Ouch! My Dog Bites

Ouch! My Dog Bites!

Dog BitesI don’t like it. You don’t like it. But the fact is, all dogs bite. Biting is a natural, normal dog behaviour. Just another canine activity which we humans would be happier without.

So what do you do about your biting doggy? First, ask yourself how HARD your dog is biting. Then ask yourself how OFTEN is he biting? Good. Now you’re on your way to ending this biting problem.

How HARD is your dog biting?

Is your dog breaking skin when he bites? If so, I probably don’t have to tell you that he’s biting harder than he should. You might be surprised to know that many dog owners tolerate bites that break their skin. “Oh, he’s only being a dog,” they might say. They’re right. But the problem becomes quite serious when their dog breaks someone else’s skin. Maybe it’s the postman, or a visiting friend.

Or maybe your dog bites your not-so-friendly neighbour’s child — and breaks skin.

Broken skin means possible legal action. But you can prevent it from happening. Read on to learn how…

How OFTEN is he biting?

If he’s a puppy, then he’s probably biting (“playbiting” or “mouthing”) all the time. He’s doing to you what all pups do to their littermates – gnaw and chew at each other almost continually. Some adolescent and even older dogs still mouth their owners, and for training purposes that’s a very good thing! Any dog who still mouths, even less frequently than a puppy, can be trained to prevent serious biting in the future.

When he’s young, it’s imperative that you “play the part” of his canine littermate: Allow him to mouth at you (or, feel free to initiate a little mouthing).
When he bears down too hard, immediately stop playing with him and move away.

But when he is only chewing lightly on your hand, ALLOW IT!

These two different responses from you and other members of your household teach him a crucial lesson: “When I bite my people too hard, the fun and interaction stop. When I bite them softly, the fun and interaction continue! I’m going to choose to bite softly next time, and from now on!”

This is a very important concept that many people simply aren’t aware of. Most dog owners think that as soon as they bring their pup home, all biting should be discouraged. But nothing could be further from the truth. Your dog needs to learn how to use his mouth, and without canine playmates to show him, it’s up to you. As he grows older, you will teach him not to use his mouth on humans, ever. But that lesson should not be learned until he develops what dog trainers call a “soft mouth”.

It’s an easy exercise and it only takes a few weeks, and doing it will change the course of history, I promise! There may be a day in the future, when your darling – who has never once bitten anyone, ever — grows old and irritable. Maybe he has trouble seeing, or hearing. A child runs by laughing and bumps him rudely while he’s eating. Will he, for the first time in his life, being fed up with screaming, bumping children, take a chunk out of her? Or will he remember from the lessons you taught him early on that humans cannot tolerate being touched by his teeth and although he does nip at her, he does not break skin.

See? Changing history, or the future – how ever you want to look at it!

So here’s your plan. Do what it says in the box above, for 3-4 weeks. (All household members, including children, must be involved in and understand the soft-mouthing exercises, as well as the no-biting exercises below.) After 1 week he may not want to mouth you at all, but go ahead and initiate 2-3 daily mouthing sessions yourself so that you do this for 3-4 weeks total.

By now he should have a very “soft mouth, and he’s ready for you to teach him never to use that mouth at all, no matter what. Play and live as usual with your dog.

Any and every time his teeth come into contact with your skin or clothes (with dogs, there are no accidents when it comes to teeth), pretend that those teeth are white hot coals — and end all interaction with him immediately, for a few minutes. At the instant white hot coals touch your skin, you might yelp. But you don’t scold the coals, do you? Scolding equals interaction. No scolding, no commands. No interaction. He will learn very quickly to keep his teeth away from you at all times.

Good dog!

What if my dog doesn’t mouth me any more?

Then you have a more difficult problem. Do your best to initiate mouthing exercises as above. Most happy-go-lucky dogs will use their mouths if you play with them a bit and actually put your hand in their mouths to encourage them. Then you’ll have to react in one way or another to minute differences in mouth pressure – hard versus almost-as-hard. It can be done and I strongly recommend that you do.

If he’s simply too old to learn this new trick, then you likely know him well enough to predict when he might bite. Avoid those situations and manage around them as best you can, and don’t be angry with him for not knowing what you didn’t teach him earlier in life.

Zara’s Doggy Day Care have a specialist dog day care in Surrey to take good care of your pet whilst you are away. They also provide dog walking services and dog day care services for while you are at work

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