Has your sweet Havanese puppy started biting from time to time? Are you wondering how to get them to play without biting? Well, I wouldn’t want biting to come between you and your new cute family addition. So, here is all you need to do if you want to nip this behavior in the bud (pun fully intended).
So, how do you train a Havanese puppy not to bite? Training a Havanese puppy not to bite is best done with verbal cues such as a yelp and physical cues like temporarily ending play by teaching your puppy that biting hurts and isn’t tolerated. Reward your puppy through positive reinforcement for calm behavior, such as treats and praise. Substitute your tempting hands and ankles for a chew toy or bone when playing. Support your training progress by creating a calm, predictable, and safe environment for your puppy.
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How To Train A Havanese Puppy Not To Bite
The key ingredients for training a Havanese puppy not to bite are patience and consistency.
A Havanese puppy is more likely to bite as a result of excitement and overstimulation than true aggressiveness.
That’s why reliable early teaching of what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior is important.
Teach Bite Inhibition With A Verbal Response To Biting
Bite inhibition is a dog’s ability to know that biting hurts and should be done with control that is appropriate to the situation – such as when playing vs. when attacking to protect themselves.
To help teach bite inhibition, play with your puppy as you normally would.
If your puppy bites or nips at you, let out a sharp noise or yelp and back up from playing.
The sound should be loud enough to startle your puppy and get their attention but not make them feel threatened.
If you feel awkward about yelping, you can also use a command or word such as “ouch” or even a firm no.
You want your sound to make your puppy pause in their play and give you an opportunity to start again in a calmer manner.
Be sure to give calm verbal praise when your puppy lets you interact with them without biting.
Bite inhibition is often taught by a mother dog to her pups. She may growl, gently nip at, or yelp when her puppy bites too hard while playing.
Puppies that leave their litter at a young age may not have been fully taught bite inhibition.
They may also not apply this learning to biting human hands and feet during play. Teaching your Havanese that biting hurts and needs to be controlled is important.
Let Your Havanese Puppy Have A Time Out
If your Havanese puppy gets overstimulated during play, they may bite.
This is normal puppy behavior but one that needs to be stopped in order to prevent your puppy from accidentally injuring you or loved ones.
Giving your Havanese puppy a time-out is as simple as walking away from your puppy slowly a few feet, removing your hand from petting, or dropping a toy you were playing with.
This time out can lower your puppy’s excitement level and allow them to gain control of their urge to bite.
A short time out paired with a yelp when your puppy bites are very effective at putting a stop to biting that is related to a young puppy’s age.
If your puppy is extremely overstimulated and is repeatedly biting at your hands and feet, you may need to consider a short, relaxed time out in their kennel.
This time out should not be done forcefully or for an extended time and works best with puppies who have been started on kennel training.
Put your puppy gently in their kennel with a safe toy and keep the room calm for a couple of minutes.
When you let your puppy back out, do not immediately initiate play or give any excitable praise. Let them realize that being calm is okay, and then resume petting, playing, or cuddling.
Redirect Your Puppy’s Behavior
Using their teeth to explore, and chewing as a part of play, are normal needs of Havanese puppies.
The important thing to teach is what things it is okay to bite and chew and what should be left alone.
One way to help your Havanese learn to stop biting you is to redirect their biting to a more appropriate option, such as a chew toy or bone.
Keep an acceptable chew item within reach, such as in your pocket, when interacting with your puppy.
If your puppy bites you or appears ready to bite or chew on you, immediately offer the toy instead.
Let your puppy have the toy and praise them for playing with it. Interact with them by tossing the toy or tugging it gently.
If your puppy tries to bite you instead of the toy, yelp or say no, drop the toy, and take a pause from play.
When your puppy returns their attention to the toy or calms down, give them verbal praise.
Do Not Feed Treats From Your Hand
One other cause for puppies to bite is when they suspect that your hand holds a treat or other tasty reward; when you want to praise your puppy, place or drop the treat to the ground near your puppy and let them pick it up from there.
Eating the treat off the ground teaches your puppy that your hand will not be feeding them treats and should not be bitten in an attempt to gain food.
Create A Calm and Safe Environment
We have mentioned biting as a part of being overstimulated, but it can also happen when a Havanese puppy feels fear.
Fear biting is harder to put a stop to than other forms of biting because it is the result of a dog’s natural protection instincts.
