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Teaching Your Dog that Biting Isn't a Game

Source: PetWave, Updated on August 30, 2016
Biting, Nipping & Mouthing Guide:

Dog Biting, Nipping and Mouthing

Some puppy owners enjoy playing the “biting game.” It can be fun and funny to watch your puppy nip at your fingers and clothing. In fact, mouthing is a natural tendency in puppies as they lose their baby teeth and grow into adulthood. However, adult dog teeth can cause a lot more damage to humans and other animals than puppy teeth.

Adult dogs that nip, mouth, and bite were probably not given proper boundaries as puppies. In order to have a dog that is well mannered and welcome around people and other dogs, biting behavior must be curbed.

If a dog’s biting goes beyond mouthing, serious problems can arise. Dogs that bite out of fear or aggression can end up in very dangerous situations. Biting can cause serious injury to people or other dogs, and can lead to lawsuits and even the forced euthanasia of the offending dog. It is important to work with your puppy so that he understand not to put his mouth on humans, and if your adult dog is biting, it is crucial to pinpoint the root cause, so that you can work with the dog to stop the behavior immediately.

Common Causes of Biting

  • Puppies Bite as They Teethe - When dogs are puppies they can teethe just like humans do. The pain from new teeth coming in causes the dog to want to try and get rid of it. Just like a teething ring for humans, the dog wishes to bite down on something. In most cases, the puppy is just nipping on your finger or on some item. They normally don’t bite down hard and the behavior goes away after the teeth are finally in.
  • Breed Tendencies - The type of breed of dog you have may be a reason why nipping and biting are causing a problem. Certain breeds of dogs tend to be either more territorial or more aggressive. The dog’s reaction is to bite first to let the person or other animal know that this is their toy or space, and that touching or coming near them is not good. The bite becomes a warning.
  • Fear - Fear plays a role a lot of times when dogs bite. If something or someone has scared the dog, their first reaction is often to bite to show that it is afraid. There are some dogs that may nip only as a warning to show it does not like the situation it is in.
  • Biting to Seek Attention - Finally, there are some dogs that nip to show that they are there. They are giving out a signal to owners or other things that they are there and either pay attention or leave their surroundings. At times this will even mean that when someone comes over they are not familiar with their first reaction is to nip or bite making the person know that they are there.

Prevnting Biting is Key

When your dog is a puppy they will begin to start teething. The dog may want to nip or bite on something to reduce the pain. You can help your puppy by giving it a chew bone or a chew toy. Your puppy will be happy to be playing and you will be able to reduce them from chewing on other things.

Another way to help stop biting or nipping is to use a firm voice and tell them “no.” The dog will learn eventually that this is a bad activity for them to do. You can also use a reward system of a treat when they listen to you, showing them that they are doing well by not biting or nipping.

There are also items in which you can buy to train your dog not to bite or nip. Such things as clickers or whistles when used properly during the action you don’t want the dog to do, will signify to them that it is bad. After repeated use this can help the dog get used to the sound and know that when it is made they have done something they should not be doing. Remember, bve Consistent and give rewards for good behavior

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