Beyond Puppy Biting: When Mouthy Behavior Continues Into Adolescence


If you have a puppy under six months of age, play biting is a very normal (albeit annoying and often painful) part of your puppy's development.

For bitey pups under six months of age, read this blog.

But what happens when your dog's biting is lingering beyond that six-month mark, or you acquire an adolescent or adult dog that comes into your home with a chompy mouth?

First of all, don't get too alarmed just yet. Excessive play biting in adolescence is still not an indicator of future aggression.

The vast majority of adolescent dogs we work with that are still showing mouthiness with people have some or all of these three factors contributing to the behavior:

1. Needs are not being met.

Meeting a dog's most basic needs is simple: provide food, water, shelter, love them, play with them.

But depending on your dog's individual temperament, breed/breed mix, and age, those basics may not be meeting your dog's actual physical and mental stimulation requirements.

The first thing you should do to stop your adolescent or adult dog's mouthy behavior is take a look at how you can provide a more physically and mentally enriching day-to-day life for your dog, while still working within what's reasonable for your own schedule.

A few ideas: 
  • Ensure you're feeding your dog three times a day up to a year of age (sometimes longer for giant breed dogs) and that you have appropriately increased food based on their growth. With your vet's approval, you can typically drop to two meals a day by one year of age.
  • Provide short (5-10 minute) training sessions a day to work on basic obedience, tricks – whatever you want.
  • Offer mental enrichment options – see our 14-Day Training Challenge for training and enrichment tutorials and ideas.
  • Increase your dog's physical exercise – playing in the backyard is simply not enough. Options include adding a daily walk, a game of fetch, taking an obedience class or getting involved in a dog sport. Find what works for both you and your dog – if it's not something you both enjoy, one of you will get burned out quickly. The behavior is being reinforced.

2. The behavior is being reinforced.

In order to address this issue, we have to look at why it's lingering. What is the function of the behavior for your dog?

As puppies, biting was a way for them to try to instigate play and attention, explore the world, and burn off some teething frustration.

Which of those three still serves a functional purpose in an older dog?

Instigating play and attention. 

Whatever you are currently doing as a reaction to your dog's biting is reinforcing the behavior – in short, your dog thinks it's worth doing it again.

Yelling "no," pushing your dog away, running away, etc. can all be considered fun, especially for an attention-seeking adolescent dog. Or if you do something too forceful or scary, you run the risk of losing your dog's trust and causing more serious issues.

So instead, find the least dramatic way that you can stop reinforcing the behavior.
  • Do not look at your dog or talk to them when they start biting.
  • Cross your arms and do not engage your dog with your hands.
  • You can block more intense advances from your dog by lifting up the side of your leg like a wall (do not knee your dog in the chest, please!)
  • If you find it too difficult to ignore your dog, you can remove yourself from the room or go behind a gate, but you must do so without it become a fun game of chase.
  • Your dog will come back harder a few times as they try to figure out why their usual method of attention-seeking isn't working, but if you stay consistent, they will ultimately give up and go grab a toy or settle down elsewhere.

3. The behavior is intrinsically reinforcing for your dog.

If you're reading the above thinking "I've tried this, and I'm still not seeing the changes I want to see", then this may be a game-changing answer for you.

Some dogs are selectively bred to enjoy things like chasing, grabbing, biting, or stalking. This is what makes dogs excellent at certain jobs – police dogs, military working dogs, herding dogs, ratting dogs, etc. While we see this in herding breed dogs and terriers most frequently, it can apply to any individual dog.

This doesn't mean that a dog that enjoys to bite is an aggressive dog – it just means that the dog may find the act of chasing, biting, tugging, etc. fun regardless of your reaction.

These dogs don't need these instincts "trained out of them" – that's not fair or realistic – but instead need outlets for that natural drive.

biting adolescent puppy

Remember: many adolescent dogs need an outlet for their natural drives!

Here are few things to try, in addition to the recommendations from points #1 and #2: 

  • Add a flirt pole to your daily routine, 1-3 times a day. This is my favorite activity for dogs that naturally enjoy chasing, nipping, and biting, as it's an excellent outlet and easy for most dog owners to use.
    • You can make your own, or this is our favorite one to purchase.
    • Simply run the toy on the ground back and forth, eventually allowing your dog to grab it if she wants.
    • We recommend using this drop technique to teach your dog to drop the toy at the end of the game.
  • Play tug with your dog, with some rules.
    • If your dog grabs your hand instead of the toy, game over.
    • Teach your dog to drop the tug when asked.
    • Use a good, sturdy tug toy like this one.

The key is, you're still letting your dog know that biting people isn't appropriate, but you're also giving them an outlet for that natural instinct.

For additional information and tips on puppy biting, we have another blog on the topic here.

Need professional guidance on your play biting issues? We offer private and group online dog training that's accessible from anywhere in the world. More details here, or contact us.

106 thoughts on “Beyond Puppy Biting: When Mouthy Behavior Continues Into Adolescence

  1. I have a 7.5 month old beagle/jack russell mix. He will randomly nip at some people and dogs. I exercise him plenty, we train twice a day, he is well socialized (goes to daycare and is around people constantly) and he has plenty of chew toys/puzzle games etc. I am really worried that this is a part of his temperament. Any advice?

