Puppy Playtime – Is Biting Normal?


Puppy playtime can bring some extremely high and low emotions for most owners.  Are they going to get hurt?  Is someone going to be bit? Is this normal?  Why won’t my puppy play?  Or why are they so rough?  These are some of the normal questions we get about puppy playtime.

What Is Normal For Puppy Playtime

There are many styles of play for puppies depending on their personality, experience level, and who their play partner is.  Most puppy owners hope for a scene out of a Disney movie where the dogs share a piece of spaghetti and stride off into the sunset.  The reality is social interactions for dogs during puppy playtime can be just as dramatic as they are for some humans.

Your puppy’s style of play may change as their experience increases.  At first, they may be cowering under your chair during group puppy class. Your puppy may also be super fired up and jumping on top of every puppy they see causing mass chaos.  These are both normal reactions to some first puppy playtime experiences.

Is Biting Normal During Puppy Playtime

Dogs use their mouths to explore their environment.  Mouth wars are normal for puppy playtime when friends are well matched.  It is important to find puppy play partners that at the same level of development as your puppy.  If your puppy is still in the shy stage, you don’t want to match them with a rough and tumble lab puppy that is more like a football linebacker. 

Puppies have to feel confident and relaxed to engage in mouth battles.  It is a very personal experience and the puppies may need an introduction period before they feel comfortable.  

If your puppy enjoys biting its puppy friends during puppy playtime, that’s good news for you!  This will give them a normal, natural outlet, and their desire to bite you will be reduced.

Strategies To Keep Puppy Playtime Fun

There are times you will need to intervene during puppy playtime.  We have a 2-second pin rule at Wags & Wiggles Dog Daycare.  You may not know if your puppy is still enjoying themselves when they are at the bottom of the dogpile.  After 2 seconds, distract the puppies or call them away from each other.

It is best to keep play sequences short.  More than a couple of minutes of rough play can lead to puppies biting too hard or a puppy getting scared.  After 2 minutes, call the puppies away for a treat.  Then release back to play again.  Getting to play again will strengthen your recall.

In the videos below, you will see puppies wearing a Thundershirt and a long line.  The Thundershirt takes the edge out of their excitement level.  The dragline is for puppies who have a hard time disengaging from play and coming to their owners.  The owner can call and then help the puppy come to them by grabbing the dragline during puppy playtime.

Getting Help To Teach Your Puppy To Play

You may not have access to nice puppies.  The Dog Park can be a risky venture.  That is when a qualified facility with behavior consultants like Wags & Wiggles can help you.

If you need help with your puppy learning to like puppy playtime, you can start with our Meet & Greet Process.  Yes, we even offer a Puppy Raising Program.

Have a specific question? Leave a comment below!

One Response

  • My puppy, now 6 months old, gets extremely excited whenever I return from being out. I love this, but in his excitement nips at me and my clothes, watch, and anything else he can get in his mouth – this only occurs when I walk in the door. I would like this behaviour to stop but don’t want to punish him for fear he will think that his excitement to see me is wrong. This is a conundrum that I don’t know how to solve. Help?!???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.