Dog Nipping and Biting
Blog / 03/24/2013

Dog Nipping and Biting Nipping – the playful biting and mouthing of your hands and clothes by your dog – is particularly common among puppies, but can also occur in older dogs that haven’t been taught proper bite inhibition. It’s natural for dogs to mouth and nip. They explore the world using their mouths – to a dog, his mouth is as important as eyes and hands are to us. Nipping is very different from true aggression: it’s a form of communication, interaction, exploration, and play. From birth, pups use their mouths to explore the den, their mother, and their littermates. From a few weeks old, they use their mouths to play with their siblings: puppies play by biting and mouthing each other. Some adult dogs – usually, those with owners who encourage rough play, or who were removed from the litter at too early an age – retain these same tendencies to nip during play and in moments of emotional duress. Sibling play is actually how young pups learn a very important lesson, called bite inhibition. If a puppy bites another puppy too hard, the other pup yelps loudly in pain and stops playing with him. This teaches the…