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How to Train a Puppy Not to Growl or Bite

| Updated September 26, 2017

When you bring a new puppy into your home, it is important to start training it immediately in proper behavior. While you cannot expect a young puppy to act as calmly as a mature dog, training a puppy in correct behavior helps it grow into the kind of dog you will want to have in your home. Behavior that is cute in a puppy is significantly less attractive and more menacing in an adult dog. This is why it is important to deal with growling and biting in a puppy as soon as possible.

Yelp or say “Ow!” loudly when a puppy bites you, and then storm away and leave the puppy alone for a few minutes. This is much the same way that a puppy's mother would discipline it if it bit her too hard.

Pin the puppy to the ground and scold it in a low, aggressive voice until its body relaxes and its ears flop down. This establishes your dominance, and it teaches the puppy that it should not growl or bite you. You can also simply roll the puppy over and hold it down for a few minutes randomly throughout the day to ensure your dominance, even if it doesn't bite or growl at you.

Feed the puppy only after you have eaten. In dog packs, leaders eat first. Even if you only have a few bites of a light snack before you put down the dog's food bowl, this reinforces your dominance. If the puppy is only growling at one member of the family, have that member of the family feed it. This gives the puppy a chance to associate the person with a positive association, and it also lets the family member assert their dominance if they eat first.

Walk through the door first. When you are walking the puppy, use the leash to prevent it from rushing through the door before you. Going through the door first establishes your position as the dominant member of the pack.


  • Avoid playing tug-of-war or other biting games with your puppy. This confuses the puppy, and it may not recognize the difference between good and bad biting.