Puppy biting is a very normal behavior. All puppies explore and pay using their mouths and it should not be considered a real problem unless the biting it too hard or continues once the dog has his adult teeth. With a few exceptions, puppy biting dies down naturally as the dog matures. When puppies are singletons (no siblings) and/or when they are taken from their mother and litter-mates prior to 8 weeks of age, they often lack bite inhibition. While we can't help that when they are in puppy class, it might be of interest to you to know why the dog is so mouthy. The puppy biting phase will pass. The following suggestions should help make this transition as quick and painless as possible.
Do not play "hand games" (i.e. waiving fingers in front of puppy's face, wrestling, etc) with the dog until he is mature and has learned not to bite hands.
ALWAYS have an appropriate chew or toy available. Many puppies will bite when being petted or cuddled, therefore it is best to give them a chew before you begin to pet them.
Plan the puppy's exercise during his high energy times. Most dogs get very hyper at some point in the morning and some point in the evening. Puppies tend to do their worst biting episodes (jumping up, nipping, biting, zooming around the house) then. If you can take him for a walk or play fetch during those times, you'll avoid lots of biting. If you can't take him outside to play or walk, having a tug toy available is a great way to keep the puppy from biting at you (or your robe, pj's, etc). Having a tug toy available while walking through the house also helps with puppies that want to bite at your pant legs as you walk.
Always move your hands in a calm, confident manner around your dog. Many dogs will bite at hands if someone is hesitant or jumpy around them.
Never hit/tap/smack the dog's muzzle or hold it closed. This scares some dogs, angers a few, and many think you just playing. Hands around the dog's face should always be a calm, good thing.
If the puppy bites you, squeal loudly in a high-pitched voice, take your hands away, and look away from your puppy. He should back off for a second and get the idea that if he bites too hard he will lose his playmate. This is what another puppy would do (squeal and/or leave), so it will be clear to your puppy. When you begin to play with him again in a few seconds, to to engage him with a toy (long tug toys are good) and keep your hands out of reach. If he is too excited to learn the lesson and continues to bite, get up and walk away (making sure he cannot get in trouble while you're away). You can come back when he's calm and play with him a little later. The situation should also be evaluated to determine why he kept biting and was too excited. Did he get enough exercise that day? Did he get enough mental stimulation that day? Was he hungry? Did he get enough appropriate play? Has someone been allowing biting? Has someone been getting nervous/excited/riled up? The humans need to be calm to keep the puppy calm.
If you have a dog that has his adult teeth, yet continues to play bite, it is usually attention-seeking. While we may give the puppies 2-3 attempts before we walk away for a while, we should instantly correct the adult dogs verbally and take our attention away. All the other guidelines about exercise, appropriate toys, and not hand games would apply as well.
If you need help with your puppy we have a training program for you. We offer obedience classes to help with all types of behavioral issues as well as puppy training. Call The Dog Shop for more information. 281-710-4898