To stop your puppy from biting or nipping at your older dog, interrupt the behavior when it occurs. Put your puppy in timeout each time they bite your older dog. The puppy will quickly learn that such conduct results in separation.
Puppies love to chew and play with anything they can get their paws on, especially when they’re teething and feeling fidgety. If your older dog has become the victim of your puppy’s nipping, chewing, and roughhousing, you may need to step in before the biting escalates to one of them getting injured.
There may be several reasons your puppy is biting your other dog—some less serious than others.
If you are having issues with your puppy biting your older dog, try some of these tips, and remember that puppies can be a lot of work at first, but it’s totally worth it!
1) Establish Roles for Everyone
When introducing a new puppy to your household, it’s crucial that everyone knows their roles and that your older dogs have the respect they should from the younger dog.
In some cases, an aggressive puppy may have been allowed to nip or bite at senior members of their pack. For them to be accepted by your older dog, you’ll need some sort of intervention so they know there are limits and boundaries in how they interact with each other. If not, things could get out of hand quickly, and someone could get seriously hurt.
Establishing roles will help keep everything under control while teaching your puppy what is expected of them when they’re part of your family.
2) Socialize Your Puppy
Socializing your puppy is about exposing it to different experiences so they can learn how to act around other dogs and people, including your older dog.
Spending time with other puppies or adult dogs is one way you can socialize your puppy, but there are a lot of other great ways for them to meet new friends. For example, at your vet’s office, try befriending other dog owners or take your dog with you on errands so they can meet their local buddies.
Another great tip is to make sure all members of your household help socialize your puppy—it’s essential for them to feel comfortable around everyone.
To make sure your puppy is ready to meet other dogs, first take them to a well-trafficked area where they can get used to seeing other people and dogs. You can also take them to training classes where they can interact with other puppies. Although you might want to work up to that—their first class shouldn’t be too overwhelming!
It’s important that you only give your puppy positive experiences during socialization, so they learn how to act around others. If you catch them doing something naughty like biting or mounting, quickly interrupt and distract your dog so they understand it’s not okay.
Make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise. If you have other dogs, take them for walks together. Or, if you’re having trouble walking two dogs at once, consider enrolling your older dog in doggy daycare. Spending lots of time outside with other animals will help them get used to dealing with others!
3) Supervise Your Dogs During Play Time
Supervising your puppy during playtime with your older dog can help to ensure that there are no mishaps and no biting involved.
When playing with an older and larger dog, it’s important to ensure your puppy isn’t being too rough. By keeping an eye on them as they play, you can make sure that if your puppy starts nipping at their ears or tail, you can tell them to stop.
It’s okay for puppies to nibble as long as they’re not trying to hurt each other. If your older dog makes angry noises or backs away from the puppy, they probably don’t want them nipping any longer.
It’s also a good idea to separate your puppy from an older dog that doesn’t seem interested in playing, as sometimes older dogs might not be as playful or energetic as younger ones.
As long as you supervise them and don’t let things get out of hand, there’s no reason an older dog and puppy can’t enjoy each other’s company.
4) Train Proper Behavior and Minimize Aggression
Don’t worry if you’re having an issue with your older dog snapping at or biting your puppy. While it may seem like they are getting along fine most of the time, dogs spend most of their day talking to each other through subtle body language that humans cannot interpret.
So when a play session turns into a scuffle, even well-behaved pups can end up making poor choices in a matter of seconds. To help prevent these misunderstandings from happening in the first place, make sure both dogs get plenty of regular exercise and training on appropriate social behavior—from obedience class to off-leash playdates.
Be sure to train your puppy early on what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. If your pup is allowed to be aggressive towards other dogs, their aggression will only worsen as they get older.
Remember that training positive behavior is easier when dealing with a young dog than an adult one! Put in some work now, and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.
5) Invest in a Dog Trainer
Hire a dog trainer if you’ve exhausted your options and can’t seem to stop your puppy from biting your older dog.
Get professional help from someone with experience in resolving behavioral issues between pets in households before addressing it yourself. Small mistakes can lead to big trouble down the road once your canine companion is fully grown. At that point, some conflicts can seem impossible to solve.
Why is My Puppy Biting My Older Dog Anyway?
There are several reasons your puppy may bite your older dog. Some of these include playfulness, insecurity, fear, or boredom. Your puppy could also have learned that they will get more attention or become more attached to you or others in your family if they bite.
Regardless of why the biting is happening, you need to stop it as soon as possible as the biting can lead to injury.
Remember, a little nipping isn’t always a big deal. It could just be how your two dogs are playing with each other. However, you will want to take action if your puppy is biting out of aggression, and especially if it’s causing aggression in your older dog in return.
Some dogs are genetically more likely to be aggressive, but it is usually because of their upbringing. Aggressive behavior can also develop through learning, such as if another dog bit them or somehow hurt them.
There are many ways to correct your puppy’s bad habit of biting their older brother/sister. You can try different techniques until you find what works best for your household.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.