  2. I have a 4 month cocker spaniel puppy and randomly usually when over excited he jumps up and bites my legs knees hands – happens a lot when out walking. What can i do to stop this as ignoring him when out is impossible as he just keeps going.
    Thank you

  3. We have an 8 month rescue lab. (Mom) for sure. Thinking dad or at least one dad was poodle. 6 weeks old Colt had parvo, thank god he made it through. However he missed the mom part of saying this is enough as he was in emergency vet for one week. And He goes to day care 3x week , also went to puppy class and is now signed up for family manners. He constantly loves to bite on me, has once in awhile at daycare. We have had trainer here at our house, which helped at first, I do the hands under arms, but he now is do the let me use my front teeth and biting my legs no matter what direction I turn. Very frustrating. We have our back yard fenced so he can run we also go for walks as well. Redirecting him with toys at best works sometimes but then w3 are right back at me. My husband has not had many issues at all. Any advice

    1. Hi Vicky! Really utilize the steps in this blog, and be sure that you aren't accidentally rewarding him by giving him a toy when he bites 🙂 At this point, the behavior is typically a way to instigate play and attention, so you need to find the most clear, but non-dramatic way to let him know that this behavior won't work in that way.

  4. I have a lab he’s 3 1/2 months & he’s a good puppy, he listens to me when I tell him to go outside or to sit & I have potty trained him but when it comes to biting I struggle a lot, I hand him toys when I see he starts biting, but he’s constantly always biting, I understand that he’s teething but he starts biting on my jeans when I start walking he hangs on & he even jumps at me when I try to get him to stop, or when I try to make him stop he starts growling & being aggressive, I don’t know what to do, pls help

    1. Hi Claire! First, please know that this is a very normal behavior and it WILL get better. You are right in the heart of teething. Be careful that you aren't inadvertently rewarding the biting by giving him a toy when he does it. Here is another article with a few more tips. Stay consistent with the advice given in this blog, and you will continue to see improvements!

    2. Hi Claire. We’re in the same boat you were back in March. Our pup is the same age and gets very upset and aggressive. My husband and I are all chewed up. Did it get better with your pup and, if so, was there anything special you did and at what age did it get better? Thank you!

    3. I have a 15 week old Male Cairn Terrier. Love him but as much as I try he still gets very biting and breaks my skin and husbands. If I walk away he grabs back of my legs either scratches or bites. If wearing long pants he jumps up and hangs on . He jumps high almost out of his play pen. I pick him up when he wont stop biting and place him in play pen. I don't yell give him time out 15 min or so then open gate he may be good or go right back to biting. Much of the time he is sweet but has a dark side HELP

  5. If only it were so easy! It's impossible to disengage and turn one's back on a dog that has clamped down on one's hand or arm, however playful the intent, and refuses to let go!

    1. Yes, those bites can HURT, especially in an older/larger dog. That's why we want you to block the dog's advances, whenever possible, and if they do make contact, get them off the bite and calmly get yourself out of there. Most dogs still chomping hard after 6-7 months of age are intrinsically motivated by the "game" of biting, and/or enjoy the reaction they get for doing it.

  6. Well I guess it's me then, something I am doing that makes her like this. She was always stubborn and willful, but the biting she suddenly goes mad, wall of death around the living room bouncing off the furniture. If I leave the room she destroys things or attacks our 13 year old dog. I hope we can fix this, maybe I'll try just standing up so she can't dive on my arm? I'm at a loss, leaving the room is fine if it's just you and them but it's a Hollywood production getting your phone, the tv remote, your cup, and older dog, and the cushions, and everything else she will redirect to if I leave. Not a speedy exit.

    If I sit on my husband lap she jumps on us and forces her way between us, tried it last night cuddling our son and she does the same to get between us, but ignored him sitting on his dad's lap. It's me somehow.

    1. Definitely implement the recommendations in this article, and consider implementing an additional management strategy such as a play pen or a leash. If she is having fun destroying things after you leave the room, it's not going to be effective. Consider having a leash on here so you can prevent her from biting, and can also prevent her from going after things/your other dog. Feel free to reach out to us about virtual training if you need extra help, or we can provide an in-person referral for your area!

  7. I think this genuinely works. My dog wakes up everyday at exactly 7:25 AM (Tiring) excitedly. He wants to play and I do try but he seems to like my arm as a toy the best. I ignored him. For the first time in a while, he went back to sleep. He’s only 3 months old so biting is expected but I want to make sure he understands he doesn’t need to do that to get my attention.

  8. My 10 month old black lab sometimes bites my son enough to rip his skin and make him bleed a little. It usually happens when my son tries to take away something from the dog (a toy, something he shouldn't be chewing or others.)

    Is this still considered normal behavior for his age?

  9. I have a cocker spaniel mix about 4 months old, and we're worried that her biting is becoming aggressive. She usually bites our feet; biting then letting go, then biting again. I see how that can seem like play, but she also growls and snarls when she does it, and her tail is either straight up or wagging. When we stand up and turn away to ignore her, she barks and jumps up at us, snapping her teeth (she jumps like a frog, like a foot off the ground) and usually continues biting our feet. We usually stand/sit still when she bites our feet and look down at her and say "No/let go", and it usually works, but then she starts barking/growling at us. When I kneel down to play with her or pet her, she snaps at my arms/hands and plays tug of war with my hair (growling sometimes, but mostly just thrashing around trying to chomp on everything). She used to gently mouth my hand, but now she spins around and snaps at my arm. Is she becoming aggressive, or is it still just rowdy play?

