Nipping: Young puppies typically will try to mouth or nip especially between 8 and 12 weeks of age. You need to find out who the dog is nipping and when so that we can better understand why it is happening.
Is someone rough housing with the puppy, or keeping hands in their face?
Typically puppies nip more when excited or in play. If a puppy is nipping when you try to pet him, then don’t touch him. Just move your hands away. Don’t try to reprimand or punish the dog for nipping. It will only make things worse. If the dog is allowed to mouth hands then he will continue to do so. If we prevent the dog from mouthing hands then the behaviour goes away because it is not being rewarded with attention.
You can also replace your hand with a toy, and then praise the dog for taking the toy. I suggest waving the toy in the dog’s face and then throw it away from you to get the the dog to move away from you. If nothing is working and the dog is getting more excited and only wants to mouth you, then give the puppy a 10 minute time out. Time outs can be in a crate or another room.
If you are concerned about using the crate as a time out, then lure the dog with a treat into the crate and then close the door. The dog will not have a negative association with the crate if you use a treat to encourage him into the crate.
No rough housing with the puppy or excitable play because it will encourage the dog to nip.
Always use a toy in play so the dog does not bite hands. No tug of war because it will increase the bite strength of the dog and encourage the dog to compete with you for the toy. Nipping should decrease significantly by 16 weeks of age. If it doesn’t then someone is perpetuating it by rough housing or keeping hands in the dogs face.
For more information on how to stop your puppy from nipping visit our Puppy Socializing and Obedience page.