LABmom Nadine is having the ever so typical nipping issue with her 2 month old Labrador puppy, Murphy. Can our LABfans share their experiances and possible solutions. I know with Brody nothing really worked, he eventually grew out of it.

What is your take?

41 Responses

  1. Sue Sarno Stephenson Lemure on Facebook

    you just have to wait , when the first teeth are out they stop they have very sharp baby teeth for protection they dont have much else for that..I have had nothing but labs abd we just keep repeating DONT BITE..or get a squirt bottle and when they do it Squirt the pup with water harmless but they get the point.. It will all stop very soon

    • michael gach

      i just got two lab pups that are 7 weeks old and are sisters. they are fine sometimes together but other times they bite each other and then things get rough and the yiping starts.

      how do i end this behavior, it is driving our family nuts.



  2. Mike

    My Blab Jasper eventually grew out of it as well. I would frequently exercise dominance over him during excessive nipping. With brief nipping here and there, sometimes I would quickly roll is upper lip into his canine tooth, which would immediately make him stop, but would not be a permanent cease-biting. It became especially frustrating when he would constantly nip at guests too. I would say the key thing is to wait it out, because they all seem to grow out of it after their teething phase. Try to redirect him to acceptable biting/chewing toys. I know how frustrating it can be, however at 2 years old now, my Blab Jasper is a fantastic friend, him and I have really grown together.

  3. Jenna

    My fiance and I got our lab puppy Barrett at 7 1/2 weeks old. For the first month and a half he was simply AWFUL with nipping. I have a 3 year old male German Shepard and I raised him as well (although he was more difficult as he was rescued and had aggression issues) so I had some techniques in my tool belt. What we started doing was when he came up and jumped then bit us, we would say “NO” and lightly smack his nose. He didn’t like that obviously, but unfortunately that would work for 15 minutes or so then he would come back for another round. We started then always having toys around us, so when he bit us we would say “NO” and then give him a toy which he could bite, we would follow it up with “Good boy bite your toy”. Another thing we are now doing as he is 4 1/2 months old is making him sit when he is doing something bad, as he knows his “sit” command. You stop the negative behaviour and make him do a good behaviour, then you reward him when he sits by saying “Good boy, good sit.” This really works as our boy is VERY food motivated (most labs are!) I really hope these things will work as well for you as they did with us. You just need to make him understand that you are the boss, not him.Good luck!! 🙂

  4. Shannon

    My choc lab eventually slowed. It helped that my other dog would tell him off if he got too crazy. He is just about a year old and now nibbles very gently when he wants to play. I hope your lil guy grows out of it soon!… Maybe try the butter apple spray on ur arms when you know he is getting fiesty!

  5. Robin Stranigan Long on Facebook

    My now 7 year old lab was terrible! I still have little scars on my forearms. I got a small squirt bottle, adjusted the sprayer to “stream”, mixed half vinegar half water and every time she tried to nip (all the time), she got a stream of vinegar water in the face while saying “no bite”. It did not injure her at all (she still loves water) and she is extremely gentle when taking food. Took no time at all before she figured it out.

  6. Diane Z.

    It’s kind of typical for a small puppy to nip. I don’t know at what age your pup was taken away from it’s Mom..but usually these are things that the Mom and siblings teach NOT to do. That happens around 6 – weeks right after a weaning period…and the pups are more actively playing. Sadly many breeders are too eager for the pups to leave ( and make some $$) that they do not allow enough of the social time needed with Mom & the siblings.
    YOU most likely will have to be it’s MOM for awhile…and teach it these things. helps to have another they too will teach the pup.
    When you are handling him….and he begins to nip…qently hold his mouth and say ” NO BITE” in a loud enough tone that they realize you mean business. And then IGNORE the pup and walk away for a time out period. This is exactly what it’s Mom would do.
    Also..when giving any so with either a closed fist..and keep repeating….”niiiiice” ( till he realizes he has to be gentle)…or with an open palm to where they have to LICK the treat from you.
    Labs are extremely he WILL learn….it is just going to take time. Being taken from the Mom at such a young age has soooo much to do with a pups social skills. More than people realize.
    Good luck…hope that helps*

  7. Kathy

    Try saying ow! loudly and turning away. This is how they learn when they are playing with their littermates. If one of the pups yelps during play they understand they have to back off. This worked with my lab. They usually do grow out of it, but this will be a quicker solution.