    1. What you're describing doesn't sound like aggression – definitely more like very rowdy and rude play. (Even growling/snapping in this context can be play). Definitely implement the suggestions in this blog, and if you need extra help, contact us and we can set you up with some virtual training, or refer you to an in-person trainer in your area 🙂

      1. Ok, thank you so much, the article really helped! We have started giving her more exercise and just walking out of the room for a few minutes every time she plays too rough, and she has become so much gentler and less hyped up already! The growling is also going away slowly.

    2. Wow this sounds just like my Shih Tzu.
      She does this exact same thing.
      She has separation issues but just with me . If i try to leave the house she bites my shoes , my legs pulling me back into the room. Once I disengage and leave then return she repeats the behaviour almost like she is “ telling me off “ for leaving her.
      It’s getting difficult to handle because shes so fast and hard to control when she gets herself that het up.

  10. I have a 7 month old Yorkiepoo that constantly jumps on us or our guests when we come in the house. How can we stop that?

    1. Hi Thomas! See this blog for our tips on jumping: The key is a combination of preventing the dog from practicing the behavior (using a leash, baby gate, etc) and then also making it clear to your dog that jumping will not work to elicit your attention. With that said, we don't want to simply ignore the behavior, as the act of getting to jump on you can still be fun for your dog.

  11. We have a 17 month old golden retriever mix (possibly mixed with husky), she does very well for the most part but im concerned with something. She does play bite with my husband and grown son..things like mouthing their arm, when she gets too worked up they re direct her with a toy and the biting stops.. but there are times ill be in the kitchen and if one of my daughters ages 12 and 15 enter, she will nip at their hand or jump up on them.. almost like shes trying to bully them. Another issue is keeping her off our bed, its almost impossible.. She is a rescue so i realize this will take time as there is no telling what she was allowed to do in her previous home.

    1. Be sure that no one is allowing her to put teeth on skin during play (even gently) as it sounds like she's using this behavior in an attempt to instigate play. Especially at this early adolescent age, pups love to see what will get a rise out of people 🙂

  12. My 3.5 month log Lab cross is a sweet girl but she is super bitey. I understand teething and play, but it seems to be the only way she wants to engage with us. As soon as she wakes up to when she goes to sleep she is biting, pulling at our clothes, nipping the heels and feet as we walk away to ignore it. Saying no, let go doesn’t do anything. She is chewing on everything so I have bought her every kind of toy imaginable to give her some teething relief but chewing on us is all she wants to do. I have a 6 mo old baby and cannot be anywhere near the puppy cause she immediately tried to nip on the baby so we have the puppy in the kitchen more often then I want, the door opens to a big yard that she has access to all day and walks 2-3 times a day plus puppy school.. Help.

  13. I have a 6 month old lab puppy he just started school and he such a good dog but his biggest issue is bitting he has all his adult teeth and when he bites it really hurt. I don’t think he is doing it aggressively, when he bites he shakes his tail and when I try to walk away he tries going after me but I’m worried that he will not grow out of this stage and start biting me in front of others or start biting others so if you have any tips? We have tried Everything but nothing seems to work!!!

  14. Our 6 month Doberman will not stop biting. He knows all his commands including no bite. He takes no notice 95% of the time. We have to leave the room as the bites hurt. We have been leaving the room for months and he’s still not stopping. Over the last two weeks he has got worse. He is leaping up at us and biting arms, backs and our heads if he gets chance. We are covered in wounds and black and blue with the bruising. We have 2 sons who I won’t let go anywhere near him now. He has all his adult teeth. We have had trainers out and have tried everything but when we try to stop him by standing our ground etc we get more injuries. He also bites and lunges at us on walks. We keep being told it is play biting but at an unacceptable level but so far no one can help us stop him. One behaviourist advised an electric collar is are only hope. Another advised he goes to work in security as not going to be a family pet. I would agree but when he isn’t biting he enjoys snuggling up to us and playing training games. He is good with strangers and dogs we meet . Please if you have any advice as we don’t know where else to turn.

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Julie! I'm so sorry you've had this experience. It sounds as though your Dobie is intrinsically motivated by the biting. What does his exercise and mental enrichment look like on an average day? I would strongly suggest adding a flirt pole to your daily routine. 5-10 minutes a few times a day. Please feel free to contact us and we can get you set up with some virtual training; I know you've worked with several other trainers, but we do specialize in issues like this and can help customize a plan for you. Absolutely steer clear of the electric collar – it could really make this worse.

  15. I have a 7 month chihuahua and for
    Some reason he has started to bite a select few people that come to the house (always women) he is still quite biting and mouthing with me and my children at home but doesn’t often hurt us. He is snarling and growling with the people he takes an instant dislike too. He also has done it when neighbours have had people in their garden and I don’t know if it’s a protection thing as he is very fond of the neighbours? I’m starting to get concerned now though

    1. This doesn't sound like play biting based on your description – you are likely getting into "stranger danger" territory. I would strongly suggest getting a qualified trainer in to help; your pup is still at a young age which makes the process of changing these behaviors a bit easier. Feel free to let me know your location and I'll provide a referral for you!

