Why Do Puppies Bite Older Dogs’ Faces? Reason Explained

Puppies are adorable creatures that bring joy and happiness to our lives. However, if you’ve ever observed a group of puppies playing, you may have noticed that they often engage in face-biting behavior towards older dogs. 

This behavior can be perplexing, especially for those who are new to the world of dogs. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind why puppies bite older dogs’ faces and delve into the underlying factors that contribute to this behavior.

Exploratory Behavior

Puppies, like human babies, explore the world around them through their mouths. Their teeth are a vital tool for exploring objects and understanding their environment. 

When puppies interact with older dogs, they may bite their faces as a means of exploring and learning about their fellow canines. 

It’s important to remember that puppies are still in the early stages of socialization and are developing their understanding of appropriate play behaviors.

Teething Process

Another reason why puppies bite older dogs’ faces is due to the teething process. During the first few months of their lives, puppies’ baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. 

This teething process can be uncomfortable and even painful for them, leading them to seek relief by chewing on various objects, including the faces of older dogs. 

It’s important for puppy owners to provide appropriate chew toys and supervise their interactions with older dogs during this stage to prevent any harm or discomfort.

See also  Why Does My Dog Hide Under the Bed at Night?

Play Behavior

Puppies have an innate desire to play, and biting is a natural part of their play behavior. When puppies bite an older dog’s face, it is often an invitation to play and engage in social interaction. 

They may initiate play by gently nipping at the older dog’s face, much like they would do with their littermates. While this behavior may be acceptable among puppies, older dogs may not always appreciate the intensity of their play style. 

Proper supervision and intervention are necessary to ensure that the play remains safe and enjoyable for all parties involved.

Lack of Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition refers to a dog’s ability to control the force of their bite. It is a crucial skill that puppies learn during their early socialization period. 

If puppies are separated from their littermates too early or do not have sufficient opportunities to interact with other dogs, they may not develop proper bite inhibition. 

As a result, when they play with older dogs, they may bite too hard, causing discomfort or injury. 

Owners should focus on teaching their puppies appropriate bite inhibition through positive reinforcement training and providing opportunities for them to interact with well-socialized adult dogs.

Social Hierarchies and Communication

Dogs, both young and old, have a complex social structure that includes hierarchies and communication signals. 

When puppies bite older dogs’ faces, they may be expressing their desire to establish social bonds or communicate their place within the hierarchy. 

Face-biting can be a way for puppies to seek attention, initiate play, or assert their dominance. 

See also  Should I Let My Dog Run Up to Other Dogs? Things to Know

However, it’s important to note that not all older dogs will tolerate or appreciate this behavior. Responsible owners should intervene and redirect the puppies’ attention to more appropriate forms of interaction.


Understanding why puppies bite older dogs’ faces requires a consideration of various factors, including exploration, teething, play behavior, bite inhibition, and social hierarchies. 

As owners, it is our responsibility to guide and train our puppies to develop appropriate social skills and manners. 

 bThrough positive reinforcement, proper supervision, and early socialization, we can help puppies learn how to interact respectfully with older dogs and other members of their canine community. 

Remember, with patience and understanding, we can foster harmonious relationships between puppies and older dogs, creating a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.