  8. Christine

    I know it sounds funny or weird but when Jaz was a puppy and would nibble or bite me while playing I yelped like a puppy (loud) in pain and it made her stop and look at me. She did grow out of it after awhile. When she was teething thought it all started to come back so I took an old wash cloth, wet it and twist it up and put in freezer till it was “frozen” and that seemed to help her with her teething. Hope this help some 🙂

    • Pat

      Smart, human doing exactly what the dogs do to get one another to back off. Me English pup gets that. The field lab never did as a pup and his understanding is “have hand will chomp…hard!” I suppose anything worth doing is worth doing 100% LOL !

  9. Cheryl Majewski Wozny on Facebook

    I wouldn’t recommend gently smacking it’s snout. That was my husband’s advice to me when we got our “You’re not the boss of me” alpha yellow girl many years ago. She always smacked me back! Great trick at parties, though!!

  10. Leigh Ann

    My 11 week old lab is biting a lot and we’ve found two things to be helpful. First, when I’m around her I always have acceptable chew toys close by and when she gets too aggressive I make her bite the toy. Another technique that works is one that was mentioned. If she nips me I shriek in a high pitch and make my arm and hands limp. She backs off because she thinks she has hurt me. If she gets way to aggressive I flip her over on her back and press my thumb lightly under her tongue. She cannot bite and can’t get up. Shows you are dominant. I agree with the others that it’s just a phase. This is our 3rd lab and they’ve all done it. Be patient but don’t let the puppy dominant you. If we have guests over I keep her on a leash at all times so I can quickly stop her if she tries to nip someone. Good luck!

    • Diane Z.

      We’ve raised & trained many dogs over the years ( a few Rottweillers as well as Retreivers). We never smack..we have always gently held the pups nose/mouth shut…and say “NO BITE”….or using a couple fingers as mentioned and tapping will not hurt the pup either. The Mom would most likely snap or growl at the pup to “teach” it. His sibling would do the same. That’s the dog world..and we tend to think too much like “humans”…lol.
      We never want to be mean or harsh with a puppy. They respond to gentle but firm commands. They don’t know any better at only a few months old…and since so many pups are taken from the litter much earlier than they “should”..then it is our job to show them what they did not get a chance to learn .
      I do agree giving them enough to chew on helps a great deal. They need that. However I don’t think they should be rewarded for nipping by sticking a favorite toy or bone in their mouth. Give them that “after” they have calmed down.
      Just my 2 cents…

  11. Wendy Kaplan on Facebook

    I tap GENTLY on the snout with two fiingers, say, “No bites!” and put something chewable (like a nylabone or hard toy) in her mouth immediately. Remember, she is teething. They do outgrow it!

  12. Anne Groom on Facebook

    Please please dont smack or tap the puppies nose, this is the only place on a dog that the nerve endings come into contact with the outside world, its a very sensitive area. Touching gently to move the mouth away and a firm no would be ok, maybe a water spray BUT no vinegar please! its acidic and may get in their eyes and damage them causing extreme pain. The puppy needs to learn the word NO and or a NO signal. Try shaking a plastic bottle half full of coins or small stones to make a sudden noise. Personally found the yelping like another puppy works well if you dont mind people looking at you a bit strange lol good luck it wont last long.

    • Diane Z.

      Ann.. I so agree w/ you regarding their nose. It’s the most sensitive area on “any” dog. So if we do should be very gentle. That’s why holding their mouth shut is better. If our dogs ever got overly aggressive..we would pinch them ( not hard of course)..but sort of letting them know it wasn’t cool what they were doing. And make them either sit or lie down till them were calm. I also agree w/ you about making a “yelp”..that works to startle a pup..and they usually immediately draw back.
      I too agree that spraying the dog in the face w/ water I would NOT recommend. I know some people say it works..but I just think that shows a LAB that water is not their friend.

