Biting everything that moves is normal puppy behavior, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun to live with.
Puppies explore their world with their mouths, just as toddlers touch everything they can reach with their hands. So it makes perfect sense that your pants wouldn’t escape your pup’s curiosity.
So what can you do when your little pooch won’t stop chomping your pant legs? Here are some solutions.
Before You Start Training
There are a few things you’ll need to have on hand, as well as a few things you’ll need to teach your puppy, before you start training them not to bite your pant legs.
First, meet your pup’s need to bite soft objects. Give your puppy plenty of appropriate objects to bite instead of your pants, like sturdy fabric toys made for dogs. You may want to reward them with treats and praise when they chew the right items.
Next, take humane control of your pup’s environment to prevent unwanted munching. This means using a combination of baby gates, safe and supervised tethering, and teaching your pup to settle in a crate so you can use these tools for brief “time outs” when necessary.
Finally, teach your puppy that it’s fun to behave differently. Reward them when they sit to greet or touch their nose to your hand instead of biting, for example. Be sure to pick new behaviors which are incompatible with biting pants.
Training Your Puppy Not To Bite Pants
Create a consistent sequence when your pup is in a pants biting mood. If your puppy bites your pants, give them a warning cue. “Off limits” might work because you’ll remember it!
Your puppy now has two options: Accept a redirect — your desired option — or continue biting pants, which you should follow up with a brief loss of social attention, or a “time out.”
Offer your pup a soft dog toy to bite instead of your pants. If your pup accepts the redirect and bites the toy or leaves your pants alone, great. No further action needed.
If your puppy ignores the toy and, instead of choosing to leave your pants alone, goes to bite them again, give your pup a Time Out cue, then remove yourself from your pup’s reach.
For example, you can say “Sorry! Got to go now!” Then leave your puppy in a safe, gated room, move out of range of the tether, or gently place your pup in their crate.
The sounds or words you use for the warning cue and the time out cue don’t matter so long as they don’t scare your puppy and you use the same word or sound every time — and so does everyone else who handles your pup.
Wait 20 seconds to two minutes for your pup to calm down. Then approach your puppy, and try again. Consistent patterns and cues make learning easy.
You may need to repeat the bite-warn-time out-repeat process several times before your puppy understands the very predictable pattern — that the way to keep you around is to either not bite your pants or to bite the toy instead of your pants when given the chance.
But, in my experience, if your efforts are consistent and clear, they do catch on eventually!
Let Your Dog Burn Off Puppy Energy
Last but not least, make sure your puppy is getting enough exercise and sufficient opportunity for “wild puppy time.” You may find that the pants biting activity peaks at dawn and dusk.
Some puppies need to be left alone in a dog safe area for a while at peak activity times early in the morning and again in the late afternoon or early evening so they can tire themselves out by chasing toys, chewing bones, and playing until they fall asleep in an adorable heap.
Have you ever dealt with a puppy biting your pant legs? How did you teach your dog to chew appropriate items instead? Let us know in the comments below!