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June 5

How to train your dog not to bite

6  comments

Have you ever wondered why dogs always bite and chew on things they shouldn't?

Introduction

Every dog owner goes through this, really!

Puppies will bite as normal behavior through their own experimentation - they generally do this to learn to jaw control from their litter mates and mother. 

This will help them prevent from biting when they are stressed or in an unfamiliar situation.

As we can see, the pups were merely play biting each other, there is a moment where a pup got bit a little too hard and squealed, the rest of the pups also stopped playing.

That is where they learn biting (in the wild at least).

How to Train your Dog not to Bite

Dogs are highly perceptive animals. They perceive things even before humans could get a hint of things.

That’s why dogs are used in police and army squads to alert security personnel of upcoming danger.

Dogs behave instinctively and react with lightning speed to any hint of danger to it or its owner.

Their quick reflexes keep them from getting hurt or even killed. Sometimes their instinctive or quick reaction result in dog bites.

This reflex behavior may continue even in a protective environment if it is not trained when it was still a puppy.


Why does a Dog Bite?

A dog bites for several reasons. Firstly, biting is an inherent behavior of a dog.

It is a reaction wired to its mind by birth. A dog may bite when it smells danger, gets scared, or is attacked. It even bites to indicate that it is bored or tired.

A mother dog may resort to biting if it feels that her pups are in danger.

If a dog is subjected to a long spell of abuse and humiliation, it may develop a biting habit to protect itself.

A dog may playfully bite when it is playing with you or other dogs. The intensity and force of the bite vary from dog to dog and depends on the situation a dog is in.

Biting can also be a sign of a more dominant dog.

Or sometimes, a dog could also be having some dental issues (i.e. it's teeth is loose or broken, or perhaps something got lodged in-between their gums)


However, more on that below:


How to Train a Dog Not to Bite

Teaching a dog to stop biting through training depends on the breed of a dog. Some breeds learn things quickly and some take time to understand commands and instructions.

Whatever breed of dog, the steps involved in training a dog remain the same. If you decide to train your dog, prepare to allocate a considerable amount of time for training your dog.


Let’s see what all the steps involved in training your dog.


1. Finding the Reason for your Dog’s Biting Behavior.

If you are training your dog to stop any particular behavior, you should look for the reason for the same.

If your puppy is biting without any reason, you should start training it not to bite immediately.

Grown-up dogs bite out of habit or some inevitable reasons. The reasons may include fear, boredom, tiredness, illness, teeth problem, etc. 

 A long spell of inactiveness and improper diet may also result in dog biting. Study your dog’s behavior closely if it starts biting - You may find the reason without taking professional help or seeking the advice of your vet.

Of course, puppies being puppies, how to stop your puppy from biting may be a little harder than it seems - because they love playing and exploring.

That said, have a look at the different tips below.


2. Bite inhibition Training.

The intensity of dog bite varies from one dog to another.

A dog may nip or playfully bite without causing any pain or inflicting a wound. Some dogs unintentionally bite with force leaving severe bite marks amounting to blood flow.

In such cases, you should subject your dog to bite inhibition training. This training involves teaching your dog to bite in a controlled way, which doesn’t inflict any pain.

While training your dog you should make a high-pitched sound if your dog exerts more than required pressure. This high-pitched sound alerts your dog and it stops you biting further.

Repeating this training would make your dog get accustomed to low-intensity biting, where you would have effectively learned how to train a dog not to bite.


3. The Act of Punishment.

You punish your children when they behave badly to show your disapproval.

In the case of your children, you may stop talking to them or deprive them of a certain facility. You can use this tactic with your dog.

When your dog bites while playing or during any other activity, you should immediately stop and ignore your dog. You shouldn’t react by shouting, yelling, or shoving your dog away.

Any reaction would excite your dog and it may not learn the lesson. Turning your face and folding your hands across your chest may indicate that you disapprove of your dog’s behavior.

Continue with this punishment every time your dog bites. Your dog will eventually learn not to bite in any situation. Remember that your punishment shouldn’t be severe. It should always be mild and controlled.

This usually works best on how to get a puppy to stop biting - the younger they learn this, the more this will stick later into their adult lives.


4. Get your Dog a Chewy Toy.

Chewy dolls or items act as great pacifiers for dogs.

Whenever you feel like your dog is getting into a biting mood, give a toy to chew.

This allows the dog to bite or chew the toy until it gets tired.

Repeating this procedure whenever your dog wants to bite would allow it to differentiate between biting and non-biting substance.

Keep replacing the toy so that your dog doesn’t get bored with chewing the same toy. Eventually, your dog will lose interest in biting such toys and stop biting.


5. Keeping your Dog Engaged.

Dogs love playing or any form of activity. Keeping them engaged in a play or activity would distract your dog from biting habit.

Teach your dog to play with toys, other animals, or themselves to keep the dog always engaged. A stroll in the park, occasional outings, and socializing with animals are also some ways to keep your dog busy.

Socializing your dog is perhaps one of the most important - because your dog will also learn how to not to bite around other dogs.

Or at least, learn to control its bite strength.

These activities help your dog remain calm and forget biting.


6. Testosterone Aggression

Another possible reason for dogs biting (if the reason isn't clear) could be that it's simply a little more aggressive due to the dog's testosterone.

So, one of the ways to reduce dog bites is to neuter or spay your dog (if you're not intending for your dog to breed). This generally can reduce the aggressiveness of dogs. (in male dogs at least)


7. Other Tips

Most importantly, know your dog's body language. Often there are warning signs when dogs will bite : ears pinned back, teeth showing, and their fur stands.

There are dogs that would bite their owners. This usually falls under the category of the dog being either possessive, or thinking that it's the pack leader, and you're the follower.

 So if you want to take away their food, they will bite you. They are DISCIPLINING YOU. THEY ARE SAYING THEY CONTROL YOU. So the most important thing here is quite simple: you MUST BE THE PACK LEADER.

Here's an audio track on reasons dogs bite their owners if you're interested to hear more comprehensive reasons why dogs bite their owners. Its downloadable, so you can listen to it on the go!


Conclusion

You shouldn’t get scared if your dog starts biting as it is its inborn nature.

Finding the reason and addressing it through training would eventually stop your dog from biting.

Do not forget to pamper your dog with treats whenever it obeys your command.

It ensures the dog that you love him immensely and would do everything to help him get rid of the biting habit.   



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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