So, your corgi puppy is biting. And you need to stop him because it’s driving you nuts.
Perhaps you have scars all over your feet and hands.
Or he’s getting bigger and you don’t want him to grow up with bad biting habits.
Or maybe you’re just tired of playing foot tag with him as he constantly nips on your slippers and toes.
In this article, we’ll cover these topics:
- Why your corgi puppy is biting you
- How to stop the biting
- Diseases from dog bites
- When the biting and nipping should stop
- And more other FAQs about puppy biting
Sound good? Let’s get your corgi to lick instead of bite. How’s that?
Last updated: 6/28/20.
Why your corgi puppy is biting you
All puppies go through a nipping phase as they grow up. Most breeders will sell their puppies between weeks 8 to 10, which is right around the teething phase.
The time looks like this:
- 0 weeks: puppies are born with no teeth
- 2-4 weeks: puppies start to get their canines, molars, incisors, and premolars.
- 5-8 weeks: puppies develop their 28 puppy teeth (baby teeth) over these critical periods. Milk teeth start to fall out during chewing behaviors. This is why they chew nearly everything.
- 12-16 weeks: the adult teeth start to show up and force their baby teeth out.
By 6 months, their full set of permanent adult teeth will have grown in and they’ll shed their baby teeth out.
Adults will have a full set of 42 teeth, unlike the 28 baby teeth when they were just puppies.
The proper term is teething. Puppies will have constantly shifting teeth that are growing and falling out, which can cause extremely discomfort to them.
They usually don’t whine or cry over their tooth pain, but they’ll get mild discomfort. This is why they start chewing on anything and everything.
During the teething part of his life, you’ll want to provide him plenty of chew toys to relieve the discomfort. Giving your puppy a variety of toys is important, as each pup has their own preferences.
Some prefer hard toys, others like soft ones. There are also different materials, like plastic, nylon, fabric, and rubber.
Depending on the texture, style, and functionality of the toy, you can really create a bunch of possibilities for him to chew.
If the dog isn’t interested in the chew toy, then try replacing it with another. Not all chew toys are the same.
You’re reinforcing the behavior without knowing it
Did you know that when your corgi bites and you pull your hand back only encourages him to keep biting?
The same goes for quickly retracting your sandals, feet, or arms from his mouth.
The natural response is to remove your limbs from his reach because his bites hurt.
But then seconds later, you move your hand back, and he’s nipping again. It’s just a cycle that repeats over and over.
Corgis are a nippy breed, so this should be no surprise.
The bad part? You’re encouraging him to bite.
Why? Because he thinks of it like a game. Every time you remove your hand and take it out of his reach and put it back, it’s basically dog games 101.
He knows the hand or foot will return after a few seconds, to which he’ll just take another bite. The cycle repeats over and over again.
In fact, some dogs can use it to manipulate their owners. If their owner ignores them, doesn’t feed them, or otherwise if the corgi wants his owner’s attention, he can just bite.
Since he’s conditioned to have a response from you after he bites, he can use this to his benefit and “force” a response from you.
This is an example of dog-owner manipulation. Since corgis are one of the top 20 smartest dogs, they’ll use and abuse this.
We’ll cover this later in detail.
How to stop your corgi puppy from biting
There are are few proven techniques that work for most corgi puppies to stop the nipping.
None of these require you to spend any money on courses, equipment, or consults with the vet (though you should if he continues to bite).
Try all of them out and see which one your corgi responds to. Remember, the trick is to reinforce the behaviors you WANT and stop the ones you DON’T.
Ignore the behavior
This is the easiest technique because it requires you to do absolutely nothing. If your corgi puppy has been conditioned to get your attention by biting or mouthing, you can break that connection by completely ignoring their biting.
This only works when the corgi is still young and hasn’t developed his adult set of teeth yet, or still doesn’t have a powerful bite.
