Biting is one of the not-so-nice aspects of playing with a cute Rottweiler puppy. Being a large breed that is often perceived as intimidating, biting is one thing that many owners want to control. This article provides a simple 5-step process to teach your Rottweiler puppy not to bite.
Training a Rottweiler puppy not to bite involves consistent reinforcement that biting is unacceptable. During play, allow your Rottweiler to gently bite you, but react when the bite becomes too hard. This involves yelping or giving a firm 'No!', followed by taking a 30-second break from play.
This is a very basic summary, but I have outlined the five steps below, including how you can make your training most effective. I have also included an understanding of why your puppy bites and when they will likely stop.
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Training a Rottweiler Puppy Not to Bite
Training a Rottweiler puppy not to bite is incredibly important, particularly if the puppy is not socialised. Puppies are relatively harmless when they bite, but biting in adult Rottweilers can have devastating effects.
Teaching your puppy not to bite is actually not very difficult. It just takes consistency. Once you start putting boundaries in place for your little Rottie, they will thrive and respect you, even into adulthood.
You also need to understand why they are biting you, so that you don't assume the wrong intentions. Further down you will find a more detailed look into why you Rottweiler puppy is biting you (as they all do!).
5 Steps to Stop your Rottweiler Puppy Biting
The following method imitates play behaviours observed in Rottweiler puppies (or all puppies for that matter). Essentially, you need to teach your puppy how hard they are allowed to bite during play. Here are the five steps to achieving this.
The Five Steps
- Let your Rottweiler puppy bite you as you play together
- Let out a yelp or firm 'No!' when they bite too hard and make your hand limp
- Stop playing and stay away for at least 30 seconds
- Return to playing and reward gentle behaviour with praise or treats
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 when they bite too hard
Giving a loud yelp is exactly what other puppies do when your Rottweiler chooses to get too rough during play. This is a natural instinct that your puppy will recognise. Besides a yelp or 'No!', here are a few other things to consider during training.
Being incredibly consistent with this method should provide results within the first few weeks of puppy-adoption. However, being consistent also includes others who play with your little Rottie.
If you have family, friends or guests play with your puppy, make sure to instruct them on how to teach them not to bite. If every single play mate has the same reaction to unwanted biting behaviour, your Rottweiler will learn even quicker.
Provide a Chew Toy
As you will learn further down, sometimes puppies need to chew to encourage adult teeth to come through or to soothe sore gums. They also may just want to practise chewing.
For this reason, it is best to provide your puppy with a dedicated chew toy. Introduce them to the toy during play to give the the opportunity to bite it. They will soon learn that there is no punishment for chewing this particular toy.
Provide Opportunities for Your Rottie to Learn
The reason you need to let your Rottweiler puppy bite you is that they can only learn through mistakes. Dogs do not have the benefit of talking to us, so can only learn through trial and error.
If you don't give your puppy the opportunity to bite you, they will never be in a position where that behaviour can be corrected. I would much rather control the learning environment when they are a puppy than be forced into a lesson on biting when they're an adult.
Rewarding good play behaviour should be frequent at first, until your little Rottie is consistently playing nicely (no hard bites). You can start by rewarding 30 seconds of well-behaved play with a treat or praise.
Extend this time every time you praise them until you no longer need to. For example, try waiting 60 seconds the next time you play together. Then 90 seconds, and so on. Eventually, they should be able to last an entire play session without hurting you.
Alternative Methods to Stop Biting
Below are alternative methods to discourage your Rottweiler from biting. These methods use the same process mentioned above, but introduce physical punishment.
- While reinforcing with 'No!', use a spray bottle to squirt water at the puppy when they bite. The shock from being squirted with water helps stop the current behaviour. However, some puppies may enjoy the spray bottle and think it is a game.
- While reinforcing with 'No!', grab the puppy by the scruff of their neck and give a gentle shake. This imitates the discipline of a mother dog. However, shaking and smacking a puppy can lead to aggression, fear of humans or may harm your little Rottweiler.
Another method that you could consider is the replacement method below.
- When the puppy bites you, quickly force a chew toy into their mouth instead. This aims to teach the puppy that they should only be biting the chew toy. However, this may take longer for the puppy to associate biting your hand with unacceptable behaviour.
These methods have been used by dog owners with success in the past. However, I personally prefer the original five step method mentioned at the top of this article because the pup is being taught to treat their owner with love, rather than teaching them to be fearful of consequences.
Ultimately, you need to choose whichever method works for you and your little Rottweiler. Every family is different. Something that may help in your training is understanding why your Rottweiler is biting you.
Why do Rottweiler Puppies Bite?
There are five main reasons why your Rottweiler puppy could be biting you. All of the following reasons are normal, natural aspects of their development.
Pain from Teething
Chewing can soothe inflamed gums and also helps baby teeth come out, making way for adult teeth.
Biting other puppies is how all dogs play, even as adults. As a puppy, they go through the stage of testing how hard they can bite without hurting their playmate.
Putting things in their mouth and chewing on them is a way your Rottweiler explores their world. They are learning what is fun or tasty to chew and what is not.
Testing their Limits or Boundaries
All puppies go through a stage of working out exactly what they can get away with. They don't know any of the rules and, because they can't talk to us, need to work these rules out for themselves through trial and error.
Finally, your Rottweiler sometimes just wants to get your attention. A nip on the hand or ankle may mean 'I want to play with you' or 'can you let me outside?'. Obviously this is not the way to ask, but it's the only way they know how if they haven't learned otherwise.
As you can see, none of these listed says 'your Rottweiler is just naughty'. In fact, most of these behaviours we can identify in our own babies. Things go in their mouth that shouldn't and biting is inevitable.
So as you proceed to correct this behaviour, try to remember that it is a natural part of your Rottweiler growing up into an adult.
When do Rottweiler Puppies Stop Biting?
Rottweiler puppies normally stop biting between 6 and 12 months of age. This time frame is relatively broad because every puppy gets their adult teeth at different times. It is once the puppy has their full set of adult teeth that they no longer have the urge to bite.
You should notice when your Rottweiler has their adult teeth. These teeth are bigger, less sharp (although still sharp enough!) and there are more of them. In total, there are 28 puppy teeth, replaced by 42 adult teeth. Therefore, you should notice that your Rottie stops biting once these adult teeth are in.
However, Rottweiler puppies bite for many reasons, as I have explained above. So depending on the cause and how you train them, your Rottweiler may continue to bite beyond 12 months of age. If your puppy or adult Rottweiler is biting after they have all their adult teeth, they need to be trained not to bite.
This training can involve the five steps mentioned above, or any of the alternative methods discussed. Otherwise, below is a generic way you can discipline your Rottweiler.