  16. Hello,
    I have a 6 month old border collie puppy and he just loves to chew. It used to just be the furniture but now hes gone back to mouthing a little bit when he is playing. There isn't any aggression there at all but we wondered if you have any advice. He has a parasite so is on medication for that but it seems like he is just bored so easily; even though he has loads of toys, gets training every day, 2 walks a day for whats recommended for his age and he had mental stimulation challenges and is never left for more than a few hours if we need to. Should we just get rid of the coffee table and try that and stop playing with him when he gets a bit mouthy?

    1. It sounds like you are doing an AMAZING job of providing him appropriate outlets for his energy. There is a secondary chewing phase for many dogs during adolescence. Keep in mind that a herding breed, he's going to enjoy nipping and biting a bit more than other dogs. Be sure you're providing adequate rest time, where he has access to a few toys but isn't reliant on your constant attention. We want him to be able to settle at times! Sometimes pups get overtired and can become more bitey as a result. Definitely stop the game if he bites your skin, and try to manage the environment so he doesn't have access to furniture that he might chew. Also check out root chews made for dogs – they can be so great for dogs that need something to chew on!

  17. Hello! I have a 1yo Bull Arab that is super mouthy. She get super mouthy when she is excited, when we just got home after a long day and greet her, when she wants to play. We do not encourage the behavior and always correct her. She understands and stops, or go and get herself a toy for me to play with her. But next day everything is the same. She is super gentle and has never hurt us, so I am not worried about it anymore. I hope she grows out of it slowly. I dont think we have a reason to worry?

    1. This sounds like more of an annoying behavior than one I'd be concerned about. I would suggest finding a way to prevent her from accessing you when you first get home – for example, put a baby gate up that blocks her access to the door, or have her crated. Then wait until she calms down before entering, and have a toy that you can give her right as you enter. The key is preventing her from practicing the mouthing behavior, and teach her something appropriate to do instead!

  18. I have 8 months old malamute who bites and pulls my clothes when he needs attention for play. I take him for walks 2 hours a day and play games with him after the walk. He seems to be wanting to play from 4 pm to 8 pm. I try to tire play with him till 4-6pm, however as soon as i stop he wants more. These days he has been biting me almost every day and i end up with blue marks atleast 3 times a week. Not sure what to do?

    1. It sounds like you may be giving your pup TOO much stimulation! He has to learn to self-entertain. Create a confinement space like a playpen and fill it with a few favorite toys. Give him a 30 minute walk, some playtime, and then require a rest period in the confinement area.

  19. Hello, thanks for this really helpful post. We have a 10 month old cavapoochon. He loves people and other dogs. He has always been really mouthy and none of the puppy training tips , shouting ouch, removing yourself, ignoring have ever worked to stop the behaviour. When he bites us at home we put him in his playpen but it's difficult on walks as he bites our legs and hands. The only way to stop the biting is to pick him up and carry him! The children and I have cuts all over our legs. It's quite depressing really…

    1. It sounds like you guys have been trying all the right things! It might be worth working with a professional to help get this under control. We would be happy to work with you virtually, or I can provide a referral locally to you.

  20. We have an 8 month old poodle sheepdog mix and we have been having trouble with her biting since we got her. There are times she is so lovable and she just always want to be with us but she gets in these modes where she bites us and jumps on us. We can’t even take her on walks anymore because she will randomly jump up on us and bite us. We have tried everything to stop and we are getting worried because she is now 8 months. What should we try or do?

    1. I'm so sorry you're going through this! It's very typical for adolescent dogs to have wild spurts like this – it DOES get better, I promise! I would suggest walking her on a Freedom Harness or similar front-clip harness, and then use the leash to keep her away from you if she starts the biting. Be sure you aren't walking her for too long; sometimes pups start the biting/jumping because they are getting tired.

  21. Hi I have a 6 month old miniature dachshund and he been biting since we got him at 8 weeks old now that his adult teeth have come out his bites are alot harder we have tried everything to stop him from biting but nothing is working. He now has started to lick and bite his own private part and when I try to stop him he growls and bites really hard. Hope you can help.

  22. I have a 6 month old border collie, hes become very defiant and his biting is becoming an issue. Especially when he is being told No! He is a non working collie, however we are aware he is a natural herding dog so these tenancies can be harder to deal with. He gets walked at least twice a day, we have tried positive reward training, we have tried time out behind a stair gate, puzzle boards to stimulate him. Do you have any further advice? We are in the process at looking at 1-1 dog training, but until we find someone can you help?

    1. Try using a flirt pole (there are some details in the blog about which one to get and how to use it.) This can be one of the most game-changing things to add to the routine of a working breed dog, especially a hiding breed. Also be aware that by telling him "no" when he bites, you are likely reinforcing the behavior – at this age, all attention is good attention! If you need a referral for your area, let me know where you're located and I'm happy to get you a qualified referral.

  23. We have a 11 month toy poodle who is still biting every evening during the ‘witching hour’ as we call it when he just wants to play & zoom around. We have tried all the tips previously mentioned but he just isn’t calming down. He gets plenty of walks & stimulation and also time to rest during the day. When we ignore him he resorts to pawing us with his nails which really hurts.
    We’ve been patient as we’ve been told he will grow out of it, but when? I’m worried he’s going to really hurt our baby granddaughter if we don’t stop this behaviour.