The trick is to simply do nothing when he bites. Let him bite your finger, toes, sandals, ankles, knees, thighs, arms, or whatever else he nips on.
But DON’T respond to the behavior. This means don’t pull your hand or foot back. Don’t tell him “no.” Don’t yell, hit, or otherwise tie any response to the mouthing.
When the puppy learns that he can’t get your attention by nipping at you, he’ll stop.
But this only works sometimes. If he’s been trained to get your attention by biting you and you break the association that bite = attention, he may stop.
Stop and wait
This method works by reinforcing the notion that biting means stopping.
If your puppy constantly tries to bite your feet or shoes when you walk around the home, you may be doing circles around him just to make it across the room.
This often leads to you making weird footsteps, waddling, or circling your feet above him only to have him attack your shoes the next time it lands.
This is very common behavior, especially for puppies who are teething.
In his mind, this is what he’s thinking:
- We’re having fun and playing games
- We’re walking towards MY next treat or meal
- We’re going to take a walk
- We’re going to do whatever other activity
On your journey to your corgi’s next activity, he’ll enjoy nipping at your foot in meantime.
But that’s when you can try to STOPeverything as soon as he bites.
This means you stop walking, talking, or even making eye contact with your puppy. You stop everything and just literally freeze in place.
Try looking up at the roof and turning around with your arms crossed.
Stay in this position for a few seconds. You’ll notice that your puppy will begin sniffing around and circling you. He may even sit down and stare at your face.
Be sure to not look at him during this time. He may start jumping at you, barking, crying, whining, or doing other things to get your attention. Your puppy may even start getting playful.
Wait until he settles down and stops. Then proceed walking to your destination.
When he starts nipping at your foot again, repeat the process. Stop and wait.
This may take you quite some time to make it across a room. But eventually, he’ll get the message.
Your corgi will learn that biting means you’ll start ignoring him and stopping progress to his next treat, meal, walk, or whatever else he’s expecting.
The important part is to stop RIGHT when he bite. As soon as you feel the teeth, stop and wait.
You can apply this technique to other areas he bites, such as your fingers, hands, arms, and ankles.
Whatever you’re doing, when he nips, just stop and wait.
If you’re prepping his meal and he’s biting your arms, stop.
If you’re trying to refill his water and he’s biting your feet, stop.
If you’re trying to grab your morning cup of coffee and he’s biting your sandals, stop.
The key is to associate to him that biting means halted progress. He’ll get nowhere if he bites. And he needs to learn that.
This works best for corgi puppies who have associated that nipping at their owner means progress to their next meal.
This is one of the most popular techniques and has a high success rate.
All you need to do is make a “yelping” noise when he starts biting you. The point is that dogs communicate with this same noise when they get hurt.
Your corgi puppy will be used to this from his littermates when he plays too rough.
Either him or his littermates will let out a loud yelp when they get hurt and this tells other dogs to back off.
Before your puppy was weaned, he likely played often with his siblings in his litter and learned the cue for “that really hurts!”
Dogs learn this by default. Puppies and adult dogs both universally know the meaning behind this dog signal.
This lets you, as his owner, communicate the exact same thing by letting out a loud exclamation when he bites.
You can shriek, scream, or just exclaim whatever you want.
Choose a single phrase, and use the same phrase every time:
Anything works. Just make it a single syllable. Higher-pitched sounds work best, as puppies naturally communicate this way.
- Don’t yell directly into his ears, as puppy ears are sensitive and you can make him scared of loud noises forever or damage his hearing.
- Yell facing upwards or away from the dog.
- Yell as soon as you feel his teeth. If you yell too early or if he attempted to lick you rather than bite you may be stopping him from positive behaviors.
- Don’t yell overly loud. You’ll have to play around and see the perfect volume. But it shouldn’t be to the point where it scares him permanently- not too quiet to the point where he ignores it.
- Keep the yelp quick and fast (under 1 second). There’s no need to “drag” it out and make it extra painful for him to listen to. Keep it fast and quick!