To lessen the chances of the fear of biting, make sure to provide your puppy with a predictable environment.
Take note of things that scare or make your puppy nervous. Help children learn how to play nicely with your Havanese puppy and never hit your puppy even if they bite.
Fear of biting can be alarming but is often an isolated incident.
If a puppy expresses fear frequently, it may be worth getting in touch with a professional trainer or dog behaviorist.
Using the steps above will not cure all biting issues, but they are effective in many cases where young Havanese puppies bite their owners as a result of play or overstimulation.
Using these practices consistently will show an improvement in biting within two weeks (or less) for many Havanese puppy owners.
Is It Normal For Havanese Puppies To Bite?
It is normal for young Havanese puppies to bite from time to time. They are more likely to bite when engaged in high-energy play or when scared. Biting is one-way puppies explore their world and is a habit that can be stopped with patience and training.
Biting from a Havanese puppy can range from a light nip to your fingers or clothes to a sharper bite to your hands or feet.
Havanese puppies can be taught that biting hurts and is not a safe way to play or interact.
Havanese do not typically bite out of aggression or territorial behavior.
While all dogs are capable of this kind of biting, it is rarely true for the naturally playful and friendly Havanese breed.
Why Do Havanese Puppies Bite?
Havanese puppies most commonly bite as part of normal puppy development, when over-excited during play, or from fear.
Knowing the potential causes of biting can help us learn how to make it stop.
Biting As A Part Of Puppyhood
Puppies of all shapes and sizes chew and bite to explore their environment and will use their teeth more frequently than adult dogs.
A playful Havanese puppy, especially those less than a year old, can be expected to bite from time to time.
Starting to teach your puppy to control their biting from a young age is an important training step for owners.
Using steps one and two above is highly effective for teaching young dogs that biting humans is unacceptable and how to control their biting to prevent injuring others.
When a puppy is biting as part of normal development, training combined with time will help your puppy mature and should lead to noticeable results in putting an end to biting.
Teething Increases Biting In Havanese Puppies
Just like a human, your Havanese puppy will shed their baby teeth as new adult teeth erupt from their gum line.
During this time, your puppy will have a natural desire to chew and bite more as a way to loosen teeth and lessen mouth discomfort.
If you have been making progress with your puppy, don’t be surprised if, around 4-5 months of age, they once again begin to struggle with biting or nipping at unwanted times.
Instead, continue with your training approaches and give a little extra patience and grace.
Teething is a great time to use redirection with a toy or bone as part of your training.
This allows your puppy to meet their innate need to chew during teething without supporting them biting at your hands, ankles, or clothes.
Biting Due To Over Excitement or Fear
Havanese puppies who become overly excited by their environment or who are experiencing great fear may bite other people or dogs.
This type of biting is usually directly related to the puppy’s current situation.
Providing your puppy with calm play opportunities, spaces where they can be alone and relax, and plenty of exercise as part of a predictable routine can lower biting related to excitement.
Trying the time-out method from this article also gives over-excited puppies a chance to calm down.
A puppy should never be hit, yelled at menacingly, or kicked.
Havanese are small friendly dogs, but they can become intimidated by children who play too rough or don’t respect their tails and ears.
If a puppy fears for its safety, it will bite out of natural instinct to protect itself.
Monitor people around your puppy to make sure they treat it with respect and kindness to limit fear biting.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Havanese Puppy To Stop Biting?
It can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to several months to train a Havanese puppy to stop biting.
In other words, the length of time it takes to train a Havanese puppy to stop biting will mostly depend on the consistency of the training they receive.
If you apply the steps above to build a training structure that you can use every time you interact with your puppy, you should notice improvements in your puppy’s biting within 2-3 weeks, sometimes sooner.
Puppies that are making good progress in learning not to bite may see some loss of control during their teething window.
Continuing with training and patience during this time will set your puppy up for success after their adult teeth arrive.
While this article includes tips that are designed to help you with training your Havanese puppy not to bite, if your puppy continues to bite after a couple of months of attempting to train them on your own, it is smart to seek the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist.
Training a Havanese puppy to stop biting does take a little time, patience, and consistency, but it can certainly be done.
At least if you are implementing the correct techniques.
My guide provides exactly those.
So do yourself a favor, set yourself off on the right foot, and invest in that guide.
Trust me; nothing is worse than a puppy that continues to bite. Or, worst still, a puppy that takes biting into adulthood.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.