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Lab puppies love to use their mouths—but they must be taught how to use their teeth gently.
It’s natural to cringe when a puppy bites, but before you teach your Lab puppy not to bite, teach him that when he does bite, he should bite down gently without much pressure.
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This is called bite inhibition, and it is essential to your dog’s socialization. It is not difficult to teach but does require consistency and commitment, even for first-time dog owners. Using bite inhibition will help prevent your Labrador Retriever from biting.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Lab Puppies Bite?
- Train your Labrador puppy bite inhibition
- Teaching Your Lab Puppy Not to Bite
- How to stop Lab puppy from biting
- Learn what triggers your Lab puppy to mouth
- Redirect your Lab puppy’s attention using chew toys
- End Playtime
- Make sure your Labrador is getting the proper amount of exercise
- Use Positive Reinforcement
- Try Puppy Socialization Classes
- Put them in a time-out
- Offer quiet time or a potty break
- Being consistent
- What if all of this doesn’t work?
- Biting and Nipping in Adult Labrador Dogs
Why Do Lab Puppies Bite?
It’s normal for Lab puppies to play and explore with their teeth; This is how they learn about the world, and it’s an essential part of their socialization. Puppies will chew on everything when they’re teething.
Here are a few reasons why Lab puppies bite.
Exploring the World
Lab puppies learn by biting, including biting other puppies, their owners, and everything they find; This provides them with the opportunity to explore the world around them and develop an understanding of how they fit into it.
The puppy may keep biting the object, depending on whether it is soft or hard.
It is common for Lab puppies to bite or chew on things (like remote controls, shoes, furniture, crate, etc.) in their environment as they explore their new home.
What to Do if Your Lab Puppy’s Chewing Your Belongings
Make sure you give your puppy a wide variety of Lab puppy toys to chew on and pick up other household items your puppy could accidentally chew on.
When you see your puppy chewing on inappropriate objects around the house, distract them with an appropriate chew toy.
Give your Lab puppy plenty of mental stimulation during scheduled play sessions and exercise. If you don’t give them enough to do, they can become bored and prone to chewing random objects.
Puppies play with each other by enticement. One puppy will bow, making it easier for the other to bite them. When puppies chew each other, they learn a skill: how hard they can bite before it hurts “bite inhibition.”
Play biting is essential for puppies—they learn to apply the proper amount of pressure with their teeth and how their actions affect another animal.
For instance, let’s say that Puppy Lucy and Puppy Max are playing together. When Lucy bites too hard and hurts Max, Puppy Max will cry out and refuse to play with Lucy. He may even move away from Lucy.
Puppy Lucy learns that the other puppies will not want to play with her if she bites too hard. So Lucy makes her bites less hard so that the other puppies will still want to play.
Some puppies learn quickly after only one play session, while other puppies require multiple play sessions with various dogs before they know to soften their bite.
When your puppy bites you during play, please take it as a good sign that he is trying to engage with you. But teach him that biting hurts by saying “Ouch!” and then stopping the game.
What to Do if Your Labrador Puppy’s Biting You to Play
It would help if you never encouraged your Lab puppy to nip at you by enticing them to chase your hands. As your dog grows up, its teeth will get sharper—, and the bite that may have once seemed harmless when the puppy was young will turn into a painful bite.
If your puppy bites during play, make a yelping noise and stop playing with your puppy. Walk away from your puppy and close the door – especially if your Lab puppy is persistent in its behavior.
Do this every time your Lab puppy bites you, and he will learn not to bite you. Without this feedback, your dog will not learn not to bite as they play with you.
When puppies are around 12-16 weeks old, their puppy teeth start to fall out, and their adult teeth grow in. They may chew a lot on objects or you during this time because their gums may be sore as they lose their puppy teeth.
What to Do if Your Lab Puppy’s Teething
It would help if you offered a puppy teething toy when the puppy starts teething. These toys make sore gums feel better, and they are made with softer plastic so they won’t hurt the puppy teeth or adult teeth that are coming in.
Supervise your Lab puppy when they play with any toys to keep them from swallowing small pieces.
Train your Labrador puppy bite inhibition
Why Teach Bite Inhibition?
All dogs have the potential to bite. As a Labrador owner, you can reduce that risk by training your dog to respond to commands. In the end, you want your adult dog to respond to commands without putting too much pressure on someone; This means teaching your puppy bite inhibition early on.
Teach your Lab puppy bite inhibition
Bite inhibition is a skill that all dogs need to learn. If they’re in pain or frightened, they shouldn’t bite down hard when they put their mouths on you or someone else.
Puppies bite each other while playing. If a puppy bites too hard on another puppy or a dog, the other dog or puppy will yelp, which teaches the nipping puppy that it has bitten too hard.
You can also teach this by making a high-pitched “ow!” sound if they bite you. Just be careful because many puppies respond to this by biting more. It is best to ignore your Lab puppy and walk away when this happens. If you can, gently put the pup in their crate for a few minutes to calm them down. When they calm down, give them a treat and lots of praise.
Teaching Your Lab Puppy Not to Bite
When your puppy uses its mouth gently during play sessions, you need to begin cutting back on how often your Lab puppy can nip and bite. You don’t want the cute little bundle of fur in front of you growing up to be a chewer.
