How to Make a Puppy Quit Nipping & Jumping

Play biting isn't mean or aggressive, but it should still be discouraged.

Play biting isn't mean or aggressive, but it should still be discouraged.

Jumping and nipping are two common problems associated with pups who are still learning what's going on in the world and how to handle it. Puppies use their teeth as human children do their hands, and they also play bite each other. Jumping is often an attempt at facial greetings.

Nipping and Biting

Let out a loud, high-pitched yelp or mini-scream when your pup's teeth hurt during play or mouthing. He should let go for a brief moment. While mouthing is how pups discover their world and play, they'll never know that it hurts unless you tell them. When playing with littermates, puppies will bite one another all over their bodies. When one yelps, the other will stop for a brief moment as they're shocked, startled and not intending to hurt a friend.

Remove your hand for a few seconds if he stops for the brief moment after your yelp.

Say "No bite!" in a firm voice and remove your hand from his vicinity if he doesn't drop your hand or start to lick you after your high-pitched yelp.

Give your puppy appropriate chew toys if he continues to chew on your hand or bite too hard during play once he starts paying attention to your yelps and the miniature time-out sessions of removing your hand. Dogs learn through repetitive measures and also through praise, so giving him a proper chew toy every time while using a kind, praising voice will help get the message through to him.


Withhold any temptations to push your puppy down, throw up your arms, pick him up or even make any verbal reactions, such as a stern "No!" when he jumps on you. A reaction, even a negative one, gives your puppy the attention he's looking for during his jumping greeting.

Pull your hands up to your chest if you're standing, such as when you walk in the door and are greeted. Stand up if he is jumping on you while you're trying to watch television on the couch.

Focus your eyes straight ahead and not at the pup. Jumping is most often the pup trying to greet you and sniff your face as he would do another dog. With your gaze straight ahead and your hands pulled in, you're not giving him any signals that this is appropriate or that you wish to be greeted in this manner.

Allow your pup a few moments of you standing there with your gaze focused forward and your arms pulled up to settle down and put his front feet firmly on the floor. After a few moments, ask him to sit if he is still jumping about, but don't use your hands on him while he's jumping.

Pet your pup lovingly and greet him when his front feet hit the floor. If he starts to jump again, repeat the procedure by standing up and focusing forward with your arms to your chest.

Items you will need

  • Chew toys and treats

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About the Author

With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.

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