Why Your Dog Is Biting And How You Can Stop It
There are millions of people bitten by dogs each year. In the USA the numbers are over 4 million, and a large proportion of these need medical treatment. A lot of the victims are children under the age of 12. This is because they do not know how to act around dogs and they are smaller than adults.
Dog bites from dogs that are familiar with their victims are the most common. It is a serious problem, and there is a need for people to better understand their dogs and also train them to stop them biting. All dogs are capable of biting, and understanding the most common reasons why dogs bite is the best place to start.
A Dog May Bite When They Are Afraid
It is unusual for a dog to be fearful of family members and people that she knows, but it can happen. Usually a dog will be fearful of strangers, such as the postal worker and the vet. It is never a good idea to approach a dog that is not familiar to you, and your children need to understand this too.
It is possible that your family dog can become afraid if something startles them. Avoid sneaking up on your dog, and leave them alone when they are asleep. Make sure that your children know this as well.
When you have a new puppy, it is important that you introduce them to as many “friendly” people as possible. This needs to be extended to other animals too, such as other dogs and cats. This will help to stop the fear phobia in your young dog. Your dog will need to visit the vet on a regular basis, so you need a good strategy for this. Take your dog to the vet just for a visit the first time, to meet with the vet and staff. They can give your dog some treats to make her feel welcome. With postal workers, you can ask them to give your dog some treats which you will leave in the mail box.
If Your Dog Is In Pain They Can Bite
If your dog is in pain then this can cause them to bite. When a dog has an injury or some kind of illness, it is advisable to steer clear of the areas where she is experiencing pain. Your children must be told this.
This does not mean that you should not touch your dog. You just need to be careful to avoid any sore areas. If your dog suddenly starts biting, then a pain in their body could be the reason for this. Take her to the vet and get her checked out.
The Chase Can Cause A Dog To Bite
Dogs have a “prey” instinct, and those that live in the wild are used to running after and catching their food. If you cycle or run past a dog then this can trigger the prey instinct, and they can chase after you. Where possible you should avoid these kinds of situations. Do everything that you can to avoid dogs when you are running or cycling. If you need to cross the street to avoid a dog then do that. Educate your children about this as well for their safety.
There may be a time when avoiding being chased by a dog is not possible. If you are being chased, then stop running and stand still. Face the dog standing tall, but avoid eye contact as this can be really confrontational for the dog. If they want to sniff you then let them do this, as they will soon lose interest and go and do something else. A dog may knock you to the ground, and in this situation it is best to curl up and be still. Be sure to protect your hands, face and neck if this happens.
Dogs Can Be Very Possessive And This Can Lead To Biting
Dogs will often want to protect things that are theirs which can include people, food, their territory and even their toys. Guard dog and herding breeds are the worst offenders, but any dog can bite if they think that their possessions are being threatened. If your dog is eating a bone or other food, make sure that your kids understand not to bother her.
Mother Dogs That Have Just Had Puppies Can Bite
If you have a female dog that has given birth to puppies she may want to bite no matter how well trained she has been. This is her maternal instinct, and she will do almost anything to protect her puppies. You need to be very careful when handling the puppies around the mother. Tell your kids to stay away from the puppies when they are with their mother.
There Will Be Signs That Your Dog Is Going To Bite
If a dog is getting ready to bite, then there will be signals in the form of behaviour that you need to know about so that you can avoid a biting situation. You can also take specific action to calm your dog down and reduce any stress or fear.
Look for your dog pinning her ears back and check to see if you can detect the whites of her eyes. Is the fur on her back standing up? When you touch your dog and they stand off of you then be aware that they may bite. Intense eye contact from your dog can also mean a bite is on its way. Be careful of yawns as well, as they can be a sign that your dog wants to show her teeth in readiness for biting.
So how can you stop your dog biting? Well the first thing to realize is there is no absolute guarantee that your dog will never bite somebody, no matter how well you train them. What you can and must do is minimize the risk of them biting.