      *sorry for all my opinions*

  13. Kay

    I’ve had Labs for many years. All puppies nip to play. Yelping or saying ouch then NO BITE works. Labs LOVE to have something in their mouth, we let all our puppies mouth our fingers but not bite. This also teachs them to have soft mouths for retreiving. When they softly mouthed our fingers we would praise them, nips and bites got ouch/NO BITE, then the end of the game and attention (ie. back to their crate/kennel). They learn quickly that time with you and being gentle are good things. Biting is bad and they get no attention. Remember, they’re just babies and still want to suckle their mommies. This is why pups should NOT be taken from their mothers at 5 weeks, 8 weeks is the best. All the animals that we’ve had that were taken from their mothers too early have puppy issues that are harder to resolve because they weren’t able to learn good dog manners from their mothers. This is also why puppy mills are BAD. Know where your lab came from and don’t give in to the pressure to take the pup too early just because the breeder wants to pop out another litter too soon. A good breeder knows that the pup will still bond with you when you replace his/her littermates and mother. Try to think like a dog……it’s a better way of living all around.

  14. Jean

    I applied Victoria Stillwell’s advice and yelped loudly when Dinozzo nipped. If he continued, he was given a ‘time out’ behind the safety gate so he could see me but not with me. I don’t know whether it worked or he simply grew out of it, but it didn’t last for long.

  15. Jill Evans

    I too am a chew toy for my dog LOL. He loves to chew on my fingers, I let him “gum” them when he was tiny and there were no teeth there! BIG MISTAKE!! Now he wants to still do it and there are teeth there now that he is 51/2 mos old. His mouth hurts and he wants to use my hand so I give him a chew toy or will hold it for him so he can get the right spot to feel better. Poor baby!

  16. Linda Jackson on Facebook

    Lots & lots of chewy toys..everytime the pup goes to bite/nip distract it first. They enjoy it far more than your flesh !! Its just like toilet training really…anticipate before it happens. And, yes, the high-pitched squeak of an injured pup works for the time you don`t anticipate.Finally pls don`t let anybody play by offering their arm for the dog to chew on….I had a Gas boiler engineer do this to my young Lab…it was me that chewed his ear off when I shouted at him to stop & pointed out the error of his ways.[ We were Fostering children at the time….can you imagine what would be the consequences of having a dog that bites ?? ]

  17. Barbara Glover on Facebook

    during a training seesion for my first Lab, the trainer told me to form my hand into a fist and forcefully push into the dog`s mouth until he didn`t like it. after a few tries it actually worked. and no one was injured. you just have to show that human is alpha!

  18. Dawn Henrichs on Facebook

    I have had several Labs…and I had a Lab that actually thought the spray bottle with water was a game!! She would bite at the water when you pulled the trigger…so it didn’t work on her. I have always used the “yelping” method myself. If a pup would bite too hard…I would yelp like a sibling would…worked for me. Bitter Apple spray works…but I wouldn’t recommend using it on ur hands. If u forget to wash ur hands and ur hands come in contact with ur mouth…u’ll find out why dogs hate the taste of this stuff!! Having toys available to chew on instead of ur hands or fingers is also good…just remember that it is a teething phase and they will grow out of it.

  19. Lynn Michel on Facebook

    Yes, lab pups have very sharp baby teeth. Which is why when our Sophie wanted to chew on us, we never allowed her to. We told her NO and then immediately gave her a rope toy or a puppy Nylabone. She learned that there is only certain things she’s allowed to chew on. The rope toy also help collect the loose baby teeth you may find in your carpet. As she got older we gave up the rope and she now chews on Nylabones, Kongs, and a Busy Buddy. The latter has lasted from puppy to adulthood.

