We all know that Beagles are playful dogs. When dogs are in their puppy stage, they use their mouth to explore and feel the world.
Although it looks like your puppy is aggressive while biting or nipping, that is not the case. Puppy Biting and Nipping are very common and 100% normal. Nipping is an intuitive way for them to express themselves.
Usually, when the teething process is complete, around 7-8 months, they stop nipping and biting. However, it can be annoying and a hindrance.
In the meantime, you need to identify their reasons for biting and nipping and provide them with alternatives. This article will you exactly that.
Identifying why your Beagle is biting
As owners, you need to identify why your puppy bites so that you can handle the situation better. If your puppy is at the teething stage, there is not much you can do. You cannot stop the teething process.
You need to check if they are being playful, bored, hungry, lonely, or anxious.
Do not think just because they love you that they won’t bite you.
What are the reasons that cause Beagles to bite?
Below are some reasons why beagles bite and nip:
- Play Biting
- Separation Anxiety
- Lack of Socialization
- Self Defense
- Health Issue
If Beagles did not have enough time spent with their mother and littermates, they missed out on some basic socializing skills. When they are with their mother and littermates, they find out about boundaries. If the puppy bites or nips his mate, the mate will automatically yelp and move away. The mother knows not to give it attention, so the puppy will immediately associate it crossed a line.
Beagles can bite to protect themselves if they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. They will defend themselves when they are in pain, are scared, or don’t trust someone.
Their aggressive biting is mainly due to their insecurities.
Health issues like loss of appetite and lethargy will cause them to bite as well.
These may be minor contributing factors. Let’s evaluate the major ones.
Beagle Puppy Teething
Just like human babies, puppies have a teething period. This usually occurs when they are at five months of age. They start developing permanent teeth in place of the milk teeth. This causes pain and irritation in the gums.
As a result, the puppy chews on things to ease the discomfort. Therefore, this type of biting is not intentional.
What are the teething signs in your puppy?
- Chewing more intensely
- Biting in unsuitable times
- Biting more
- Decrease in appetite
- Sleeping on the head to relieve pain
This is a frustrating time for both the parent and the pet. The teething process can last up to 2-3 months. However, after this period, the need to chew will end.
In addition to this, dogs use teeth to show dominance. They look for their place in your family. Do not let the dominance go on as Biting and Nipping can be resolved.
How to manage Puppy Teething
Since teething is unavoidable, the best you can do is try to ease their discomfort.
You can do the following things to make it easier for them:
Chew toys are a great way to help your dog indulge in their urges. Get your pet all types of chew toys with different shapes and textures (rubber, plastic, hard, and soft). Introduce the toys slowly and one at a time. Make sure that the toys are safe and proper.
You won’t have a problem getting your dog used to these as Beagles tend to get very enthusiastic about toys.
While they may help your dog, you also have to teach them not to chew on other things. They should not chew the sofa, cushions, bed, or table. It is imperative. Otherwise, the chew toys will be useless. Kong toys are also helpful and engaging.
Ice cubes are akin to chew toys. Your puppy can sit and chew them on the floor for however long he wants. Ice cubes not only numb the pain in the gums but also ease the soreness. You can also include their favorite gravy, freeze it to give a flavorful taste.
Freeze the carrot and offer it to your dog. They are a healthy way to indulge in chew toys.
Remember to use positive reinforcement as Beagles respond well to praise. They will get scared and the biting may escalate further if you react harshly.
Beagle Puppy Play Biting
Play biting is a way for the Beagles to look out for boundaries. They learn if their bite is too hard or rough. Beagles are playful and energetic. From a dog’s perspective, they think biting is a way to play.
They will bite your feet, clothes, and fingers, especially while playing tug of war. Despite knowing this is not intentional, it can turn into a serious problem as they grow older.
Training a young puppy is, albeit easier. They are at a stage where they can learn and take it easy.
How to manage Puppy Play Biting?
First and foremost, move anything valuable away from your puppy. It is the best way to avoid chewing on your valuable items.
Apart from that, you should do the following:
- Get your puppy used to you touching them.
- Make an impression on your dog that human skin is hypersensitive. Try to make them understand that biting can hurt you, that it is not good to bite hard.
- Teach them how to bite the skin gently.
- Teach them to put soft pressure on human skin.
- Train the verbal command “no”. When they bite too hard, remove your hand, clap them and say “no” loudly. This will startle them into realizing what they did was not okay.
- Use the time out method. When they bite too hard, move away and don’t pay attention for 10-30 seconds. Come back and start playing with them again. Repeat this several times, and you will notice the improvement. Reward them each time they hesitate to bite.
- Playing with them can distract their attention from chewing. So, play with them more often. You can try frisbee fetch.
Beagles are food lovers. You can use this to influence them into good behaviour. During playtime, keep the toy in one hand. If they bite, redirect their attention with the toy or treat. They will realize that biting will not get them what they want.
Be regular and redirect them to chew the right things. Teach them the correct way of interaction.
Warning: Do not shout, hit or use negative reinforcement to change their behaviour. It will impact them negatively.
Lack of Socialization
Although Beagles are social animals, they might still not know how to interact correctly. Puppies are young, so it is up to you to teach them.
Make your puppy realize that cuddling is good. You must show your dog not to react to new stimuli. Introduce them to the world slowly yet steadily.
You can make getting treats a little tricky. Let them sniff your fist. When they attempt to take the treat and feel the pressure is hard, you remove your fist. Don’t allow them to have the treat. Wait for a few seconds. When they offer a lick instead of biting or mouthing, and you feel the pressure is soft, reward their behaviour. Repeat this several times. Soon, they will learn how to take treats gently.
Don’t make it impossible, and don’t make them lose interest. Do not attempt to cut off their chewing completely.
You can do this while you are petting as well.
Whenever your puppy gets rough with biting, say “Ouch” and withdraw immediately. Give them zero attention. It will make them understand that their action was awful and they cannot repeat it.
Biting from Boredom & Separation Anxiety
Beagles hate being alone. Some might try to bite their owners’ ankles and feet when they try to leave home. This is just their way of saying not to leave them alone.
They feel anxious and bored if they are left alone for a long time. They won’t have your attention or have anything to do.
Their biting may look aggressive, but they need the training to make them feel less scared and stressed. They have to get used to the new environment and new people.
They might also bite in self-defense when they are anxious.
Chewing can act as a stress buster for Beagles. In such cases, you can encourage them to chew the right things.
If your Puppy is biting and nipping, it is not always a sign of aggressive behaviour. They might do it because they are teething, feeling anxious, or have a lack of bite inhibition. Moreover, they will stop doing it by the time they are 8 months old.
In the meantime, redirecting their attention and helping them chew the right things will work wonders.
At the learning age, puppies will correct themselves if you take the time to correct them. If you want to know more about Biting, Teething and Chewing, check out this source.
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Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.