Why does my puppy mouth my hand?

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Puppies instinctively bite and mouth at hands for the first few weeks because they are accustomed to playing like this with their siblings. It takes time for a puppy to understand that people are not littermates, and should not be mouthed. Puppies also have to teethe to soothe their sharp baby teeth, in much the same way human babies teethe as their teeth are coming in.

Puppies need to be taught from an early age that mouthing at hands is unacceptable behavior. The sooner you can teach this to your puppy, the better. As he grows up, the last thing you want is for your full grown dog to continually go for your hands, or even worse, for those of stangers. Puppies can be taught to have bite inhibition, which will dictate when and how they should use their mouths.

To stop your puppy from biting, always reinforce positive behaviors and discourage behaviors that you find unacceptable. Be very consistent with this, as any confusion on your part could ruin the training. Don’t present your hands or fingers to your puppy in a manner that would encourage mouthing, but also don’t make it a “keep away” game that your dog will want to take part in.

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