  20. Neal

    Ruby was like this too but when she nipped we let out a squeal and turned away as others have said before. We also gave her plenty of toys to chew but not all at the same time. Most importantly, we never put our hands in her mouth during play and stopped visitors from doing it too. Ruby is now 18 months old and doesn’t chew anything that isn’t hers. No furniture, slippers or shoes. She will chew my sandwich given half a chance though!

  21. cynthia thompson

    My Maggie is almost 7months old at 2 months till 4 months I was her chew toy she finally learned not to do that I never seemed to get something else into her mouth fast enough.But now at nearly 7 months she still gets into one of her rips but it usually means she needs exercise,so off my fanny and out we go..hopefully she will out grow this soon

  22. Nina

    My 14 week old Perun earned himself a nickname “Piranha”. He managed to destroy 5 toys within first three weeks. It’s not only on how young they are when you get them (he was exactly 9 weeks and 1 day old) but there is also a teething problem. I react very harshly when he tries to bite me (not when it’s accidental during playing or training) and firmly say NO! I then give him one of his toys made for chewing and his good. In time, he bites less and less. For teething issues, instead of getting them expensive toys that’ll be trashed within hours (if you are lucky) give your Lab an older cotton towel. Even better if it’s wet! At first, I was giving Perun a carrot to gnaw and he would be good for at least 10 minutes after which he’s only ready to sleep 🙂 I figured, they give human babies a carrot when teething, can’t hurt to try! Now, when he’s 15 weeks old, carrot lasts about 15 secs. (1 sec/week lol). It takes a lot of patience! I’ve learned that it’s important to keep the pup busy and she/he will stop biting you. Oh, I almost forgot! Establish that you are the leader! Once they accept that, it’s not very likely they’ll be biting you. Every once in a while they’ll try but you’ll have it under control 🙂

  23. Laura

    We had the same problem. When we finally got our 8 month yellow lab a chocolate siste, the problem was solved. She played with her sister and didn’t use her nippy behavior on us.

  24. Sapphirestanton

    teething hurts dogs too and this is often why puppies nibble, I found that making ice cubes from chicken stock and then letting them play with them helps to sooth the ache and so the nibbling lessens, a frozen puppy kong is useful too. I learnt this after Raven destroyed my sofa during the teething stage

    • Brenda McIntosh

      They are always better in pairs. I tell everyone that, especially labs, very social and get bored very easily in working homes. When they have each other, it creates calm and takes the loneliness away.


    it is natural for all labs to ‘mouth’, all of mine did, i thot my first 1 was biting my daughter, i scolded them both. daughter then informed me, he was not ‘biting’, just like he was ‘feeling her hand w/his mouth. then i went to library, found a book on labs. it said, ‘they do that because they normally go to the water, bring back the ducks in their mouths, & they need to ‘practice’. lol. it is a ‘strange feeling’, but i enjoyed it. actually, i now hv a mini schnauzer, he loves to do that, he don’t BITE, just a lot of slobbering, hving labs i am used to it, makes me miss my labs more tho!! ENJOY!! they r my preference, would hv another, but allergic. but as i find out, it was not the lab. but the DOGS DANDER, this 1 smells the same, & i do a lotta sneezing!! bonnie

  26. Kathy

    My Daisy nipped all the time until she was finished teething. I remember one night sitting on the living room rug thinking (and crying) that she was turning out to be an agressive dog. She outgrew it and now she is the most gentle relaxed lab. I do have pants with rips in them. Those little teeth are like needles. Have patience.

  27. Pat

    IHave two labs. 4 1/2 year old Scout who is in between English and field. I have scars that remain from his puppyhood. Even though I encouraged it by offering myself as human chew toy I suspect much of that is innate and a matter of temperament and genetics. He grew out of it but can still go through a giant beef leg like a buzz saw. He has extreme drive and little fear.

