It’s common for poodles to bite while in the puppy stage. This habit is referred to as “play biting” and commonly happens during puppy teething. However, it’s also quite common among adult poodles. And if you own a poodle, you know how annoying it is to have a dog constantly biting on your fingers.
Fortunately, it’s possible to stop your poodle from biting. While it won’t happen overnight, you can get him there by employing these ten easy tips:
- Teach Bite Inhibition
- Implement Consequences
- Invest in Chew Toys
- Teach Proper Leash Practices
- Keep Your Poodle Calm
- Anticipate Your Poodle’s Needs
- Reinforce Positive Behavior
- Establish Yourself as the Leader of the Pack
- Avoid Physical Punishment
- Socialize Your Poodle
You can’t afford to ignore your poodle’s biting behavior because if it progresses to adulthood, your dog may start biting indiscriminately. For this reason, it’s crucial to nip the habit in the bud as soon as you notice it. This article is a comprehensive guide on how to go about it. Let’s jump right in?
Top 10 Tips to Help Stop a Biting Poodle
There are plenty of reasons why your poodle may have started biting. It’s therefore, crucial to determine the cause of biting before deciding on an appropriate course of action. If you’re not sure why your poodle is biting, I would recommend consulting your vet before the intervention.
Once you’ve figured out the reason why your poodle is biting, you can utilize the tips below. Don’t be afraid to combine these tips to get the most out of your training sessions. So let’s learn what you can do to help eliminate this unacceptable habit.
1. Teach Bite Inhibition
As I’ve mentioned, your poodle won’t stop biting overnight. For this reason, it’s essential to foster good habits before you stop biting completely. One way to control your dog’s biting is to teach them bite inhibition.
Bite inhibition refers to the process of teaching your poodle how to control the intensity of their bite. It’s common for dogs to bite each other as a social practice. The dog will bite other puppies or their mum while they’re playing. If the bite is too hard, the mother or other dogs will let out a yelp to indicate that the bite was painful.
You can do this as well when trying to teach bite inhibition. When the poodle bites too hard, scream or let out a high-pitched “ouch” to indicate to the dog that the bite was painful. However, you should know that this may aggravate some puppies and make the biting even worse.
Therefore, proceed with caution and try different alternatives when this doesn’t work. Alternatively, you can hire a dog trainer to teach bite inhibition if you’re not confident to do it yourself.
A great behavioral training course can really help when teaching bite inhibition to your dog. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here
3. Anticipate Your Poodle’s Needs
It’s hard to stop your poodle from biting when you play along with their bad habit. For instance, if you’re playing with your dog and he bites and you ignore it, he won’t consider biting a bad thing. As a result, it’s more likely that your dog will continue with this bad habit.
It’s different when you introduce consequences. Take the same example. If you’re playing and your poodle bites, you can end playtime and take your dog to his or her crate. When this happens consistently, your poodle will start associating biting with an end to things they like.
Your poodle is more likely to stop his bad behavior to get more playtime, treats, or anything else you decide to take from them when they bite. This process is known as negative reinforcement. However, you need to be careful not to go overboard with the punishment.
Don’t yell or hit the dog when they bite because they don’t know any better. It’s your job to teach them how to differentiate wrong and right through proper training.
3. Invest in Chew Toys
It’s also advisable to give your poodle an alternative. If the dog is constantly biting on your fingers and feet around the house, consider giving them something different to chew on. Chew toys are excellent for dogs, especially in the teething stage because they calm the dog’s sore gums.
Below are some of the best poodle chew toys on the market you should consider found on Amazon:
- BUIBIIU Dog Toys: This is an assortment of chew toys designed for small dogs like poodles and Chihuahuas.
- Benebone Real Bacon Durable Wishbone: The chew toy comes in different sizes and has a bacon flavor. Furthermore, it’s lightweight, which makes it the perfect choice for small dogs.
