When you’re playing with your puppy and she starts chewing on your hand, chances are she is teething. Puppies that are teething have a developmental issue, not a behavioral issue. It’s the same as when human babies teethe. Tiny needlelike teeth begin to appear when puppies are two to four weeks old. Then, when they’re about three months old, puppies start getting their permanent teeth. This process continues until the puppy is about eight months old. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® Director Mary Burch, Ph.D. offers the following tips on getting your puppy through the teething stage.
- Control the environment. Make sure that you aren’t the only readily available chewable object and puppy-proof your home. Provide a rich assortment of acceptable toys for your puppy to chew on.
- Have an acceptable alternative close by. Keep the toys in places where you can easily reach them so you can quickly offer an acceptable alternative when the puppy feels a need to chew. If your puppy chews you or an inappropriate object (your shoes), give him one of the acceptable toys to chew on.
- Teach your puppy that nipping and biting hard are not okay. If your puppy nips and bites too hard, teach the puppy that this is not okay by ending the interaction. You can pull your hand away, say, “OW!” and leave the puppy for a few minutes. Then try again so your puppy has a chance to act appropriately.