So, it seems like you weren’t told that your new, most cherished puppy would go from cute and cuddly, to bitey piranha in a flash.

You’re not the only one going through this – snappy puppies are something that almost every puppy owner goes through. But before you have no shoes left, we’ve written this handy ‘how to stop puppy biting’ article that will help you reduce that biting in as little as five days.

Let us be frank though – teaching your puppy not to bite is not the most fun.  It can be painful (never underestimate those sharp, tiny teeth) and frustrating at times. But for this one you’ll just have to bite the bullet (ironic) and stay consistent and patient like you’ve done so far. The nipping and biting will stop one day, we promise! 

PRO TIP: Teaching your puppy not to bite you should be one of the first things you teach them – especially if you have children! 

Wouldn’t want your children to pick up on your puppy’s habits and start biting you too. Just joking, but it will be important for their safety. 

Why is my puppy biting me?

Your puppy is biting you because it’s normal for them to do. When they were around their littermates, being mouthy and nippy was the way they interacted with each other – so being moved from there into your home, they now have to learn the new rule of ‘no biting humans’.

Also, puppies don’t have hands like us (newsflash) – so they use their mouths and sharp teeth to explore everything. Baby Shark springs to mind…

How to stop puppy biting
It’s cute, but it hurts.

How to stop your puppy biting you

After seeing your dressing gown cords, swishy skirts and dresses, flappy trouser legs ripped to shreds, we fully understand you asking this question.  

Here’s your solution: When you’re in the moment, with what feels like an alligator on your arm, the best method to get you out of a jam is to redirect your puppy onto a toy – simple as that. 

What we want to accomplish, is to teach our puppy to ‘bite this’ (a toy), and not ‘not this’ (hands, toes, or clothes). This can be done by adding this step-by-step guide to your puppy training schedule.

Here’s how to stop the puppy biting:

Step 1: Stop the biting with a tug toy

Before you walk in to see your bitey bundle of joy – sneak that nice tug toy into the back pocket of your jeans.  

Step 2: Whip the tug toy out before they can get you

Before your puppy gets to you, pull the toy out so that they have an appropriate object to have in their mouths – not your hands or other body parts!

Step 3: Keep the play gentle

Stay calm – no need to wind them up and encourage biting, just keep it gentle and low key. You can drag the toy along the floor calmly to lure them in a little more. This will help your puppy want to stay on the ground, and be less encouraged to jump up.

Step 4: Use your imagination to stop the puppy biting

If it didn’t go quite right, and your puppy is already biting you again, here’s what you can do:

  • Make the toy come to life: Puppies like things that move away from them, make weird noises or that spring in surprising ways. Drag it on the floor and make your best impression of peacock noises to get your puppy interested. Be persistent!

PRO TIP: Puppies aren’t really into having toys shoved in their face, so let’s not do that. 

Step 5: Prevent puppy biting with lots of praise!

Give your puppy lots of gentle praise when they choose to bite the toy – job well done. 

Step 6: If all else fails – stand still

If they carry on biting, stand very still so that you’re no longer a moving target – we’re sorry but this may hurt. But it WILL get better with practice! 

Pro Tip: If you’ve got a bit of an ankle biter,  we recommend wearing Wellies or boots inside to protect yourself. It can actually be quite hard to shake them off (as you would expect from a baby crocodile) – as they’ll think you’re playing a game, and shaking off can make the biting worse. 

8 Top tips to reduce puppy biting by checking your puppy’s lifestyle.

To stop puppy biting, we first need to make sure all of your puppy’s basic needs are met. Here’s a checklist of things you (and they) will need to help you give your puppy the perfect anti bite lifestyle.

A good night’s sleep to stop puppy biting

Puppies should sleep between 18-20 hours of the day! I know it sounds a lot, but they have to recharge those batteries. Otherwise, they can get restless and end up biting to let it all out.


As your puppy grows, they’ll need to eat more. They don’t always tell you that in the books, so it’s a good idea to check how much you’re feeding them.