- Nylabone Puppy Teething & Soothing Flexible Chew Toy Chicken Flavor: This chew toy not only has an incredible chicken flavor your dog will love but also cleans and freshens your dog’s breath.
- Good Buy Toys 10-Pack Chew Toys: The package includes an assortment of non-toxic chew toys that your dog will enjoy.
- Nylabone Flavor Frenzy Power Chew Triple Pack: This is another excellent option if you’re looking for a toy with flavor that also has soothing capabilities.
I recently wrote this article on the best toys for poodles. In it, you’ll find much more on the best toys for your poodle in every stage of his life.
4. Teach Proper Leash Practices
Poodles don’t just bite while they’re playing. It’s also common for them to bite or pounce on your feet during walks. If you’re noticed this happening a lot, a good trick to stop the habit is to dangle a nice treat next to your feet while walking the poodle.
With this approach, your poodle will be more attracted to the treat and is less likely to pounce on you. This method is also beneficial when you’re trying to teach your dog good leash habits. However, if you decide to go with this method, you need to be careful when you give them treats because you don’t want to reinforce incorrect behavior.
For instance, it’s best to avoid using the treat right after the dog has pounced on your feet. If you do this, chances are your dog will relate pouncing on your feet with the treat and keep doing it. The best approach is to try dangling the treat at the start of your walks to train them on the correct positioning and not as a way to encourage any behavior.
5. Keep Your Poodle Calm
Dogs also bite when they’re stressed out, tired, or anxious. If you notice that your dog is cranky, throwing tantrums, and can’t stop biting, there’s a great likelihood the dog is tired or anxious. The best solution for this is to give the dog some time to relax and calm down.
One way to do this is to take the dog to their crate and give them some alone time. When there’s nothing to aggravate the dog further, they’ll probably settle down and won’t bite as much when they’re out of the crate.
However, it’s crucial to ensure the dog doesn’t start associating their crate with punishments. You can prevent this from happening by choosing different spots for their cool-down sessions.
6. Anticipate Your Poodle’s Needs
It’s also essential to study your poodle and know when he tends to bite. Does it happen when the dog has been indoors all day? Does your poodle bite only in the presence of other dogs? Or does it happen all the time?
If he bites when they’ve been indoors all day and keeps biting even when you give them toys to chew on, chances are he has some pent-up of energy and is looking to release it. The solution for this is to take the dog outside and allow them to run around for a while. Alternatively, you can walk your poodle to give some much-needed exercise.
Dogs that bite in the presence of other dogs may be marking their territory or be threatened by the other dogs. This happens if the dog is not properly socialized and doesn’t hang out with other dogs often. You can gradually stop this habit by socializing your dog so he gets used to other dogs.
7. Reinforce Positive Behavior
While training your poodle to stop biting, it’s also crucial to reinforce the habits you want them to adopt. Whenever your dog is calm and relaxed, give him or her a treat and follow that with some praise like “good dog”. When you do this, your dog will start to understand which good habits earn them treats and may be motivated to show positive behaviors more often.
What’s more, your dog will be in a better position to differentiate good from bad behaviors because the bad behavior will not result in a treat. Again, this will make it more likely for you to achieve success and get your poodle to stop biting.
8. Establish Yourself as the Leader of the Pack
If your poodle is no longer a puppy but keeps biting, you’re going to need to establish some authority. You can’t let your poodle have it their way because doing so encourages tantrums and biting. To ensure your dog behaves well, you need to establish structure.
Let the dog know that you will walk, play, with or feed them when it’s time to do so and not when they want to. When you do so, your poodle will be more likely to pick up basic commands and obey. It’s the same with biting.
A dog that obeys you is more likely to stop this bad habit faster as compared to a dog that doesn’t recognize authority. Therefore, aim to start teaching your poodle that you’re the authority in the home from the moment they’re puppies. Waiting longer will only make it harder for the new practices to stick. As they say, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.