    1. At this point, you're likely just looking at a habit to break! I would recommend really filling those physical and mental stimulation needs in the afternoon, and then preemptively confine him to a playpen during what would normally be his witching hour. This is not a punishment – just management. Give him a Kong stuffed with some peanut butter and enjoy a peaceful evening! Make this your evening routine for a few weeks, until he learns this new habit.

  24. I have a 3.5 month old Yorkie who has recently started to get really hyper in the evenings after his dinner and starts to jump up and down and nip at my clothes and then eventually gets at my arm or hands and won’t let go of them! Is this something to be concerned about? What would you recommend we do? I’m worried one day it might be something more serious.

    1. This is totally normal at this age! These are called frenetic random activity periods, or FRAPs, and are a common way young puppies dispel energy. Feel free to remove yourself from the room when the behavior first starts, and let him work that energy out on a toy instead!

  25. Hello, I have a 8 month old Mountain Cur mix. She is so sweet, but she likes to bite. Everytime I enter the room she lays down at my feet and starts biting my ankles. I try to get away, but she locks her body around me which makes it difficult. I originally started walking away and ignoring her when she started biting. Sometimes she'll stop, but most times she follows me and bites any part of me she can get her mouth on. She has plenty of toys, goes on 2 walks a day, and I spend and hour everyday training/playing with her, but doesn't seem to tire. I don't like to leave her alone because most of her self-entertainment consists of ripping her toys and bedding apart. What should I do?

    1. That does sound frustrating! I would suggest a leash inside the house (supervised) so that you can immediately stop the behavior when it's starting. It sounds like she definitely falls into the category of being intrinsically reinforced by the biting. DEFINITELY get that flirt pole and use it a few times a day. That can make a huge difference! Lastly, I would suggest required rest periods for her – she should be sleeping a significant part of the day at this age, and may be overtired. She needs to learn to self-entertain, and rest. If you next extra help, a virtual session could be extremely beneficial!

  26. Just wanted to say thank you for such great advice in the comment section! I have a 9 month old rescue mix that I suspect has herding in his genes so the struggle has been real! But it's very reassuring to read others going through the same thing. I learned that my boy will have a biting outburst when he's overstimulated so I immediately put distance between us and have him sit or lie down until he's calm (and I am too!)

  27. We have acquired a puppy that someone just dumped off at a truck stop. We think he is a pit black lab mix. No clue on age but guessing around 12 weeks? He eats solid foods just fine. He’s potty trained. When we get home we are taking him to the vet for shots etc. We think maybe he was dumped because he literally chews and bites everything, including and especially us. Aggressively. Constantly. Every single second he is awake. If you try to touch him or pet him he bites. If you yelp because he’s bit too hard he comes back harder. If you tell him no he comes back harder. If you turn away to ignore him he comes at you. My arms are shredded, he ripped my finger open almost bad enough to need a stitch or two. He chews on every single thing he gets near. I am not even sure how to cope with this. And we’ve only had him two days. I have never seen a puppy this aggressive about chewing and biting. It’s like he has zero manners and received zero input or discipline from his dam and siblings. Obviously we know nothing of his history as he was dumped off and left to fend for himself. I am going to talk with the vet about it when we get home next week for her input on it, but I would like to know yours as well. We drive a truck over the road so we can’t get there any sooner. Yes he will be traveling in the truck with us.

    1. This does sound extreme! My guess would be malnourishment and likely intestinal parasites – we often see EXTREME biting in puppies with these underlying issues. Your vet will be able to run the appropriate screenings for this. I bet once he's feeling 100%, you'll have a different puppy on your hands!

      1. We think he’s been wormed. When he poos there’s no evidence of any parasites in it. He doesn’t seem underweight either. He really does seem healthy. He is just very bitey. But we shall see what the vet says.

  28. Hello. We have a 13 week old cocker spaniel although i think she is a cross because she is 2x the size of a usual cocker puppy who is very bitey.
    She lunges and bites and bites our faces arms hands and will jump up and evan bit our bums!
    She gets lots of excersize,mental stimulation,good food and sleep and love but its all she wants to do.
    She evan will just be lying there and out of the blue pounce and bite my young children!
    Is this aggression or is this normal puppy play.
    She has started to growl and snap at my chikdren if they go close to her while she is sleeping or chewing on a meaty chew. They are very calm around her and dont do the usual children tugging tails type things.

    1. The first part you described is normal – I'm concerned about the growling and snapping you've described at the end, as this doesn't fall into the realm of a developmental phase. I would suggest enlisting the help of a qualified professional to help. Feel free to reach out to us, or let me know your general location and I can find a referral for your area.

  29. Do you have any tips for when my dog does this on a leashed walk? I've got a 65 lb 8 month Pyrenees mix. She'll start jumping up biting at the leash and our hands if she doesn't get her way (we won't let her meet another dog, won't let her eat something on the ground etc), so at least we know the trigger. We've tried the ignoring technique with some success, but being on a leash, we can't 100% ignore her.

    1. We have the same problem with our Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees. I can get her to sit for a short period but goes back to biting leash and flipping herself all around. I have been practicing the self calming by stepping on her leash as close as I CAN GET TO HER COLLAR AND IGNORING HER, SHE EVENTUALLY CALMS AND LIES DOWN, BUT IF SHE IS TEMPTED BY A PASSER BY, A BIRD OR SQUIRREL SHE CAN PULL ME OFF THE LEASH AND START ALL OVER. SHE IS 7 MONTHS AND WEIGHS ABOUT 57 LBS IS GETTING VERY STRONG. OTHERWISE SHE IS VERY SWEET.