PRO TIP: If their teeth are sore, they also might not want to eat much. Moisten the food with a bit of water so it’s gentle for them to eat instead. You can also spread it on a Lickimat if eating the food wet is more their thing too. 

Not sure if you’re feeding the right amount? Check out our article on how much to feed your puppy – everything you need to know is there. 

A good routine

When it comes to puppies, routines are key. They help puppies learn that the world is reliable and make it easy for them to know what’s coming next – helping them to feel more secure and less stressed about living in it.

We’re also here to help you figure out your puppy’s daily routine – our article here will be a good read.  

Satisfying the need to chew

You know how good it is to scratch an itch. Puppies have the same with biting, especially at 12 weeks. You’ll tell by how much more agitated or irritable they become for wanting to bite everything in their way. They’ve got good reasons for it – their teeth and gums are hurting, and they just don’t know what to do with themselves! To help them out, give them fillable chew toys such as West Paw Toppl or  Squirrel Dudes, and pop some treats in to make them even more toothsome. Pun intended. 

Physical exercise

Adrenaline can be quite the thing that makes your puppy’s jaws go like a woodchipper. Complement high arousal activities such as playing fetch, chasing toys, running in the garden as well as low arousal exercise such as sniffing, swimming and gentle enriching walks to make sure your puppy is not constantly ‘high’ on adrenaline and wanting to shred everything to pieces. 

Mental exercise can stop puppy biting

Enrichment makes up for what your puppy would do in the wild, by tapping in to their breed specific behaviours. It helps puppies to feel mentally fulfilled, essentially. Think about challenging their brains with sniffing, digging, shredding and chewing.

Get training

Training is a basic requirement for your puppy to know how to move around in the world, as well as making your life easier. There aren’t many people who are fans of jumpy dogs, unfortunately. Our guide here has a wide range of professional and certified trainers you can pick from!  

Positive handling

Puppies can learn to bite defensively when they don’t want us to do something like putting on harnesses, collars, coats or picking them up. Handling, of course, will be a huge part of their lives, so practice lots with many food treats so that they enjoy as much of it as they can. 

How to stop puppy biting

What else can I do to help reduce puppy biting?

Need more advice? Good, we have plenty more on how to stop puppy biting. Read on: 

Don’t tell them off

We know puppy biting can be really hard and hurt a lot. But getting cross will make your puppy more frustrated, and won’t be so effective at making them learn what we want them to do.  

No biting? Reward

In case of any positive interactions that happen where biting isn’t involved – focus on giving them lots of positive feedback and giving them treats.

PRO TIP: Rewards are also for when your puppy licks your hands instead of biting them. Sloppy puppy kisses for the win.

No rough playing or wrestling

We know there is little that is more fun than playing rough with dogs. But for now, wrestling will definitely increase puppy biting – we couldn’t guarantee it more. Save it for when they’re older!

Keep temptations away

Tie your hair up, and avoid wearing appealing clothes that may encourage your puppy into biting such as  long skirts or swishy trousers. You’ll be able to pick up your fashion sense in no time, don’t worry. 

Training to stop puppy biting

Teach them all the good stuff about hand touches, and how to take treats nicely (unlike a hungry piranha). For more information on training, make sure to go on the Zigzag app – all of the best bits are there in one place 

Teething Gel

Teething Gel is magical in helping to soothe your puppy’s sore gums. 

Controlled Play Sessions

A calm adult dog can teach your puppy all about bite inhibition in a language that they can actually understand. If they bite another dog too hard, play will quickly stop, and no more fun will mean a lesson learned. Puppy classes can be great for providing a safe space to do this – click here to know how to choose a puppy class.

What toys should I use to stop puppy biting?

Long soft tug toys are great. They give us distance between those needle teeth and our hands, whilst being gentle on our puppy’s sore gums.

PRO TIP: Puppies are generally keen on toys that simulate hunting, pouncing and chasing that are also soft on their mouths. This is also why chasing dressing gown cords or nibbling cushions is considered a delicacy in their eyes. Just keep that in mind when they’re hanging off you first thing – they’re just practicing natural behaviours!

