rabies and puppies here). But practicing  bite inhibition with your puppy is one way to prevent a grown up dog from doing more serious damage in a moment of excited play or if ever the dog should act on reflex when surprised or frightened.

To add to your puppy’s education, join in fun and structured puppy socialization and training available in Puppy Classes to help you bond with your puppy and help him/her grow up into a well-mannered adult dog.

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