How To Stop Your Puppy From Nipping During Playtime

July 9, 2018 | We Love | Story by Lisa Ajala

Playtime can be rough when you have a new puppy, and their little teeth can hurt. Trust me, I know. Nipping has been the bane of my toe’s existence for the past month, but I am now happy to say that our family pup, Lake, has finally lightened his touch. Here’s how we did it:

We Yelped

When we first noticed that our puppy was nipping, we asked for advice right away. We met with a dog trainer at the humane society we rescued him from, and got some helpful tips.

One of the first things the trainer told us to do was to ‘yelp’.

Yes, I said it.

If your puppy is nippy during playtime, you should yelp just like a puppy.


Because it’s what their litter-mates would do if they were pain. So, if you express discomfort due to your pup’s nipping actions, they’ll eventually learn to be more gentle.

The trainer also shared a method called “Three Strikes, You’re Out.”

To lay it out for you, this is what would happen if your puppy got too excited during playtime.

Consider each nip a strike.

Strike 1. Yelp

Strike 2. Yelp

Strike 3. Yelp, then throw their toy to the ground, cross your arms, turn your back on them, and then walk away.

Yes, you have to be that dramatic. But, it’s effective.

The yelp method may make you look and feel ridiculous (it really is hilarious seeing adults yelp like puppies), but give it shot. The results are worth it.

“The results are worth it.”

Chew Toys. If your puppy just isn’t going for the yelp method, try diverting their attention with chew toys. Find a chew toy suitable for those sharp little puppy teeth, and give it to them if they get too rough-and-tumble.

By doing this, you are stopping the behavior you don’t like, and have them focused on a more preferable option.

The Crate. Sometimes your puppy just needs a time-out. Nipping can be frustrating, so take a break when you need to. Putting your pet in a crate allows you both to cool off.

Try combining this method with “Three Strikes, You’re Out.” Instead of walking away at the end, put your pup in their crate. If you don’t have a crate, I really suggest getting one.

Try these methods if you want to stop your puppy from nipping during playtime.

Your toes, fingers, and ankles will thank you.


If you enjoyed this post, you should read Can Dogs Eat Mushrooms? here.

Was your puppy a nipper? What did you do? Share below!

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