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Why I Love Puppies That Bite

By Anne Taguchi | Last Updated: September 19, 2021

Those needle teeth in those snappy little jaws may drive you crazy and cause some hurt, but I love puppies that bite!

It’s natural for puppies to bite and put everything in their mouths to explore their surroundings. It’s not dominance, and it’s not aggression. In fact, in most cases, it’s quite the opposite, it’s play.

If you observe a litter with their mom, you’ll frequently see pups biting each other and even biting mom. Any pup that bites too hard gets feedback – a screech from a littermate or a correction from mom, and fun time is over. Lesson learned for next time!

Puppies learn about bite inhibition by playing with each other.

And so what does this have to do with your puppy biting you? Well, your puppy isn’t born knowing that your human skin is sensitive! Your puppy’s playfulness and the way he’s hard-wired to explore with his mouth are your opportunities to teach him that his teeth can hurt! 

Your Weimaraner puppy doesn’t have strong jaws when he’s little, but he is actually capable of learning to control of his jaws in a pretty precise way.

I’ve had very bitey young puppies and some that weren’t as bitey, and by far, the bitier the puppy, the better they learned to control their jaws as they get older. Bitey puppies just give you that many more opportunities to give them feedback. And teaching proper bite inhibition will also teach your Weim to be very careful about taking toys and treats from your hands.

Teaching this is easy! When your puppy bites, screech “OUCH!” and quit playing. The screech should not get more intense or louder the more frustrated you get; it should get more intense and loud depending on how hard he bites. Resume playing when he calms down and quits biting.

If he gets more wound up and an “OUCH!” is not enough, try turning your back on your puppy after you screech. And if that doesn’t work, up the ante with drama. “OUCH!” then stop playing, and then leave the room. Slam a door even. What better “punishment” than being ignored by their playmate! Leave him bewildered as to why his playmate left. With repetition and good timing, he will quickly figure out what made his playmate go away.

Remember, the harder the bite, the bigger the punishment. Do not let the level of your frustration determine the feedback you give!

The more you do this, the more bite inhibition will become a reflex. And the more this is ingrained in your Weim, the better the outcome when he accidentally hits skin when taking food or a toy from your hand, or in a panic situation when he might lash out due to pain or fear.

So use those biting opportunities when they come up, and you’ll soon be like me and prefer them biting a lot when they are little!

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About Anne Taguchi

Surviving life with Weims!

11 responses to “Why I Love Puppies That Bite”

  1. Meredith Wadsworth says:

    Agree completely! I think the mouthier a puppy is the better! Dogs need to learn how to control their mouths around other dogs, but also around people and the only way they learn that is by practice. Great article!

  2. Wendy Laigne-Stuart says:

    None of mine have been bitey at all, until I bought a girl in from another line. She was so bad, I thought she was part shark! My adults who were not bitey pups have lovely soft mouths, but then the ex-shark seems to have, too. She is just a bit more OTT that the others!

  3. Javier says:

    I’ve been trying the screaching method on my 9 week old puppy, out of nowhere he’ll start to bite my arm and growl and when I scream OUCH! he’ll get even more worked up, leaving the room doesn’t work either, he’ll be gentle for a few seconds and then start again, any advice????

    thank you!

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      If your puppy is crate trained, you might want to try using it as a “time out.” The idea is to get him to calm down and also to teach some negative consequences to his behavior without squashing his trust in you or your being too hard on the puppy. Biting puppies are playing and exploring with their mouths so you don’t want to come down too hard on them, but rather let them know that it is inappropriate behavior. Another idea is to redirect the biting to a toy. I have a 16 week old right now that is a biting maniac and the toy redirection works well for her.

      • Cyndi says:

        My 16-week-old Weim gets into “bite mode” at times where it seems all she can do is bite arms, hands, legs, clothing, anything she can get her mouth on . . . Freezing and screeching “ouch” doesn’t help with her. She thinks any vocalization is part of playing and gets more excited. We have tried leaving the room, but that can be a little hard to do when you cannot make it to the door without more damage to the skin and clothing. Everyone in the house carries a toy and redirects. That helps a little. Also, if she grabs clothing, we don’t pull back, but move the arm/leg towards her to release the tension. If we pull back at all (and it is hard not to reflexively sometimes), then it is a fun game of tug for her on the clothing and self-rewarding. (And, there goes the sleeve on an expensive jacket.) And, we have also noticed prevention works better. She tends to get in this mode when she is either hungry or overtired or something is wrong. So, when the redirection isn’t working, I go through the checklist in my mind- Is she tired? Hungry? Does she need to go outside? Did she get enough energy out on walks today?

  4. surreptitious says:

    I have had issues with my 17 week old weim. He is such a love and likes to play, but he tramples us on the sofa with sharp claws and bites. His biting sometimes turns into growling and barking at us. I was worried he had a disease or something a time or two. He does try though, I taught him sit and lay down. He often will lay down, head in lap, when in trouble and try not to bite, during which time he looks tormented as though he is having a hard time controlling himself. His heavily armed jaws will tremble and stop as they open wanting to bite and then close jerkily. funny though, I have found that a long, low, drawn out Noooooo, Nooo works better than loud or angry. We also use the kennel, but I am worried that too much time out and solo backyard time will be damaging and he won’t socialize properly.

  5. Vanessa says:

    I have a 4 month old weim she is constantly biting and jumping I’ve tried the ouch ingredients, turning my back ignoring her and putting her in a time out. I wonder if it’s because she is in her crate most of the day. Please advise. I have a 5 year old and she is constantly noting and jumping on her.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Yes it is hard to get the behaviors you want if she has some pent up energy from being in her crate all day. It’s also hard for puppies to focus when they have too much energy. In general, if you can exercise her more, you will probably see less biting and jumping in general, which will give you a chance to reward good behavior. And I think your time outs will also be more effective as well.

  6. Emily says:

    I have an 8 week old weimaraner baby. He is so sweet most of the time. When he isn’t sleeping he is often acting like a maniac and gets quite aggressive while playing. He has bitten me and shook his head as if I were a toy. I aldo get a lot of other painful bited during playtime. It hurts! We’ve tried redirecting behavior with toys but if he sees me or my boyfriend he will jump towards us and bite as if we’re better than any toy I could provide. My living room looks like the pet shop toy aisle so I can’t imagine he’s bored. I’ve been taking him on 2 walks daily but I really want to get him to understand that his bites actually hurt. I’ve screeched and firmy said no, left the room, floor, etc. to show him I don’t want to play when he is behaving like that but he doesn’t seem bothered at all. I feel like I am failing my puppy and fear his bites will become dangerous as he grows. I am very hesitant to use the kennel as a timeout/punishment as he is in the process of being kennel trained for when I go back to work in 2 short weeks. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepeted!!!

  7. Dottie says:

    I am having issues with my male Weim who just turned 1 year old. He has started to shove and/or nip me when he gets the “No, down or off” command. It is almost like he is having a temper tantrum. I would also like to note that he only shows this behavior towards me and not my husband or children. I have tried the startled yelp noise, leaving the area and have even held him on down until he calms. Nothing seems to be working. He goes to doggy day care and I never get complaints about his behavior, he seems to save it all for me. I’m only halfway through the Weimaraner terrible twos and tired of being a chew toy. Help!

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