How to Stop a Poodle from Biting
A poodle that bites can be frustrating. The good news? This problem is entirely fixable! Let’s look at why some poodles bite, whether or not poodles should be punished for biting, and all the tricks, tips, and strategies about how to stop a poodle from biting.
Is it Normal for Poodles to Bite?
Yes, it’s normal for poodles to bite. Don’t feel that you’ve done something wrong or that there is something abnormal about your precious poodle if it’s biting. This is entirely normal, particularly for young poodles!
However, just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s something that should continue. Of course, you’ll want to stop your poodle from biting as soon as possible. After all, the longer the behavior continues, the harder it will be to undo!
The first step in stopping your poodle from biting is understanding why it’s biting in the first place.
Why do Poodles Bite?
There are a variety of reasons why poodles bite. You might assume that you simply have an over-aggressive poodle, but this probably isn’t the case.
Here are some common reasons why your poodle may be biting.
- Protective instinct
- Over stimulation
- Lack of exercise
Let’s explore these reasons in a bit more depth.
Your Poodle is Teething
It’s common for poodles to bite or nip at things when it’s teething (approximately around the ages of 4-8 months). If your poodle doesn’t have chew toys, it is liable to bite at, well, anything and everything!
Your Poodle is Exercising its Protective Instinct
If your poodle is biting, it’s possible that it feels threatened or that its territory has been infringed on. Although you may not realize how or why your poodle feels threatened, if your dog senses danger, biting is a common response.
Your Poodle Wants Attention
Maybe your poodle just wants some love but doesn’t know how to get your attention! Somewhere down the line, it figured out that biting does the trick. Obviously, you’ll want to dissuade them from this behavior (don’t worry, I’ll get to how to do that soon!).
Your Poodle is Over Stimulated
Just like your poodle may bite if it isn’t getting enough attention, your poodle may also bite if it’s getting too much attention! If you’re playing with your poodle, especially if you’re playing on the rougher side, it may get over-excited and bite.
Your Poodle Needs Exercise
Your poodle may be biting because it isn’t getting enough exercise. A lack of exercise can cause increased anxiety, making it more likely that your poodle will bite and nip in situations when it otherwise wouldn’t.
What to do if Your Poodle is Biting
The first thing to do if your poodle is biting is to pinpoint the cause of the biting. Refer to the bulleted list above to see if you can figure out the source of the behavior. For instance, if your poodle isn’t getting enough exercise, the solution may be as simple as taking your little friend for longer or more walks!
Likewise, if your poodle is teething, the solution may be as straightforward as providing it with alternative things to bite on that don’t include you!
That said, what if you’re unable to identify the exact cause and are desperate to stop your poodle from biting?
In the next section, we’ll go over the six best ways to stop your poodle from biting for good!
The Best Ways to Stop a Poodle from Biting
In no particular order, here are the six best ways to stop a poodle from biting.
Buy Plenty of Chew Toys!
One of the best things you can do to stop your poodle from biting is to make sure you have plenty of chew toys for it to choose from! This is especially important if your poodle is in the teething stage. If your poodle has plenty of toys to chew on, it’s less likely to bite humans.
Teach Your Poodle How to Control Its Bite Force
Another good tip is teaching your poodle to control how hard it bites. If you’re playing with your poodle and it bites too hard, let out a loud noise like an “ow!” or “hey!” to let them know that this behavior is not acceptable.
Reward Your Poodle’s Good Behavior
One of the most effective ways to change your poodle’s behavior is through positive reinforcement. When your poodle is calm or otherwise behaving well (not biting when you play with it, for instance), reward your poodle with a treat or comforting praise by saying, “that’s a good dog!” or something similar.
Eventually, your poodle will connect the dots and realize that not biting results in a treat or praise. This will go a long way to stop your poodle from biting!
If you want your poodle to stop biting, you’ll need to establish yourself as the authority figure in its life. In other words, your poodle needs to realize that you’re the one who dictates its schedule, such as when it’s time to eat when it’s time to walk, and when it’s time to play.
Once your poodle realizes that you make the rules, it will be much easier to get your poodle to obey your wishes. If you want to stop your poodle from biting, it will be much easier to do once you’ve established that you’re the authority figure in the house!
Bring Your Poodle Around Other Dogs
Another great way to stop your poodle from biting is by encouraging it to play with other dogs. It’s common for dogs to learn to control their bite from playing with other dogs. If they bite too hard, the other dog will act more aggressively, so they quickly learn how to bite and how not to bite when in a play situation.
By spending time around other dogs, your poodle will learn this and transfer that behavior to when it’s playing with you.
Keep Your Poodle Relaxed
Keeping your poodle calm is another excellent way to stop it from biting. If you notice your poodle is over-excited and/or biting, you’ll want to give it a short timeout. You can do this by leaving it alone for a while or putting it in its crate for a short period of time until it calms down.
Once your poodle is calm and relaxed, it’s less likely to bite!
Should You Punish Your Poodle for Biting?
According to Whole Dog Journal, you should never punish your dog for biting. After all, it’s quite normal behavior for a poodle. Instead of punishing your poodle, you should reinforce positive behavior and try the subtle training techniques mentioned in the previous section.
Summary of Tips and Tricks to Stop Your Poodle from Biting
Let’s do a short recap of the best ways to stop your poodle from biting.
- Provide your poodle with alternative things to bite on (such as chew toys)
- Reinforce your poodle’s positive behaviors
- Establish authority over your poodle
- Socialize your poodle by bringing it around other dogs
- Give your poodle plenty of exercise to keep it calm and relaxed
- If your poodle bites, let out a high-pitched sound to signal that it’s not ok
If you follow these tips and tricks, your poodle will stop biting in no time at all!