9. Avoid Physical Punishment
There’s no doubt that a biting dog is downright annoying. And the pain from the bite isn’t a walk in the park either. It’s, therefore, understandable why you’d want to hit your dog when they bite you. However, as painful as the bite may be, fight the temptation to hit your furry friend.
Physical punishment stresses the dog out and may cause even more aggression, thereby making the biting worse. If you’ve tried everything and your dog still won’t stop biting, consider speaking to your veterinarian or hire a trainer.
A professional is in a better position to advise you on the best way forward. Besides, they’ll know exactly what to do to nip the behavior in the bud.
10. Socialize Your Poodle
Dogs that rarely get the opportunity to hang out with other dogs may also tend to bite a lot. You see, biting is in every dog’s nature. They bite each other while playing as a way of socializing and also attack by biting if they feel threatened by the other dogs’ presence.
For this reason, it’s important to socialize your dog between 3 and 12 weeks of age. At this stage in their life, poodles are in a better position to adopt different habits because they don’t know any better. Waiting longer than this can make it harder to socialize your dog.
However, if your poodle is already matured and you didn’t have enough time to socialize him or her at a younger age, it’s still possible to do it but it will take more training and time.
There are several ways you can socialize your poodle to prevent biting. These include:
- Enrolling for a puppy class
- Hanging out at dog parks
- Walking your dog often in areas you’re likely to run into other dogs
- Exposing your dog to different social activities involving other dogs
- Having play dates with your friends’ dogs
Do Poodles Tend to Bite?
If this is your first time owning a poodle, this may be among the questions going through your mind. Like most dog breeds, poodles tend to bite a lot in the puppy stage. In fact, poodles are known to have a higher tendency of biting as compared to other dog breeds.
However, the good news is, with proper training, it’s possible to stop your poodle from biting completely. This said it’s crucial to determine the cause of the biting before you pick a cause of action. This way, you’ll know how to approach the training and you’re more likely to be successful.
Why Do Poodles Bite?
So why do poodles bite anyway? If you’ve not owned a dog before, it’s easy to assume your dog is being aggressive for no reason and snap at them when it happens. Don’t do this. There’s a high chance that punishment will only make the habit worse.
Poodles bite for several different reasons:
During the teething stage, it’s quite common for your poodle to start biting and nipping on things. Your dog does this to control his bite strength. If he doesn’t have toys to chew on, he may bite onto the nearest object, even your fingers!
Seeking Attention or Aggression
It’s also possible your dog is bitting as a way of expressing aggression, or even as a way of getting your attention to get you to meet his needs in some way. This type of biting is common when the dog feels ignored.
Furthermore, biting is a way for the dog to explore and join the social life of other dogs. And if the poodle doesn’t have other dogs around, when their instinct to bite is triggered, they’ll bit you.
Biting is also a self-defense reflex for dogs. If for some reason the pup feels he’s in some sort of danger, he may attack by biting. This also happens when his territory is invaded by other puppies or adult dogs. In such a case, biting is their way of defending their territory.
Poodles are Naturally Stubborn
Another possible cause for biting in poodles is lack of training. Many owners adopt a poodle as an accessory. They’re meant to be cute pets that lie around the house and play with their owners
For this reason, poodles can be more stubborn and unresponsive than some other dog breeds. Combined with their impressive intellect, it’s not surprising that poodles will test your authority by biting you once in a while.
And if he isn’t getting enough exercise, this combined with inadequate training may lead to anxiety which in turn leads to biting.
Biting is normal for poodles, especially in the puppy stage. During this time, your dog is teething and looking for anything to bite on to soothe their sore gums. Your poodle may also be biting due to aggression, as a way of seeking attention or simply exhibiting normal dog behavior.
Therefore, the best approach is to determine why it’s happening and come up with an effective solution to the problem. Utilize the tips mentioned in this article to help stop your poodle from biting. If you try all the DIY steps and nothing works, consider hiring a behavioral specialist or certified trainer. Working with an expert will make the process easier and increase your chances of success.