Being nipped is a fact of life when you bring a puppy into your home. And those sharp teeth can come rather keen at times.
It’s very tempting to want to stop that behaviour as soon as possible and you may even want to tell them off. However preventing play biting or punishing your puppy for this behaviour can lead to problems later on.
Puppies when playing with their mother and litter mates soon learn that biting hard ends any game they are playing. If they spend long enough in this environment, through the feedback they get from their litter mates they quickly learn about being softer with their mouths. This is how they learn the crucial skill of bite inhibition.
The problem is we remove them from their litter mates before they have fully developed this skill.
It then becomes our responsibility to show them how to use their mouths in a soft way.
A dog who has learnt bite inhibition is a much safer dog.
If for some reason they get in a scuffle with another dog, it’s unlikely that they will actually bite.
Likewise if they are put in a situation where they would use their mouth to defend or protect themselves (imagine an injured animal at the vet) again they are unlikely to bite with their full force.
And don’t assume it only applies to large breeds. Any dog can do damage when it bites. So whether you have a Rottweiler or a Yorkshire Terrier here’s a highly informative video that shows you how to teach this skill.