  30. I have a 9 month old black lab rescue. We have had her for around 3 months now. She does really enjoy sometimes chasing my 7 year old son and nipping at his arms and legs which does look like play. The issue is if the puppy is on the couch or bed and my son goes to try and pet her she will snap at him or bark. More recently she has starting actually making contact with him skin and biting. She doesn’t do this to any of the adults in the household but has barked at my 14 year olds when she doesn’t want to be bothered on the couch when she’s sleeping. She’s never tried to bite them though. It’s mainly the 7 year old and I am concerned her biting could be aggression. When we got her we were told she did have some possible fear aggression due to not being treated well. She’s a wonderful, sweet dog except for this situation but I am concerned that her biting could get worse with my son. Please advise, thank you!

    1. Due to a child being involved, I would absolutely suggest the guidance of a professional here. We are happy to work with you virtually, or can provide a referral in your area.

  31. I have a 7 month old German Shepherd Saint Bernese Coonhound Mix and he is constantly biting and whining.. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks

  32. I have an 18 month old golden retriever. We have always tried to discourage mouthing as he just loves to take old of our arms and try to drag us like a toy. He has 3 walks a day, play sessions, goes to doggy daycare two days a week, and spends a day a week with his breeder. He is so excited when I pick him up from the breeder, he latched into my arm. I have tried turning away but he is big and persistent and it does hurt. At home I try to replace my arm with a toy and we play a lot of tug games. Any advice. The breeder has tried to discourage him too by saying “gentle” and pressing his mouth against his teeth so he realises it hurts.

    1. It sounds like you're doing an excellent job of providing appropriate outlets for energy and natural drives. Be sure you are removing him swiftly so he doesn't get the enjoyment of staying on the bite – it can be difficult with a large dog, so he may need to wear a leash for several weeks when supervised with you. We can absolutely help you virtually if you need extra help!

  33. Oh God help me …I am 78 and have a nine month old Bichon…that bites when I walk. I just fell walking him. Help me please I am exhausted.

  34. My 1yr old Chihuahua mix is constantly biting me during the day. She nips she will give me a kiss and then will bite my hand or arm. When will the biting stop?

    1. This sounds a bit different than play biting – I'd suggest enlisting the help of a professional. Feel free to reach out to us about our virtual session options, or I'm happy to provide a referral for an in-person trainer in your area!

  35. I have a 11 month old German shepherd/coonhound mix. He also has some cattle dog & pit mix in there as well. He is really into biting hard. He leaves bruises on my skin. I guess we reinforced his biting but I am learning. He does so well when I’m moving around doing stuff. The moment I sit down he’ll bite me hard. He won’t let me relax. If I won’t let him do something he will bite me & even randomly bite me if he is biting his toy. Idk if I haven’t been consistent enough with getting up & leaving but he’ll bite me all the way until I get behind a door. I recently started using a gate again, it helped a little but I’m so tired of the biting.

    1. I definitely suggest the use of some sort of barrier – you could also tether him to a piece of sturdy furniture nearby when you're ready to sit down and relax. It sounds like he hasn't learned how to settle yet in those situations, so it's important to set up the environment so that he can't practice the biting behavior. At 11 months, you're definitely beyond the puppy biting phase. Hang in there!

  36. I have a 7 mo. old shelter rescue puppy. He's a lab mix that I adopted 3 weeks ago. My local shelter rescued him from a high-kill shelter out of state. No one knows his history. Aside from his coming up from behind me and jumping and biting, he's a very affectionate puppy. He has no other behavior problems. I've tried to ignore his biting and jumping by disengaging (turning my back, being silent, tucking my arms), but he continues to bite the backs of my legs. When we're inside, I leave the room 7ntil he calms down. The big problem is that he does this when we are out for walks. It's always on our way home. He used the jump and bite his leash until I replaced it with a metal chain leash. Now he bites me instead! Yesterday and again today, he wouldn't stop biting and jumping until I literally wrestled him to the ground and held him down until he was calm. Once he calmed down, we continued on our walk home without any issues. He's 42 lbs and has very sharp teeth. I'm afraid he's going to hurt me! I give him lots of attention during the day, plenty of walks, and Kong and chew toys to keep him entertained. Please tell me what else I can do!

    1. For walks, try shortening the duration of the walk – this can sometimes happen when dogs are getting overly tired on the walk. I would also recommend using the leash to hold him away from you when these episodes begin – any sort of pushing or talking from you could serve to reinforce the behavior, so use the leash to give you the opportunity to not react and to move along once he calms down.

  37. I have an 8 month old german shepherd puppy. We only got her when she was 5 months old and she has a horrible habit of biting constantly! I have been trying to do basic obedience training with her, and I walk her everyday but when she is in the house she still tends to be very hyper. Rubbing her or playing with her always turns into biting, and walking away or correcting her only makes her bite more. If I try to walk away or ignore her she bites my feet as I am walking away. I believe it is all for attention, but it is very difficult to stop giving her attention when she is biting my feet! What should I do?

