For a while, everything your puppy does is adorable. Eventually of course, certain behaviors can become frustrating the longer they continue, and nipping is one of the worst culprits of incurring stress between pet and pet parent. With every puppy, however, there are ways to lessen and discourage this behavior, and these three are some of the most effective.

Seek Assistance

The first, of course, is to get professional help. The great thing about a dog trainer is that they not only train your puppy, they train you—teaching you how to behave in order to discourage instead of encourage such behavior in your pet. After that, you’ll be able to implement their advice with your puppy on the daily, and will quickly see results. In general, good dog trainers will offer a variety of solutions, and if you follow each of them faithfully the problem of puppy nipping will quickly dissipate.

Understand Their Cues

Another great way to discourage puppy nipping is being able to determine when your pet is playing, and when they’re being actually aggressive. The quicker you understand this, the easier it will be to fashion your behavior accordingly—to discourage and then continue gentle play, or to entirely disengage if they are or begin to be aggressive. Being an educated caretaker with rules is an effective way to prevent aggression in your puppy. You are liable for your dog’s behavior, so take the time while they are young to instill rules. This will help them to quickly learn what will be rewarded and what won’t be.

Redirect and Distract

When your puppy moves to nip, usually the hand or the ankles, being able to redirect or distract them to more appropriate play will help teach long term what kind of play is acceptable and will be rewarded. Have plenty of safe chew toys on hand that your dog can turn to when they’re in a nipping mood, and play games that are noncontact like fetch that will deter that urge. If you’re still having trouble, it may be your puppy needs more interaction with other dogs, not you, who can teach them what bites are too hard.

Your little furry family member has a lot to learn, but not nipping is right up there with potty training. With a little education and perseverance, you can teach your puppy not to nip. The quicker you curb this behavior, the happier everyone will be in the home!

Read this next for more great tips: 3 Essential Skills Your Dog Should Know