    18 week old Ellie was not encouraged to bite. She is full English, thoughtful, observant, circumspective and looks before she leaps. From 7 weeks we used “clutch release”training 3-4 times a day by which we’d gently squeeze her until she’d submit by going limp and stopping her squirming for which the reward was being released. An excellent training book couched this as early training in submission and the foundation of all later obedience. At 8 weeks all it took was quickly removing the hand when she bit too hard along with a gentle scold. Within a week she “got it” and would mouth gently without chomping downwhih we all know can be painful.

    Still I think genetics is the major influence and determinant of what one has to work with. Have plenty of surrogate play toys to save your hands and arms, puppy proof the house, and be prepared to go the distance to give a higher energy lab the extra execise that its genetically pre-determined energy quota necessitates.

    Ellies calm makes her easier to train but Scout’s higher energy, drive andfocus and NEED TO WORK are rare pleasures which, once leveraged to their fullest, have produced amazing results such as ocean fetchunf through 5’waves and rising to the top of his agility class. These two dogs are different and therefore need both different approaches and expectations. It really helps to know what you have to work with from the start.

  28. Pat

    I agree with previous poster that the older dog can become the outlet for a lot of the mouthing but even the dogs have a protocol or set of rules established early on regarding what is acceptable and what crosses the line. With the temperament of some dogs mouthing a human hand may need to be disallowed. With others, if you can stand the slobber , the soft mouthing might be tolerable. Most pups need to be fulfilled by playing which involes rhe mouth. Socialization with other dogs prepares them for getting along with other dogs. It takes practice, is a learning process and provides lifelong coping skills. Deprived of this , you are the next best thing for a pup that has been deprived of interaction with its own kind which it so badly needs.

  29. Brenda McIntosh

    I know this is kinda late to respond but you may still be experiencing the biting and nipping, hopefully not…My lab Maggie was quite the teether so we would use old clean rags and tie knots in them and get them wet, freeze them, she would gently chew on the frozen rags and it seemed to soother her need for teething. She also enjoyed ice cubes up to about 5 months old. The nipping continued for a short while after that and we would place index finger knuckle on the side of her jowl and tell her in a growling type voice ‘Off”. Your babe will grow out of it eventually if not already and become the best dog you could ever imagine. Labrador puppies = extreme patience and gentle training, it really works. Our labs are 4 & 5 now and just the greatest dogs. In addition, age appropriate toys are a must and you must have a great many. I recommend the brand ‘Tough Toys’ #8 & #9 on the tough scale. They are labs after all and need stimulation.

  30. Dad of a Monster

    I dont think you should discipline a dog for his or her natural habits. You just have to find a way to detour the need to chew on everything, You will find letting them play outside and chew on sticks and bugs and dead worms and the antlers or ducks ( canvas) keep them happy.

  31. Dominique

    As a retired dog trainer, I have a method that has always worked for me. When pup nips a person, yell “OW” and jerk your finger (or whatever) away real fast and look away from the pup. This startles the pup. Then redirect by giving pup something to chew on and praise pup for chewing on the right thing. When pup is caught chewing on things he ought not be chewing on, gently move him away from the item and give him something he can/should be chewing on. After a few times, as soon as pup begins chewing on something he isn;t supposed to be chewing on, he will stop as you approach.

    After a few times of the above actions and redirections, start adding verbal cues. “Leave it” is what I normally use when pup starts to chew on a no-no. When pup nips at a person, an uh-uh works well. I do not use the word “no” when training a dog as it is over-used. The obvious thing is to have plenty of allowable things to chew readily available to the pup.

    If you can be with the pup 24/7 for a few days, you should be able to stop the nipping, provided you are consistent with your response to it. I usually have a pup no longer nipping after aboiut 48 hours. I crate pups at night so I can sleep, but I do get up to take them outside, as a pup’s bladder isn’t able to go all night.

  32. Chewed Upon

    My boyfriend got a Lab puppy recently. 2 1/2 months old when we got him, and chewing machine. Smart dog though, we substituted a toy whenever he tried to chew a hand. He had a few moments where the hand or clothing was more interesting which was when his mouth would be held shut and he’d be given a stern “No bite”. Been a couple weeks, he’s figuring it out though. 🙂