Things to avoid when teaching your Lab puppy not to bite
- Don’t play biting with your fingers. Eventually, you don’t want to teach your Lab puppy that biting people is an appropriate way of interacting. As your Labrador grows, this habit can be very unpleasant and painful.
- Don’t use high-pitched squealing or similar noises to signal to your Lab puppy that they have hurt you – this tends to excite puppies and encourage more biting.
- When your Lab puppy plays and bites, don’t punish them; This might frighten them and make them lose trust in you. Instead, try to understand why your dog is doing it, then show them that it’s okay by rewarding appropriate behavior.
How to stop Lab puppy from biting
Teaching a Labrador puppy not to bite requires a lot of patience and a willingness to learn about the way the puppy communicates. For example, if he bites during playtime, don’t hit him on the nose with your finger—this will only confuse him.
Instead, try saying “no!” loudly, then walk away from him. If that doesn’t work, try giving him a toy he can chew on; this will give him an outlet for his energy.
Learn what triggers your Lab puppy to mouth
Try keeping a diary of the time and circumstances that are most likely to trigger your puppy’s biting or mouthing. This will help you give them an appropriate outlet for their frustrations and make it less likely they’ll be left with no other option than biting or mouthing.
Maybe offering toys when he’s awake will cut down on the mouthing and biting. A long-lasting chew might help keep him busy if he’s bored or needs some downtime.
Redirect your Lab puppy’s attention using chew toys
When your Lab puppy has calmed down, talk to him and stroke him gently. Keep your hand away from his mouth. Use toys instead of hands to get your puppy engaged. Play fetch with your puppy, toss the toys away from you, and use the puppy’s prey drive for positive fun. You can use toys to reward or motivate your dog when you train him or as a break from the training sessions itself, and keeping your hands away from his mouth will prevent him from biting them.
When your Lab puppy bites while playing, make sure they know that playtime is over. Don’t make exceptions.
While yelling at or punishing your puppy for nipping may seem like a way to get your point across, they may learn that biting is a means of getting attention rather than understanding that biting is unacceptable behavior.
Instead, put your puppy down and walk away. Put your hands in your pockets: this will make you seem physically smaller, sending a message to the puppy that they no longer have your attention.
This will clarify to the puppy that their behaviors impact your attention and need to stop the habits that cause you to walk away from them.
Make sure your Labrador is getting the proper amount of exercise
Don’t neglect your Lab puppy’s mental and physical stimulation during the day. Make sure your puppy has plenty of opportunities to run, play, explore and learn about the world around them. Bored puppies tend to play-bite more than stimulated puppies.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Train your Lab puppy with positive reinforcement. When your puppy listens to a command, reward him with a treat and praise him. Rewarding him for choosing appropriate teething toys rather than your shoes will ensure that he displays the proper behavior in the future.
Try Puppy Socialization Classes
Taking a puppy to socialization classes can also play an important part in their education.
They learn how to interact with puppies of different breeds, sexes, and sizes at puppy class. Puppies are trained in a controlled environment where they know what is and isn’t acceptable from interactions with other puppies.
Put them in a time-out
Puppies often nip because they get overstimulated and overexcited and aren’t sure how to calm themselves down.
When your Lab puppy bites you or anyone else, remove him and place him in his crate or another room to calm down. This teaches him that biting means, he loses your attention and allows him to self-soothe, two things all puppies need to learn.
Offer quiet time or a potty break
Sometimes, when a puppy nips or bites, they’re just tired. Leave your Lab in a crate or a quiet room alone to sleep. Other times, they might need to go potty or be thirsty or hungry.
Training takes time and commitment. But if you’re patient and consistent, you can teach your Labrador what behavior is preferred. When it comes to stopping bad habits like biting, it is essential to be patient and consistent in your corrections and rewards. Then you’ll be on the right track toward a well-trained dog.
What if all of this doesn’t work?
If your puppy bites persistently, attach a lightweight lead to his collar so that you can easily lead him to another room behind a stair gate for a short time when the puppy misbehaves.
When your Lab puppy mouths you too hard, pick up the end of his lead and take him to a calm area. Leave him there for no longer than 20 seconds. Repeat this process until he is quiet enough to join you again. Avoid using a crate for this training as it should be a safe space for relaxing.
Your Lab will eventually learn that biting can stop you from giving him your attention. See our tips on helping your puppy through this phase, and remember that some puppies just have bad days. Also, keep in mind that mouthing is normal behavior for a puppy, and most puppies stop by the time they are nine to 12 weeks old.
Biting and Nipping in Adult Labrador Dogs
Teaching your Lab puppy bite inhibition is easier when you start early on. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with an adult dog who may cause bruising and abrasions or punctures.
If you do not teach your labrador bite inhibition and provide appropriate chew toys for them, they may grow into a more challenging adolescent dog.
However, you can still teach your dog bite inhibition when he is older through training. You can train these same concepts to older dogs that have not learned bite inhibition as puppies.
If your adult or adolescent dog bites you hard enough to break the skin, seek help from a behavior specialist.
One common mistake owners make is to punish the puppy for biting. This might work as a quick fix, but it isn’t a long-term solution. Punishment doesn’t teach the puppy bite inhibition—it only teaches the puppy to stop biting at that moment.
You and your family must be aware of the training style and methods to implement them effectively; This will create an environment where your Lab puppy can learn bite inhibition in various situations, as reinforcement is necessary daily.