You’ve brought home your Poodle, the newest family member, and of course, you adore them. Who wouldn’t? Everything is going so well, and you couldn’t imagine your life without them.
Except for the biting. The mouthy biting and chewing are set to drive you crazy, but it’s okay. The good news is that biting is an entirely normal development process for Poodles, just like other breeds.
You could be experiencing Poodle biting issues for various reasons, but you can correct them with time, patience, and a few tips to get you by. So buckle up; we’ll talk about the why’s and how to get you and your pup on a harmonious track.
Reasons for Poodle Biting
First, let’s dive into what your Poodle puppy is biting. There are several reasons for that; they boil down to the following:
Each of these reasons is perfectly normal and to be expected! You’re not alone in your experiences. To help you understand, I’ll explain each further.
When it comes to a young dog’s development, exploration is a crucial stage. Your Poodle will spend time picking up all sorts of things in their mouth, discovering what tastes good, and learning about different textures.
Unfortunately, sometimes that means they will want to explore you as well.
You’ve probably heard of teething in young children, but you may be surprised to learn that this happens in puppies too. The teething process starts at around two weeks and can last several months. During this period, your puppy will use chewing to try and alleviate the pain and discomfort from their adult teeth coming in.
Puppies are masters of exploration and experimentation. They want to learn everything about the world and have fun doing it. If they’re not provided with adequate opportunities to develop their growing senses, they’ll start to make their own fun. Unfortunately, that fun can manifest in unwanted Poodle biting.
If your Poodle seems bored, you can try some doggy puzzles to help engage their mind.
Puppies love attention, and they’re not too picky about how they get it. Occasionally a puppy will learn that if they nip or bite your hands, you’ll react. Attempts to discipline sometimes result in unintentionally rewarding the negative behavior, which just encourages them to do it more. Occasionally a puppy will learn that if they nip or bite your hands, you’ll react.
When it comes to the Poodle, some of their mouthiness can be attributed to their heritage. Poodles were used in hunting to retrieve game animals. This background makes it unsurprising that young Poodles would have a penchant for trying things out with their mouth.
It may take several months for puppies to work out what’s appropriate for them to bite and chew on. Poodle Mixes like Labradoodles and Goldendoodles also can have issues with biting.
When Does Poodle Biting Stop
For the average puppy, you should see the biting slowly drop off as they get older. Around 7 to 8 months of age, teething is complete, and all of their adult teeth are in.
If you’re seeing this behavior persist and not drop off, you should step in and try to correct the behavior.
How to Prevent Poodle Biting
When it comes to preventing Poodle puppies from biting, you’ll want to figure out the root of the trouble. There are remedies for teething issues as well as behavioral.
Soothing Teething Issues
If your puppy is seriously affected by their teething issues, you may be able to treat their pain and discomfort. These actions should lead to your Poodle choosing to bite and gnaw on you less and improve their mood overall.
Food and Treats
A frozen treat or frozen wet dog food can do wonders to soothe your dog’s aching gums. They’ll be able to satisfy their urge to bite and chew while providing safe pain relief.
There are several teething toys available in pet stores and online. Some of these even have a texture to encourage their sense of exploration and keep them entertained. By chewing something durable and made for this activity, they’ll be able to exercise their teething urges.
Poodles are super smart and need a lot of engagement, so the toys do double duty!
You can find certain oils online or in stores meant to numb or soothe the gums. I recommend you speak with your veterinarian before trying them on your puppy. They may have their own recommendations or discourage it entirely.
Discourage Play Biting
Before your puppy gets too old, you’ll want to discourage any biting that’s happening as a result of play. Of course, you’ll want to be careful here because you don’t want to encourage negative behavior accidentally.
Even puppies need to learn boundaries. If your Poodle were still with their littermates, they’d learn these boundaries through play. Since they aren’t, this is now your job.
When your puppy bites you, you can try the following:
- Stop playing, and wait for the biting to stop.
- Reacting with a startled ouch or sound of pain to signal this isn’t fun.
- Change to another activity.
When your puppy has turned to play biting for fun, it can be helpful to redirect the behavior to something else. Stop allowing the puppy to play with your hand, and try playing with a toy instead. Give your Poodle something else to put in their mouth that’s more appropriate.
Whenever your puppy attempts to bite your hand to play, immediately say “No,” firmly. You’ll need to do this every time your Poodle tries to play this way. You can reward positive mouth behavior by praising them when they play with a toy instead.
Another route that you should try is socialization with other dogs. After all, your puppy would have learned many of their boundaries and appropriate behavior from playing with their littermates and parents.
By setting up doggy playdates with other dogs, they can learn what’s okay and what’s not from older dogs or other puppies.
Professional Dog Training
Addressing Poodle biting from the beginning, whether from play biting or teething-related issues, should help stop the behavior. But every puppy and set of circumstances is different. If your puppy is particularly stubborn, it could be helpful to reach out to a professional dog trainer.
Kit’s note: Online training programs like Spirit Dog Training are a more affordable starting point (I did the leash pulling program and it worked, which was an absolute bargain vs actual dog training classes).
These experts will be able to give you feedback on not only your dog but on you as well. Sometimes owners are inconsistent and don’t even realize it.
Congratulations! You’ve brought a lovely puppy into your home that will bring heaps of joy to your life. Along the way, you may experience undesirable behavior such as Poodle biting.
But biting is a totally normal phase of life for your puppy and every other puppy. With consistent training and attention to your puppy’s comfort, you can help them through this transformative time in their life.
Remember to keep your puppy engaged with plenty of toys and activities to stave off boredom, offer them some cool soothing treats for sore gums, and deter negative behavior before it becomes a habit.
If you can keep those things in mind, you’ll be okay. And if your dog is a little more headstrong than the rest? You’ll still be okay! Reach out to a professional dog trainer to get yourself onto the right path.
Raising a Poodle is a marvelous adventure, and this is only the beginning.