How to discourage excessive mouthing
- Provide adequate toys and encourage the puppy to direct biting to those. If the puppy becomes too mouthy, give the puppy a short time out (ignore for a few seconds) and then redirect the puppy to a toy.
- Provide adequate mental stimulation in the form of enrichment games and training.
- Teach puppies to “sit” on cue early (using positive reinforcement) so the owner has a desirable behavioral outlet to provide the puppy’s need for attention and reinforcement.
- Use confinement as needed to aid training. Train puppies on leash or on tethers so the owner can step just far enough away from the puppy that he/she does not inadvertently reinforce the puppy for biting (e.g. by pushing at the puppy with his/her hands)
- Keep play sessions within an acceptable level of excitement – i.e. the puppy can calm down quickly if the owner stops playing. Also the puppy should be able to stay focused on the initial toy or game. If the puppy’s excitement starts uncontrollably “bleeding out” to other nearby things (household items, the owner’s body or clothes), then the owner should stop the play session.
- Enroll the puppy in a good puppy class prior to 14 weeks age so that owners can learn appropriate intervention techniques