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Handling your puppy’s mouthing period

Handling your puppy’s mouthing period

Puppies spend lots of time chewing and investigating things and playing. Pups need to chew and teaching the dog to chew on the right things makes the mouthing period easier on everyone especially as the puppy grows and the mouthing on us can become painful.

To help with mouthing, feed the pup at least one meal a day from a food dispensing item. This can be a Kong™ or other item. If using these type of dispensers, stuff them with the amount of food the dog normally eats (it may take several dispensers), add water if necessary and freeze.  This way the dog has an outlet for chewing, the meals last longer, the pup learns to occupy himself quietly and he has to work for his meals.

Other food dispensing toys encourage dogs to interact with them to release the food and keep puppies engaged for much longer than if they eat their food out of a bowl. 

Have a variety of chew toys on hand to encourage the pup to mouth on the right items.

If the puppy is mouthing us, a high-pitched yelping noise from us lets the puppy know that the mouthing hurt and encourages them to stop. Follow that with providing a chew toy or an item the puppy can mouth on. If the mouthing continues, a time out for a short period of time will discourage mouthing.

Provide plenty of opportunities for your puppy to play with other puppies and with friendly, vaccinated adult dogs. This is good for the pup’s development and he will get feedback from his playmates on mouthing and when play is too rough. In addition, play with other dogs is tiring for pups making the pup less likely to play hard with people. 

Avoid wrestling with the puppy. This encourages mouthing. Tug-toy games, on the other hand are very safe and a great way to teach bite inhibition in pups (the game continues while the pup is chewing in the toy, game ends when the pup mouths the hand or arm). Fetch is another game that discourages mouthing us but provides exercise and interaction with the pup. 

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