How To Stop A Puppy From Biting
Puppy’s less than six months old that are biting can be corrected fairly easily. Puppies at this young age like to play a lot, and chewing objects is part of this fun. When young puppies play with people they will think nothing of mouthing, chewing and biting your hands, other limbs and your clothes. If you just dismiss this as cuteness then you are asking for trouble down the track.
You must teach your puppy to be gentle with people, and train them to have bite inhibition. This means that they will control the amount of force they use when they are mouthing. Training a puppy not to bite is a lot easier than an adult dog, and by using the right training your puppy will learn that she should be gentle with people. This will lessen the likelihood of them biting hard and breaking the skin.
When puppies play together they often bite each other, and if this hurts the victim will give out a loud yelp and this will startle the biting puppy and they will stop biting. You should continue to play with your puppy, and if she bites you then make a similar loud yelp and she should stop the mouthing. If a yelp does not work you can try saying “No” using a stern voice.
If your puppy stops then give her praise and go back to playing again. She may try to bite you again and if she does then call a time out. This means that you will stop playing with your puppy for a short period of time, and they will not like this lack of attention. Go back to playing again after a while so that she learns gentle playing is OK, but biting playing will not be tolerated. This is a process that you will probably have to repeat a few times until the biting stops.
The next step to training puppy not to bite is to teach them that their teeth have no place on your skin. Your puppy may feel like biting you when they are stroked or touched in some way. If your puppy attempts to bite you in this situation, have some treats in your other hand that you can use as a distraction, so she gets used to physical attention. You can also give them a chew bone or a toy to stop them biting you.
Prevention is always better than cure, so buy your puppy some additional toys and chews that they can mouth rather than your skin. By using forms of play that are non contact such as tug of war or fetch the ball, you will be at less risk of biting than if you wrestle with your puppy.
Sometimes puppies will feel the urge to bite you just because you are moving around. If this happens, then training puppies not to bite is simply achieved by remaining still and waving one of her toys around. Your puppy will grab the toy and then you can start to move again. After your puppy stops biting praise her and provide a treat or other reward.
Puppy training for biting requires that you observe some precautions to prevent the situation from arising. You do not want to discourage playing with your puppy, because this will help to create a strong bond with your dog. Gentle play is what you want to achieve. When it is play time, do not slap your puppy in the face to tell her this. Also avoid waving your hands or feet in her face.
If your puppy mouths you when playing, then don’t pull your hands or feet away quickly as she is likely to jump and try to grab you again. Just go limp, as this is not fun for your puppy. Never hit your puppy if they are mouthing during play. If you do it is likely that they will become more aggressive towards you. Physical punishment will almost certainly lead to fear which will make the situation worse.
Your puppy can experience a temper tantrum if she is upset about something that you have done. This can be simply from holding her, and if such a tantrum develops it will be a lot worse than playful mouthing. When a tantrum occurs it is likely that your puppies’ body can appear very stiff. She may even bear her teeth to you.
If a tantrum occurs while you are holding your puppy don’t cry out but remain calm. Shouting or yelling can make your puppy even angrier. Just keep holding her until she doesn’t struggle and calms down. Let her go after this.
General Dog Training For Biting
If you own a dog then you need to take responsibility, and do everything that you can to prevent your dog from biting. Have your dog spayed or neutered if you do not intend to breed them. This will be a big step in preventing your dog biting people.
You want to do everything that you can to bond with your dog. All of the family members need to be involved with this. Play with your dog on a regular basis, and giver her other forms of exercise so that she uses up excess energy that could turn into nervous energy and aggression. Avoid aggressive games such as wrestling with your dog.
Obedience training will also lessen the likelihood of a bite occurring. Your dog should be trained to respond to commands such as “come”, “sit” and “stay”. This is best done when your dog is young, but it is not difficult to teach an adult dog these commands with positive reinforcement training. It will just take longer to train an older dog.
Your dog needs to get used to people, so introduce them to as many people as you can without overwhelming them. You need to control your dog, and this means not allowing them to roam around wherever they want without a leash. Makes sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. If the worst does happen and she bites a stranger, there will be major trouble ahead if her vaccinations are not current.
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