    1. Shepherds are going to fall under that category of being "intrinsically motivated" by biting – any movement or reaction for you only serves to make the behavior more fun. Try utilizing a flirt pole and/or some tug games to get your pup an appropriate outlet for those natural drives, and utilize some management options in the house like a baby gate or a leash to prevent her from accessing you during those times she's getting bitey.

  38. I have a 10 month old 70 pound pitbull german shepard mix. We did start the no biting training early. The problems we have is when he gives kisses he gets overly excited and nips and bites in the process most of the time he realizes it and stops puts his head down and calms himself. The other is play time often times its because he goes for the toy and misses, again he usually realizes what he does and puts his head down and stops for a moment. Im wondering if there is anything more we can do to help him with not biting or if we are on track for him. He is a good listener just has short span for following basic comands right now and we are working on that as well. We do play time inside and out side along with calm outside time. We go on multiple walks a day usually 15 minutes 3x a day. He was recently attacked by another dog and since his behaviors have changed slightly, being more skiddish on walks but still likes other dogs.
    Any info is appriciated.

  39. We have 2 border collie/English Shepherd mix 7 month old brother sister. We have a flirt pole but read it can't be used until they're a year bc of the jumping? Our issues are the girl bites hard still no matter we try to walk away fold arms etc..She almost seems to enjoy it as We've tried the yelp (enticed her more) She'll bark and act like it's a game…the boy does not but he jumps up and even giving him sit command, he wont listen right away. They can be super good and I train them together on stay, wait, sit etc…it's mostly coming down in the morning and over stimulation. We've tried saying no jump as ignoring just makes them almost knock us over! They also both jump to pull clothing, Is that normal at this age and they'll outgrow or is it becoming ingrained? I play fetch with the boy for over an hour ttl. The girl isn't as interested and prefers to chill out after playing a little but. We've tried tug toys too. We've been told since they're a herding breed they'll just outgrow it. Thank you!

    1. Definitely very normal for an adolescent border collie/English shepherd mix! Herding breeds tend to be mouthier during this age period. With the flirt pole, as long as you keep the toy on the ground and run it along like a little rodent, you'll be able to minimize any wear and tear on the joints 🙂

  40. Tried out these suggestions with our very sweet, well trained 8 month old boxer mix. She has her moments where she thinks playing rough will get our attention and a fun game of chase, definitely something we accidentally reinforced without thinking. This article helped me to look at which of her needs weren't being totally met (needed more driven play/chase time i.e flirt pole) and where we were making mistakes to reinforce behavior we didn't want to see. Leaving the room was the key! When she gets over/under stimulated and decides to act out a bit, very similar to some of the other commenters here (described as rowdy/rude play) we just leave the room. Not sure why we didn't think of it before but we are so grateful for this info. The consistency of leaving the room and if we are outside, not responding and crossing our arms/turning away has almost all-together in a week resolved the issue. Also that flirt pole, such a great suggestion! We will keep up with these methods in her training 🙂 Thank you!


    1. It's rare (although not impossible) for a puppy to display true aggression at 4.5 months old. I would suggest contacting a qualified professional in your area to review their body language and help you determine exactly what's going on. In the meantime, it's likely safest to keep them separated since it's such a large size difference. If you need a referral for your area, please don't hesitate to reach out!

  42. Hi, I was wondering if I could have some advise/opinion. I have a 6 month old golden retriever puppy who is my assistance dog in training, we have an amazing bond and he is my life saver, but we are still struggling with biting and chewing. When he gets exitable he often starts chewing/biting and it really hurts now he’s big, he does sometimes grow and snarl and jump up at me when he’s really hyper and chewy. He is a lovely calm puppy the rest of the day when he is not bity and when he working he is amazing too. He mainly starts biting after he’s been asleep a long time and has woken up and then been full of energy or when someone hypes him up by accident. He has lots of walks and enrichment and training and chew toys. I do think I have reacted the wrong way to his biting since he was a small pup so I am going to try my best to cross my arms and ignore him now. I have ran away, shouted (not at him because it hurt and I struggle with emotions myself) and I always use my hands to try and get him off me as it’s the least hurting places he can bite but I figured that is likely the problem and I have probably caused this. I was just wondering if you think his biting sounds like play/aggression ect and once I try and ignore him will he learn to not get like this?

    1. Everything you're describing is well within the realm of normal for an adolescent retriever pup! Turning and blocking his advances with the side of your body will be much more successful than using your hands or voice, as that does tend to fire these sorts of pups up 🙂 You're doing a great job! Hang in there and you should start seeing fast improvement.

  43. I adopted a Bluetick Coonhound and he is now 5 months. He nips and bites. Plays very rough. He does not like to be pet. He does obey a handful of commands and is fully house trained. He is a great puppy but the nipping is out of control. He gets so excited and then that's it, non-stop nipping. I tried the techniques above but it's still nip city. He has even nipped at my toddler. My main concern is the nipping at everyone's face. I know it's only play but I am also a first time dog owner so it's a little scary.

    1. All of this sounds within the realm of normal for his age, but I would definitely suggest professional help to ensure there isn't anything additional that needs to be done. We can work with you virtually, or I'm happy to send an in-person referral for your area!

