How do I stop my puppy from nipping?
Speaking of nipping, it’s very likely that your puppy’s going to use their teeth as their main weapon for playful attacks on you, and while it can be pretty amusing - despite their sharp little teeth - this is something you need to discourage from the start. The last thing you want is for your puppy to think that it’s okay for them to bite you, as this’ll only continue as they grow up and become more of a problem.
Try not to use your hands when you’re playing with your pup, as they’ll be an obvious target for them to nip, so instead use toys like rope balls or soft toys that they can chase around and catch.
If they do give you a little nip, use the label ‘no biting’, turn away from your pet completely and give them no attention for 30 seconds. When you go back to play, have a toy in your hand for them to go for instead, helping them to learn what they can and can’t bite.
How to tell the difference between mouthing and aggression?
Most mouthing is normal dog behaviour. But some dogs bite out of fear or frustration, and this type of biting can indicate problems with aggression. It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between normal play mouthing and mouthing that precedes aggressive behaviour.
In most cases, a playful dog will have a relaxed body and face. His muzzle might look wrinkled, but you won’t see a lot of tension in his facial muscles. Playful mouthing is usually less painful than more serious, aggressive biting. Most of the time, an aggressive dog’s body will look stiff. He may wrinkle his muzzle and pull back his lips to expose his teeth. Serious, aggressive bites are usually quicker and more painful than those delivered during play.