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How to Stop Puppy Biting

It is never a good idea to let Puppy play with your hands or feet – no matter how cute it seems. This teaches Puppy it is OK to bite skin. Even though tiny puppies playing tug-of-war with your big finger is cute, it is teaching a very bad habit! Never let a puppy do something once that you do not want him to repeat. It is far easier to prevent bad habits from developing that it is to retrain an older puppy or adult dog. Here are two techniques to teach puppy not bite. Technique #1 is less physical and I recommend it first. It may take a few days or so for puppy to catch on. Technique #2 involves physically stopping puppy. Some puppies (or dogs) may actually perceive this as a challenge to try again so I do not recommend it is as much.

Technique #1 – yelp and walk away:

Puppies are very social creatures and refusing to engage in play can be an effective training technique. As soon as puppy starts to bite or nip, give a loud, yelping OUCH!!! Glare at the pup, get up and move away. After a minute or so, get a toy and return to puppy. Encourage the puppy to play with the toy. If he goes for you with a nip, repeat yelping and walking away.

Technique #2 – shake can:

If puppy does not respond to a verbal command only, try a shake can. Get an empty and clean soda can and place about 10 pennies in it. Tape the mouth shut. When your pup starts to nip, give the verbal command and at the same time give the can a good shake or drop it next to puppy (not on him please). This will help reinforce the verbal command. As soon as he stops, praise and give him a good toy to chew.

Technique #3 – shake down:

If Techniques 1 and 2 fail, then try this. I am not as fond of it as it involves physically grabbing the pup for reinforcing the "No Bite!". Start with a loud yelping OUCH; at the same time as you grasp the loose skin on puppy's neck. Give a firm scruff but not a shake and firmly say "NO BITE!" Do not pull puppy up and away, just scruff him. Release puppy and get him involved with a good toy. After a while, stop the scruff and just use the verbal.

Play Initiated Nipping

Certain games encourage biting and should be avoided when working on "No Bite": tug-of-war (my dogs are not allowed to play this with humans until they are well aware of the "pack hierarchy" and will release the toy when told to.); chase and tackle games; and other games where you actively encourage the puppy to bite a person. Dangling treats and encouraging a puppy to jump for then can encourage snapping for food as well as injure growing joints. If you play tug-of-war make certain YOU start the game and YOU stop it. If puppy brings you a toy and encourages you to play, reverse the rules (see NILIF below).

Nothing in Life is Free:

It is also a good idea to get your puppy used to working for things – even play time. Before you feed puppy, have him sit and then feed. Do the same before leashing up for a walk. If the puppy brings a toy and asks you to play, turn tables and do a bit of training then play. Puppy learns that if he listens and obeys and does something, there will be a reward. This also helps establish humans as higher in the pack order.

Should your dog continue to bite and not respond or if the biting is accompanied with aggression, growling or anything you do not like, contact a behaviorist. Also, have your dog examined by a vet. There could be an underlying factor for the biting. A dog that is sore or not feeling well may bite. It is his way of saying something is not right. Also, a poorly socialized or scared dog is more prone to bite, as is a startled one. Teach your children NEVER EVER touch a dog, even one they know, without the owner's permission. Teach them never to handle a stray or loose animal, even if they know it. Children should contact a grown-up instead. Teach children not to tease or hurt dogs. Even the most tolerant dog can be pushed past his limit and retaliate. Even if the children are plainly at fault, it will be the dog that suffers. Prevention is the key.

Article written by:
Karen Peak
West Wind Dog Training
http://www.westwinddogtraining.com




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