  44. I'm really struggling. We're fostering a 1.5 year lab x and were warned about some mouthy behaviour when excited. However, it isn't always limited to exciting times. She'll just walk up to me and start mouthing my legs, and at 50lbs she leaves quite a bruise. When we're playing she'll drop the toy and grab my ankle or foot instead and start to tug, and then won't be interested in the toy as a distraction. We've tried yelping, teaching 'gentle' and she will 'leave it' if I see any warning signs. I know we should try not giving attention when it happens but that's easier said than done when it hurts like that!

    I know these things aren't learned over night, but I'm finding it hard to be patient when I'm scared to be alone with her because we don't have a reliable way of calling her off.

    Any advice is hugely appreciated.

    1. I know this is so challenging! I would implement the use of a leash so you can interrupt this behavior as quickly as possible. The goal is that the behavior doesn't elicit a big reaction including fast movement, high pitched sounds, etc as this will reinforce the behavior. Also be sure to provide lots of opportunities for him to use his mouth in an appropriate way (tug, flirt pole, etc).

  45. I have all the biting issues in my 9 month 25%GSD/ 11%chihouha plus 22 other breeds cross plus excessive digging, begging for food and barking for attention. We are retired and at home with him 24/7 plus we have another lively nine year old dog who is smaller -he has lots of toys and i try to play but his biting is painful on my arthritic hands so i back off as you suggest but this is not stopping it happening the next time etc. I am a good walker and could take him to our beach, river park or fields but he wont walk anywhere but a circle within about 500 yards of the house so i cant burn off his energy. We are close to giving up as it is too exhausting and the two dogs tease and fight a lot. I am not sure who is the worst but my Yorkie spayed girl was always very gentle before we got the rescue puppy at 5 months old. What can we do? We've been advised not to get him castrated as he is so sensitive to noises and cautious about his walks. He is fine with some dogs on lead but not others.

    1. I would definitely suggest enlisting the help of a qualified professional – we are happy to work with you virtually, or if you let me know your area I can find an in-person referral for you.

  46. I have a nearly 8 month old golden retriever who I think has really hit adolescence, she used to be able to sit quite calmly in the house, now she digs at and chews the sofa, when I try to tell her no she barks and continues to do it, using the leash to pull her away doesn’t always help and she has become more mouthy with me as well. Any advice? She has a range of chew toys and when I try to redirect her to them she ignores and continues chewing the sofa but seems to be getting more agitated. I don’t want to just ignore the behaviour as I don’t want my sofa destroyed! Thanks

    1. I would first check to ensure she's eating enough – check your food and ensure she's getting the amount recommended per day for her weight and age, and split it over three meals per day until a year of age. (After that, 2 meals a day is fine.) We see many adolescent issues resolving by adjusting feeding schedules and amounts. It's also very possible she's about to go into heat!

  47. I have an almost 7 month mastiff mix puppy. He still does the biting but he usually is playing for toy and then will go for the feet. To walk to the gate without drama is near impossible as it really hurts and he continues to bite your feet and ankles as you are walking to the gate.
    He is also quite bitey outside when redirected away from something he wants to do. Or digging in the yard…it’s winter here and we don’t have a sand box to dig in yet (digging is just an example) he will make a growly sound, jump up and bite our arm, legs, feet, butt, and again, to get into the house, is almost impossible without getting hurt. I just worry that he’s being aggressive as it’s not usually playful.
    He’s very strong and is only getting stronger. We have bruises all over our feet, legs and arms. What do we do?

    1. This definitely sounds like a case where professional help is warranted, as that second scenario could be something beyond play. Feel free to reach out to us as we do offer virtual instruction, or we can offer a referral in your area!

  48. My puppy is an 8 month old cattle dog. She only does biting behaviors in the house on occasion. As she has gotten older a lot of that behavior has dissipated. the biting is done in our backyard and is all ankle biting. We do not have a fence so she goes out by retractable leash. She mainly does the behavior towards me. She is much better with my husband. When she does the behavior it can be very painful and sometimes she doesn't connect the fact that I am ignoring her behavior. Because she doesn't recognize the fact that I am ignoring her she keeps going. I want to know what I can do for her to see I am ignoring her because waiting for her to figure it out can be painful. I have ignored her, brought out a different toy to distract her, tried a shorter leash, tried putting my leg up and she will still go after me at times. She has improved but it is not where I want it to be. Is this concerning behavior or typical? I know cattle dogs can be ankle biters. Any other ideas?

    1. This is definitely normal behavior for a herding breed, although I know it's incredibly unpleasant! I would suggest utilizing a flirt pole to help give her an appropriate outlet for these drives. You can also try removing yourself from the situation as soon as she starts up (I would have a leash on her so you can safely get away). Our goal is that she realizes this behavior causes you to leave – the opposite of what she wants.

  49. I have a 18 month old Golden Retriever who is a very good boy at home. We walk him twice everyday. We also have some training sessions. He plays with a food dispensing ball which almost drains off his energy. Both Physically and mentally. My problem is when we go on a walk he bites me a lot. Everyday after he is done with his business he just turns around and jumps on me and starts biting me. Sometimes when people walk pass us he starts biting me. He bites me if people ignore him and also when they pet him and go away. Its very difficult for me to turn around and ignore him. If I ignore him he starts biting my legs. I hold the leash and the collar sometimes. But I feel this is not a permanent solution. He does it more with me than my husband. Most interesting thing is he stops jumping and biting as soon as we enter the house. Even the garage. I took him for 6 week training program but it did not help. Please help me understand what can I do to stop him from biting me. Thank you.

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