Are you the owner of a cute little Beagle puppy with needle-sharp teeth and wondering when your Beagle puppy might stop biting you? Like most dog breeds, Beagle puppies can go through a stage of biting. While this is perfectly natural while playing with other dogs, for us humans, it can be painful and annoying and is best to teach your puppy not to do it.
A Beagle will likely stop biting once they have been through the teething stage (typically between 4 and 8 months old) and are also trained to know that it’s wrong to use their teeth when playing with people (using their teeth during play with other dogs is normal for puppies).
Let’s explore why a puppy might bite and how with some basic dog training, a little time and plenty of patience you can stop your puppy biting.
Like children, Beagle puppies go through a teething phase. Teething usually occurs between 4 and 8 months of age, though sometimes it can be earlier or later. Teething can be a very frustrating time for your little fur baby, and indeed yourself!
When a Beagle puppy is teething, all they want to do is relieve the discomfort — relieving teething pain usually involves chewing, and lots of it. Toys, clothes, bedding, other dogs, your hands and feet and in the case of one of our Beagles an Ipad, two pairs of Rayban sunglasses, Nike air sneakers and countless pairs of socks! Thanks, Bonnie!
So while teething can be annoying, and expensive, it’s not intentional biting, more relief to their discomfort.
How to limit the damage
So how can help your poor little Beag with teething and move their attention away from valuable chewing items? Firstly, move anything of value away from the reach of puppies. Remember, nothing is off-limits, so move everything that you don’t want chewing!. A quick note, electrical cables are dangerous and can prove deadly if a Beagle was to chew through one, so take extra care where electrical items are concerned.
Next, invest in some quality dog toys and chews. Beagles (even puppies) are pretty good at destroying even the toughest of toys. In our experience, some of the best man-made toys for Beagles are Kongs. Made from natural rubber, Kongs are pretty tough and resistant to puppy teeth. Kongs come in various colours for different ages of dogs, the pink and blue are the correct density for chewing puppies.
Kongs are pretty tough, and the classic Kong toy enables you to place treats inside them, holding your Beagles attention for much longer. The rubberized texture of Kongs and different treat textures will rub their gums and help the puppy to alleviate some of the discomforts from teething.
For a natural chew alternative, we would recommend using deer antlers (4-6″ long pieces). Deer antlers can be readily purchased online, are inexpensive and a great natural way for your dog or puppy to chew on something other than your socks. They are great for the puppy to chew on, bringing relief to their gums, are super tough, and your Beagle puppy will spend an age trying to get the marrow from the middle!
By having a few different toys and chews, with different textures at the puppies disposal, they will choose the best option for relieving their teething discomfort.
By encouraging and rewarding them to chew on toys as a puppy, they are more likely to do so into adult life, rather than seeking out your favourite pair of sneakers to destroy.
It’s quite natural for a Beagle puppy to bite when playing with other dogs. Within the first eight weeks of a puppies life, while they are still with their brothers and sisters, a lot of playing and biting will take place. It’s during this time that a Beagle is learning some valuable life lessons.
If a Beagle is playing with another dog, biting is an instinctive way for a puppy to know where it’s boundaries are. If a puppy goes too far, the other dog will usually let them know they have overstepped a boundary, and will yelp and backoff. These are cues to the biting puppy that they have gone too far, and it now knows where the limit is with the other dog or puppy.
You may be tempted to stop your Beagle puppies from biting each other at playtime. You may think that they are too aggressive with each other when, in fact, it’s just their way of establishing boundaries. Over time the puppies will establish their own set of rules with each other, knowing how far they can go with each member of the pack.
This behaviour will teach the puppy how to interact with new dogs and hopefully stop them from sinking their teeth into a dog they have never met before!
Once a Beagle puppy leaves it litter, it will no longer have it’s littermates to tell them if they have gone too far. If the Beagle starts to bite you excessively during play, then it’s time for some extra training.
If your puppy starts to nip at your ankles or feet as you leave him then this could be a sign of separation anxiety. At first, you might think your puppy is just playing around, but it could be early signs of separation anxiety. Your puppy is letting you know that they don’t want to be left alone. Monitor the situation and see how regular this happens. If it starts to become a regular pattern then you will need to do some training to ensure this doesn’t become a bigger problem down the line.
We wrote an article about how long you can leave a Beagle alone, you can read it here.
From Piranha to Puppy
A beagle using its teeth to play with another puppy is quite natural. However, once the puppy has left it’s litter mates and gone to his or her new home, there’s a good chance it will continue to bite when playing with you. Now is the time to introduce a little extra training to show the puppy that biting you is wrong.
An adult dog that feels threatened, injured or frightened may try and bite. However, a puppy taught that biting people is wrong, is much less likely to bite in these situations. Training a dog that biting is wrong is especially important if the dog is to be in contact with children.
Teaching a puppy not to bite a person should be done in three stages and should take approximately 3 weeks.
If your puppy bites your hand hard enough for it to hurt, you should yelp or shout out and turn away. Ignore him for a short while, usually around 30 seconds or so, before commencing whatever you were doing before.
Once the puppy has stopped biting you hard enough to hurt, you can start to fine-tune their behaviour. By repeating the above instruction, even if he bites gently or tugs at clothing, you can begin to show that no biting is acceptable.
Eventually, you should repeat the process even if he brushes your skin or clothes with his mouth. Any contact with his mouth on skin or clothing while playing with a toy and you should stop the activity immediately.
Doing this mimics the behaviour they are used to from their littermates, and they should get the message pretty quickly. If things don’t get better after a few weeks, you may have to give a clear and calm ‘NO’ and isolate the puppy in another room for a few minutes. Once he’s allowed to rejoin you, only restart the previous activity if he’s sitting or lying down quietly, this is his reward.
Taking the time to show a puppy that biting is not acceptable behaviour gives them the chance to adjust. If you don’t teach them it’s wrong then how will they know? The best way to do this to stop playing or interacting with your puppy the moment they bite too roughly.
Show your beautiful Beagle some patience, give them the training they deserve and help them through a problematic teething phase. You will soon have solved their biting issues, rewarding you with great companionship and on the way to becoming a loving part of your family.