How to Stop a Puppy From Growling & Biting

With a little work, unwanted growling and biting can be stopped for good.
With a little work, unwanted growling and biting can be stopped for good. (Image: puppy image by Karol Grzegorek from

Whether playing with litter-mates, new puppy friends or its owners, puppies will growl and bite. For the most part, these reactions are harmless. A puppy that bares its teeth and attempts to bite or growls out of aggression will generally do so as a way to let its playmate know he is getting too rough or because the puppy is frightened. Teaching the basic "Sit" command and other strategies can be used to ensure that this unwanted behavior stops for good.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty soda can
  • Uncooked beans

Walk away. If the puppy begins to bite or growl at you, turn your head, cross your arms over your chest and walk away from the puppy. Continue to ignore the puppy until it stops growling or biting. The puppy will quickly associate this unwanted behavior with the removal of your attention, which is truly what the puppy wants.

Avoid playing aggressive games that involve biting and growling, such as tug or war. The puppy will become confused if biting and growling is perceived as a fun activity one moment, and then is a punishable offense the next moment.

Utter a high-pitched yelping noise each time the puppy bites. This is the same noise that the puppy’s litter-mates make when play becomes too rough and is a signal for the puppy to back off.

Fill an empty soda can with a few uncooked beans. Each time the puppy bites or growls, shake the can near its head. The puppy will begin to associate this unwelcome noise with the unwanted behavior.

Use the "Sit" command as a way to distract the puppy each time it barks or growls. The puppy will focus on the command instead of continuing the unwanted behavior.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult a professional dog trainer if the puppy's biting and growling becomes overly aggressive or out of control.

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