Want To Prevent Aggression in Your Dog? Here's How to Understand the Biting Behavior and Prevent Dog Bites Now!
ANTI-BITE TRAININGDogs bite for many reasons, including teething, fear, playfulness, and illness. Nipping and mouthing begins when dogs are puppies, and it is often tolerated because it is seen as cute. However, if not corrected at an early age, it can lead to more serious problems. Puppies bite and chew on almost anything they find. Biting is included when playing with their litter-mates. Biting also teaches them how to use their main hunting tool, their mouth. When puppies are brought into a new home with people, these interactions carry over to the new members of the pack (all the people including children). Puppies have very sharp teeth and a bite or nip can be painful and terrifying to small children. There are several methods used to curb this behavior, but if you find you are frightened or intimidated by a dog that bites, please call your vet or a qualified dog trainer.
Why Nipping and Mouthing Occurs
Teething - Between the ages of five weeks and six months, puppies are teething. Provide your puppy with chew toys during this time to help alleviate the pain of teething. Soaking a washcloth in water and freezing it also works well. The coldness will help numb the gums; replace the cloth every two hours.
Owner-induced behavior - Excessive games of tug of war, waving your hands in front of the puppy instead of toys, or general rough housing with a dog will encourage him to nip or mouth.
Communication - Dogs communicate with their mouths. Nipping and mouthing may be an expression of anger, defensiveness, frustration, or anger. It may also be an expression of playfulness, fear or insecurity.
Proper Training to Prevent Nipping or Mouthing
Protect your hands with hands and wrist area with gloves, such as denim or heavy work gloves to prevent scratches and nips during the learning phase. Puppies have very sharp teeth and safety is a primary issue. If your puppy bites or mouths while you are wearing the gloves, overreact to the bite so as not to encourage further biting.
Startle response and redirect - Just as the puppy bites down, make a sudden and abrupt, high-pitched yelping sound. This would be the type of sound that a litter-mate would make if bitten by the puppy. The sound should be sudden and sharp so that the puppy is startled and stops the behavior. Try not to pull your hand away, even though your reflex will be to do so. A dog's instinct is to give chase and if you pull your hand away quickly, he'll go for your hand again. If done correctly, the puppy should instantly remove his mouth and look confused. At this point, quickly substitute a toy, such as a ball, that the puppy can chew on. This redirects the puppy's biting behavior to the toy. The puppy learns that it is no fun biting you, but chewing on the toy is. You will need to do this multiple times if the puppy gets excited during play. However, if the yelping makes the puppy more excited, try another approach.
Stop the action - If the puppy is mouthing or biting you, immediately leave the room. This is a method children can also safely use. After multiple times, the puppy will learn that every time he bites, he loses his playmate and that isn't any fun.
Holding the mouth open - The simplest method for handling this behavior is to very quickly grab their mouth and hold it open, while simultaneously saying a very stern "no" in a low tone. This is done by placing your thumb and middle fingers over the bridge of the nose and pinching the upper lips against the upper teeth. Wait about 1 second and let go. This will take a few sessions, but the puppy will soon put together that the bite instantly causes his mouth to be held shut. Note: This is not a method that children should use as discipline. Sometimes it looks like fun to do this to the puppy, but children may prompt the puppy to bite so they can hold the jaw. Additionally, they may get hurt or hurt the puppy.
Holding the mouth shut - The simplest method for handling this behavior is to very quickly grab their mouth and hold it shut, while simultaneously saying a very stern "no" in a low tone. This is done by having your thumb over the top of their nose and your fingers below the bottom of the jaw. There is no need to firmly squeeze the upper and lower jaw together. Hold the puppy's mouth closed for a few seconds. Your puppy will whine as this is uncomfortable and he won't like it. Wait 4 or 5 seconds and then let go. This will take a few sessions, but the puppy will soon put together that the bite instantly causes his mouth to be held shut. Note: This is not a method that children should use as discipline. Sometimes it looks like fun to do this to the puppy, but children may prompt the puppy to bite so they can hold the jaw. Additionally, they may get hurt or hurt the puppy.