- Use the same phrase every time. This is what puppies do, so you should keep it consistent and use the same sounds also.
- Don’t punish after you yell. You don’t want to reinforce a negative behavior after you yell.
- The yelp should be enough to startle your corgi and stop the biting.
Your corgi will back off and take a few steps away. He’ll probably stare at you and assess the situation for a few moments.
If your dog bites again, repeat the process until he gets it. This may take a few rounds.
You may also need to adjust your volume, phrase, or timing if he still bites even if you yelp.
Remember, you don’t want to scare your corgi or associate other negative actions with the yelping.
You just want him to know that biting hurts. That’s it.
Redirect his attention
This techniques has you using a proper object for your corgi puppy to chew.
When he starts nipping at you, use a chew toy and let him chew on that instead. Position it in front of his mouth and get his attention.
When he start chewing on the toy, that’s it. The trick is to repeat this process over and over until he knows to chew the toy- not your fingers!
If your corgi doesn’t chew the toy or isn’t interested, make it interesting.
Consider the following tips:
- Try a variety of chew toys to see which one he likes (rope toys, soft toys, hard toys, squeaky toys, etc.)
- Use a Kong or other chew toy with a hole that you can fill with treats
- Apply peanut butter on the chew toy
You can also reward your puppy for chewing on the toy.
Get a clicker and click as soon as he focuses his teeth on the toy rather than your fingers, toes, or hands. Then give him the treat for chewing on the toy.
You can create positive reinforcement by rewarding him for chewing on the proper object and eventually he’ll learn to chew the toy rather than you! This will take time.
Put your corgi puppy in time out
The last option is to simply place your dog in its pen or crate. If it doesn’t respond to any of the other techniques here and you’re constantly getting nipped at, take your puppy and place it in the pen.
Note to not overdo this, as long periods of alone time may make your puppy destructive.
Only release it after it settles. This works best for mouthy corgis during the teething phase. For puppies that nip, chew, bite, and are extremely mouthy, provide the pup with alone time.
If the behavior continues, repeat as necessary.
Bites = time out. If you’re at your wit’s end and your corgi’s biting is out of control, put it in its pen or crate.
This will prevent it from biting you further. And also teaches your puppy that biting does NOT get it what it wants!
Consult a trainer
This is another option you can utilize if you’ve tried everything else and can’t get your puppy to stop being mouthy.
You can also ask the breeder you got the puppy from. If they’re truly reputable, they should be able to answer basic corgi care questions.
There are professional dog trainers, many of which you’ll find locally. You can look up puppy training classes offered through large branches, or hire a contractor to train your dog.
Adopted corgis or corgis raised with poor behavior can have some deep behavior problems that can’t be corrected easily. They can also have aggression problems from no socialization.
Here are some additional references you may find useful:
- Need help with puppy who won’t stop biting corgi – Reddit
- Puppy biting HARD, nothing seems to help! – MyCorgi
- Corgi biting everything – Reddit
Did you get your corgi puppy to stop biting?
You should now have an arsenal of different techniques to get him to stop biting.
Try a few of them out and see what works best for you.
Every corgi is different and there’s no universal solution. It’s your job to find out what works for your puppy, as no one else knows him as well as you.
Be patient. Even if you fail miserably and enver stop biting, the teething only lasts until he becomes an adolescent. It’ll just be a pain (no pun intended) to deal with the niping until then.
Questions? Drop them as a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
Roy has owned 14 dog breeds, with corgis being his absolute favorite. He’s a self proclaimed “corgi whisperer,” whatever that means. He enjoys hiking, videogames, binging on shows, and writing (that’s why he’s here).
Hey, wanted to let you know you have a little typo on the number of teeth, it’s 42 😉
Great article though, I’ll give more of them a read tonight! I have a 6-year-old corgi myself, they are an amazing breed!
Thanks for catching that, Matthew! Updated the article =].