I like to make my own tug toys (it’s far cheaper) and have lots dotted around the house so that they’re readily available before and when there’s a biting attack! In the Zigzag app, we show you how to make your own plaited fleece tug toys…then we can match and be friends. 

My puppy is biting me hard! What should I do?

Hard puppy biting is often linked to frustration and over-arousal (not the kind of naughty arousal – I just mean hyped up). If this happens, go back to the checklist at the beginning and see what can be improved to help your puppy, maybe they need more:

Prevent puppy biting with sleep:

This is a big one. You may need to really enforce nap times and try to get them into a routine – using a crate or playpen is great for this.  

Mental Stimulation:

Depending on their breed, they might need to be stimulated differently. Does your terrier need to dig or chase? Maybe your spaniel needs more sniffy games?

Physical Exercise:

Low arousal activities that still tire them out are better than high arousal ones which will increase adrenaline – your puppy is way too young to become an adrenaline junkie.

Chew toys can stop puppy biting:

  • Frozen chew toys (especially with treats inside) are great to give them something crunchy to chew on and soothe those gums.

Training to stop the puppy bites:

  • You might need to go back to the drawing board. Work out what you want your puppy to do instead of biting you (like biting another toy), and train them to do that instead. 
How to stop puppy biting
A squeaky ball? Triggered.

FAQs on how to stop puppy biting

What are good chew toys for teething to stop puppy biting?

Nylabone Teething Keys: A firm fave at the ZigZag HQ. They look like actual baby teethers…if having a fur baby is your thing.
Buffalo Horn: These are made from keratin, so they’re gentler on teeth than bone or antler. But they also last a long time, and you can also stuff the hollow ones with food.
Yak Chews: Made from Himalayan Yak Milk, these are a hit for most puppies.
Ice Bone: These are great for sticking into the freezer for glorious days of soothing sore gums.  

Should I yelp to stop my puppy biting me?

Meh, we used to do that in the old days. The logic was that if we squealed (pretending like we got hurt), puppies would inhibit their bite, and learn to mouth gently.

But today, we see a couple of problems with this:

We’re not dogs, we’re humans:  Thank you Captain Obvious. That being said, are we really teaching them not to bite hard by them practicing on our hands?
Can be thought of as a good game: For a lot of puppies, something that squeaks as they give a bite can make them go even more bonkers. 

So after putting in some thought and testing, we found that teaching through redirection and making sure our puppy’s needs are met first is much, much faster and efficient to stop a puppy from biting..

However, for some puppies an ‘ow’ and then removing your attention can be a good trick, so take it on a case-by-case basis and do what’s right for your puppy.  They’re all different!

I want to stop my puppy biting, but what is bite inhibition?

Bite inhibition is where a dog learns to bite to a certain pressure without damaging or breaking the skin. 

Puppies learn this from their mother usually – if they bite too hard when feeding, she’ll get up and walk off. Their littermates can teach them too, by squealing and ending the game.  

Is puppy biting a sign of an aggressive dog?

Nope, puppy biting is not at all a sign of aggression. Biting is just a regular part of your puppy growing up and learning about the world. Don’t panic – no need to start thinking about sending them to army school.

Are some breeds of puppies more bitey than others?


Some breeds, such as Labradors, are grabbier and mouthier because they simply like to hold things in their mouths. 

Others such as Border Collies are bred to nip at sheep to get them to move, so it’s no surprise they can be more ankle bitey. Check out our guide for tips on training a Border Collie cutie.

Terriers like to rag and hang off things – sorry bingo wings, it’ll all be over soon.

How long will  stopping a puppy from biting take?

If you’re consistent and patient, you will notice a huge difference in puppy biting in as little as 5 days. 

Giving your puppy the right lifestyle, identifying when the zoomies are coming, pre-empting those biting sessions, and always being proactive about giving them a toy to bite on will work  wonders in trying to stop those puppy bites. 

Just try it and see. 

If you’d like more information on biting or guidance, our experts on the Zigzag app will always be happy to have a chat. Why not check out our obedience puppy training guide next, for more useful tips? And remember that you can download the whole Zigzag puppy training app for the whole shebang,