According to Petfinder, biting is one of the top ten reasons dogs wind up in shelters. Training your dog not to bite will not only make him a better pet but may save his life. Depending on the laws where you live, any dog that bites someone may be impounded or even euthanized.
Before You Begin Training Your Dog Not To Bite….
Buy a muzzle for your dog to prevent tragedies. You and your dog may get funny looks, but it is better to be safe than sorry. With a muzzle on, you can still walk your dog and socialize her to new people, pets and experiences. Forcing a dog to stay indoors during this time may cause so much stress that the dog bites.
Schedule an appointment with your vet to give your dog a check-up. Sudden biting may be a sign of pain. A dog may lash out without being vicious. She’s just trying to protect herself from more pain. Conditions causing dogs to bite include arthritis, epilepsy, a torn dew claw and an injury like a hairline fracture.
Act Like a Puppy
Once your dog gets a clean bill of health, it’s time for training to begin. All you have to do is mimic what puppies do to each other to keep other puppies from biting too hard. Ever watch puppies play? They can be rough. They do mouth and nip each other. If a puppy gets out of control and bites another, the bitten puppy yips.
Whenever your dog’s mouth comes into contact with your skin or clothes, yip like a hurt puppy. This usually startles your dog, so he stops what he’s doing. The dog either freezes or removes the mouth from whatever he was chewing on. Praise your dog for stopping and give a reward like a chew stick.
What If Your Dog Is Too Rambunctious?
Dogs of all ages can get easily worked up when in a good play session. Your yipping may fall on suddenly deaf canine ears. If your dog ignores you, you need to step up a punishment without actually hurting your dog. Leave the room or yard for ten minutes. Your dog loves your attention, so when you leave, you are making it clear that a mouth on skin or clothes is not acceptable.
Do praise your dog when you return and play again. You do not always need to give a food treat. Some dogs love scratching or petting. Some love toys more than food. Over time, you’ll soon learn what most motivates your dog into doing what you want her to do.
Play the Right Way….
Playing is a great way to sneakily train your dog not to bite. Playing not only strengthens the bond between you and your dog, but also burns off excess energy. A tired dog is less easily distracted and more likely to pay attention to you. Keep training sessions short so as not to bore the dog. Bored dogs will not pay attention.
Avoid using your hands as toys. Do not get into any play-slapping or wrestling bouts with your dog. Some owners like to “box” with their dogs. Never do this. Roughhousing, even only in fun, is the most common way a dog may accidentally nip or chomp on you. Instead, play fetch, play tug-of-war or (the classic) go for a walk.
Consistency is Key…
If you are the only human living with your dog, then you ay skip this part. Most dogs live with couples or families, where many people in the home interact with the dog. Everyone in the home needs to be on board with how to train the dog not to bite. Everyone needs to do the same things every time the dog mouths or places even just the lips on skin or clothing.
It’s no good if you do not let your dog mouth you but everyone else in the house does. This sends a confusing message to the dog, that it’s okay to bite or mouth some people sometimes. This can lead to a serious bite later on. The dog will learn quicker to keep her mouth off others if everyone acts the same.
If you follow these instructions and your dog still bites, even if just in play, then you need to call in the professionals. Find a Certified Dog Trainer like those at the Active K9 to help you train your dog not to bite. Your dog’s life is worth it.