How To Train An Australian Puppy Not To Nip. Owning an Australian puppy can be a joyous and fruitful experience.  Like our children, we love showing off our playful little pride and joy to our neighbors and friends.

But as a newbie puppy owner understanding why your Australian puppy bites can be a huge question in your mind and thus sometimes we don’t know how to stop it.

In this guide on how to train an Australian Shepherd puppy not to bite, I will offer 8 tips on how to deter this negative behavior.

Let’s dive in…

Watch this video on YouTube.

How To Train An Australian Puppy Not To Nip (8 Tips)

1) Consistently React To Nips (Bits)

Every time your Australian puppy bites, say “NO” in a firm but convincing voice. Then walk away from the puppy and ignore him/her at all costs. This type of “time out” and social isolation can be an ideal way of teaching your puppy.

Secondly, you can use a loud “yelp” sound when your puppy bites. It might be a little awkward but that’s what puppies do if another pup bites them. Without any harm, this reaction from you will teach the pup what is acceptable playing and what is not.

2) Use A Taste Deterrent To Keep Your Puppy From Nipping

Before you begin playing with your pup, you can spray a taste deterrent on the parts of your body that the pup likes to bit on.

The moment your pup begins nipping, make sure you do not move and wait for him to react to the deterrent taste. Once applied, your pup will immediately back off and stop the negative behavior. Follow up with praise and then continue your playtime.

Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have applied the detergent material.

These taste deterrents include white vinegar, Vicks vapor rub, and bitter apple. Once you applied on your hands, they get a very unpleasant taste that neither your or your pup won’t like.

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3) Divert Your Puppy’s Attention To Playing Toys

The moment your pup has relaxed and is calm, try talking to him/her as you also stroke them. Ensure that you have kept your hands off the pup’s mouth at all times. Begin playing with the pup and make sure you do not get it overly excited.

Ensure that this time you use a toy rather than your hands to get your pet a little engaged. You can begin playing fetch with them.

You can use the toys to train your pup while keeping your hands away from his/her teeth. There are some dog experts who suggest that one should try playing tug of war with the pup using the toy.

This ensures that the pup knows that the game is controlled by a person on the other end. If it nips on your hands, the game stops immediately and the pup will gradually learn that setting his/her teeth on your hands is negative behavior.

Additional Reading:

How To Raise A Vizsla Puppy (What You Should Know)
How To Keep A Dog Cool Inside The House -15 Helpful Tips

4) Use A Water Bottle

If the nipping behavior is extreme, ensure you have a water spray bottle on hand. Squirt the water on the pup when it starts to nip. Follow up with a “yelp” sound to get attention.

The spray water will startle the pup and interrupt its nipping behavior. However, don’t do it in a threatening way to the pup.

5) Use Positive Reinforcement

Every time the pup adheres to the command of not nipping on your hands, give it a treat accompanied by some cuddles. Use treats and rewards to reinforce these behaviors.

It is good to always remember that you are the pup’s parent.

For instance, if the pup responds to your command of stopping to nip, cuddle him calling him a good boy/girl, and give them a treat. This action will reinforce the good behaviors of your puppy.

6) The Leave It Method

You can hold some treats for the puppy with your hand and call him/her and allow it to sniff on your hand. Then immediately the pup to leave it. Once the pup stops, applaud it and give it a treat.

Repeat this method and once again applaud the puppy if it follows the command.

7) Use The Ouch Method

To start with, whenever the puppy nips on your hands, say Ouch in a loud voice. Then immediately stop playing with the puppy and stand up and cross your arms.

After like five minutes call the puppy again and start playing again.

Repeat this process until the puppy understands that nipping is not acceptable behavior.

8) Experiment With The Pressure Method

To start this process, pick the puppy’s toy and call him/her to start playing. When playing, if your pup nips on your hand, shout “Aha” and press your flat hand on the back of the pup’s mouth.

Repeat this process until the puppy no longer nips on your hands. Once the puppy stops, give them the toy and then repeat this process again.

Repetition is necessary until your puppy fully comprehends that nipping on your hands is not allowed. Once the puppy gets what you want, applaud it and you can ever go a step further and give it a treat.

How To Train An Australian Puppy Not To Nip (Bite)

Why Does My Australian Puppy Nip? (5 Top Reasons)

I have discussed how to train an Australian puppy not to nip. Let’s continue and briefly discuss why Australian puppies nip in the first place.

1) Natural Instinct

A young puppy will naturally and instinctively want to bite many things. This is something that is natural to them because they are exploring their new environment (Read how to stop a dog from chewing on wood trim here).

They pick things up, to feel taste, and smell virtually anything that is new to them.

Sometimes when you put your hand out they will nip or bite at you.  We as Australian puppy owners must realize this is som

2) Teething

As a new Australian puppy, they will go through the teething process.  Although there is no exact time frame, it generally occurs between 3 months to 7 months of age.

If you are a parent of a child, think back when your son or daughter was crying out a such a young age.  We as parents instinctively know our child’s gums are going through the teething process.

Well, puppies go through the same process and need to respond in the only behavior that is natural.  They will want to bite on something or someone.

There are several ways an Australian puppy owner to curb this behavior in which we will discuss solutions down below.

3) Just Plain Bored

When you are just sitting around for something to do, sometimes we take action to overcome this feeling.  Like talking to someone, clean house, or just want to go outside to get some fresh air.

Australian puppies can have similar feelings although they obviously can’t speak so they nip at your pant leg or shirt sleeve.  This will definitely get your attention but we as puppy owners need to understand there is a reason for this behavior.

Playing with them or go for a walk outside is a good start.  Other ideas will follow below.

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4) Pent Up Energy

Ok, we come home from a long day at work and want to relax, right?  Leaving a puppy in a crate throughout the day, they will naturally want to run around and release that built up energy.

So now we have to let our puppy out of the crate and into the back yard or dog park and let them play.  This may not be what you feel right now.

Again, if you neglect this thought your puppy may be nipping at you and will be asking why does my Australian puppy bite so much?

5) Overtired

This reason may not be so obvious unless we think about it.  Sometimes when we are so tired and focus, we as humans naturally want to keep busy doing something we need to get done like building a project.

We want to complete the task quickly even though we may be losing energy and not know it.  Puppies that are overtired can experience the same feeling.  Let me explain.

If you and your puppy have been playing in the house or backyard for a while having fun, once he or she starts to nip at your leg is when we need to realize our Australian puppy needs a break.

Additional Reading:

Can Dogs Eat Pine Cones? Are They Toxic? (Answered)
Can You Hold A Puppy Too Much? (Read This First)


When you train your Australian puppy not to nip, understand bitting is a natural behavior for your best friend. During this process, we can help the puppy understand biting on everything is not acceptable.

Positive reinforcement and consistency are key ingredients when learning this process.  Mix it in with patients from your part and you will become successful over time.

Wesley Buck
Wesley Buck

Hello, my name is Wesley, and I grew up in Colorado. I went to school at St. Mary's University of Minnesota and have a B.S degree in Criminal Justice. I currently reside in Georgia and have been married for over 17 years.

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