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Teaching Your Puppy To Have A Soft Mouth: How To Stop Nipping In 4 Steps

Teaching Your Puppy To Have A Soft Mouth: How To Stop Nipping In 4 Steps

Teaching Your Puppy To Have A Soft Mouth: How To Stop Nipping In 4 Steps

Does your pup's playful nipping ever get out of control? If so, it can be frustrating for both of you. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop the behavior and teach your pup to have a soft mouth. Learn all about it in this article!

Introduction: Why it is important to teach your puppy not to nip

One of the most important things you can do when you bring a new puppy home is to teach them not to nip. It may seem like harmless fun at first, but those tiny teeth can really hurt, and it's important to nip this behavior in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.

There are a few different reasons why puppies nip. Puppies don't have thumbs, so they put things in their mouths to learn.  For some, it's simply playful exploration. Others may be teething and find that gnawing on your fingers or toes feels good on their gums. And for others still, nipping may be a sign of excitement or anxiety.

Whatever the reason behind your puppy's nipping, there are a few things you can do to stop it. First, provide your pup with plenty of chew toys to help redirect their chewing behavior. When they do start to nip, say "no" firmly and offer them a toy instead. We don't recommend squirting them with water or using light restraints (like placing your hand over their muzzle) to discourage nipping behavior as it is not effective. You want to teach them what TO DO, so don't focus on the what not to do. 

With patience and consistency, you can teach your puppy not to nip and help them develop into a well-mannered adult dog.

Step 1: Understand Your Puppy’s Needs

Puppies are bitey. It's their way of exploring the world and can be a natural part of play. However, nipping can become a problem if it's not managed correctly. The first step to managing your puppy's nipping is to understand their needs.

Puppies need:
-Exercise: A tired puppy is a good puppy. Make sure your pup is getting enough physical activity to help burn off excess energy.

- A variety of toys. Puppies need 2 or 3 sets of toys so that you can rotate them and keep their interest. Variety includes toys they can chew, shake, wipe, carry and tug. 

-Stimulation: Puppies get bored easily. Be sure to provide plenty of toys and mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied.-Attention: Puppies crave attention and love companionship. Spend quality time with your pup each day to help them feel loved and secure.

If you can meet your puppy's needs, you'll be on the right track to eliminating nipping behavior.

Step 2: Redirect Your Puppy’s Energy

One of the most common reasons puppies nip is because they have too much energy. If your puppy is constantly biting and nipping, it's important to find ways to help them redirect that energy. One way to do this is by providing them with lots of chew toys. This will give them something to focus their energy on instead of you or your family members. You can also try playing fetch or other active games with your puppy to help them burn off some energy. If you can redirect your puppy's energy into positive activities, they will be less likely to nip out of excitement or boredom. Having 2-3 heart thumping exercise sessions each day will help expend your dog's energy. Different breeds require more or less exercise so look into the requirements of the breed of your puppy. 

Step 3: Teach “Soft Mouth” Rules and Commands

One of the most important things you can do to stop your puppy from nipping is to teach them "soft mouth" rules and commands. This means that your puppy should learn that they need to be gentle with their teeth when they are around people and other animals. You can start by teaching your puppy basic commands such as "sit," "stay," and "come." As your puppy masters these commands, you can begin to add in more specific rules about using their mouths gently. For example, you might say "gentle" or "easy" before your puppy is allowed to take a treat from your hand. You can also use toys and games to help your puppy understand the concept of soft mouth; for instance, you might play tug-of-war using a soft toy instead of a rope. With patience and consistency, you will be able to teach your puppy that it is important to be gentle with their teeth!

Step 4: Use Positive Reinforcement

As your puppy starts to get the hang of not biting so hard, you can begin to use positive reinforcement to further encourage this behavior. Try offering your pup a treat or toy whenever they display gentle mouth pressure. You can also give them extra attention and petting when they play nicely.

It's important to remain consistent with this training, as well as patient. Some puppies may take longer than others to learn how to control their bite, but eventually they will get it with enough practice.


Teaching your puppy to have a soft mouth is essential for building a good relationship with your pup. Following these four steps will help you teach your puppy that nipping and biting are not acceptable behavior and can lead to more positive behaviors in the future. With patience, consistency, rewards, and redirection techniques, you can turn even the most stubborn puppies into well-behaved companions.

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