Choke chain and leash correction - Use a choke chain and attach it to a six-foot leash. Standing at your puppy's right side, hold the leash with both hands, a little below your waist level. Jerk the leash sideways and slightly upward to the right, which tightens the collar around the neck. As you jerk the leash, say "no" in a firm tone of voice. Set up a situation in which your puppy or dog will be likely to nip or mouth. Initiate a corrective jerk and tell him no as soon as he begins the behavior. Use a gentle tone with a shy dog and a firmer tone with a stubborn dog. Praise him when he ceases the behavior and offer an acceptable chew toy.
Consider his feelings - When bringing a puppy or dog into your home, be considerate of his emotional state. He may feel threatened or cornered by all the attention he is receiving. You need to gain his trust, so approach him in a calm way, talking quietly and reassuringly, and never grab or lunge for him. Place a treat in your hand and let him come to you, then slowly reach toward him. This calm approach is especially important with a shy or timid dog, or perhaps one who comes from a shelter and has a history or abuse or neglect.
Social handling - This exercise is one of the most important, and should start on the first day you bring your puppy or dog home and continue throughout the dog's life. You need to be able to touch every part of your dog's body so you can take care of him. It is a good bonding experience and teaches him to trust being handled. Sit on the floor and lay your puppy or dog in your lap, or at your side for larger dogs. By positioning yourself above the puppy or dog as it is lying still, you are putting yourself in the dominant position, which will help maintain (or establish) your dominant position in the family. Run your hands over his body, starting with his head, touching and examining the ears, and running your hands over the eyelids. Open the dog's mouth and examine the teeth and gums, rubbing your finger along the dog's gum line. Give him a massage as you run your hands down its neck to the shoulders, down the legs, touching the paws, toenails and the area between the pads. Continue in this manner until you have touched every inch of his body. If you prefer, the dog can be standing while you examine him. This should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for the dog, but mostly you want the dog to become comfortable with being touched. If your dog is hurt or sick, it will make it easier for the veterinarian to examine him if he is accustomed to being touched. The same thing applies if he needs to be groomed; it will be a lot easier on you or the groomer when you clip his nails or clean his ears if he is relaxed about it.
Ask before you touch - One way to keep your dog from biting a stranger who might intimidate him, even if he's not a biter, is to set boundaries around your dog with other people. Step in when someone you don't know approaches your dog to pet him. Ask the person to approach the dog quietly and calmly and hold their hand in a fist, with the palm down and fingers under the thumb (to protect the fingers). This allows the dog can get a good sniff of the person right away. If the dog does not show any aggression, let the person pet the dog.
There is no way to guarantee your dog will never bite someone, but you can significantly reduce the risk. Here are some other tips to keep in mind.
- Consider your pet selection. Do your homework and be knowledgeable about the breed you have selected for behavioral traits and suitability to your home.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Spayed or neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite than intact dogs.
- Socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to as many people and situations so that he is not nervous or frightened under normal social situations.
- Train your dog. Participate in puppy socialization or dog training classes to help you and your dog learn good obedience skills. Training your dog is a family matter and every member of the household should be included and should use the same training techniques.
- Be alert. Know your dog and watch for signs that he is uncomfortable or feeling aggressive.
- Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Avoid aggressive games such as wrestling or tug of war. Do not allow your puppy or dog to bite or chew on your hands. Do not wait for an unacceptable behavior to become a bad habit or hope your dog will "grow out of it." If your dog shows dangerous behavior toward any person, particularly toward children, get professional help from your veterinarian or a qualified dog trainer.
- Be a responsible dog owner. Obtain a license for your dog as required by law and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. Do not allow your dog to roam. Make your dog a member of the family (his pack). Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied out on a chain are more likely to become dangerous. Well-socialized dogs rarely bite.
- Be cautious. If you don't know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. If you think your dog will panic in a crowd, leave him at home. If your dog overacts to visitors or delivery personnel, keep him in another room. Work with professionals to help your dog become accustomed to these and other situations.