Fingers are Friends, Not Food
Does your puppy like to chow down on your fingers when you leave them too close? Is your grown up pup a fan of taking a nip at your digits? Dogs and puppies like to chew, but there are safe and easy ways to redirect the attention when your hands become a part of the menu.
Stillness is Key
Your pup might not even mean to be chowing down on your hand when he takes a bite. Remember that dogs don’t have a great sense of where what makes up “you” ends. They may see roving fingers and think it’s a fun animal to catch and play with. If you’re noticing your pup tends to attack your hand when you flail it about, take a moment and be still. Your dog may realize your hand is not a toy and give it back.
Show It Is Not Fun
Your dog may also know he’s biting you but think it is all play. Dogs tend to play rough with each other, and sometimes do the same with their owner. You can discourage this by disengaging from the play—simply walk away if he goes for the bite. You can also make a loud sound—even imitate a dog’s yelp. This is how dogs show that the play has gone too far. Also, don’t push your dog away or jump when he goes in for a bite—he may think this is all part of the game and just come in to bite again.
Dogs like to chew. Whether it is during teething when having something to gnaw on helps with pain, or later in life when they want to play, chewing is an important part of healthy dog behavior. If you’re noticing that your pup keeps coming after your hand, it may be they don’t have enough chew toys that really interest them. Try buying toys of a few different types and when your dog comes after your hand, take the time to hand them an alternate chewing option.
The most important way to train your dog to not bit is to be consistent. Do not walk away when your dog starts biting one day and then let him wrestle with you the next. This will confuse your dog and prevent any training from sinking in.
If you are consistent and firm, your dog will soon redirect those bites and nibbles to safer sources and your fingers will be free to move on to better things—like pets and cuddles!