How can I stop my puppy from biting?

April 13, 2012

Puppies are adorable and irresistible bundles of fur. Puppies though are not born already well behaved dogs. They have some undesirable habits that have to be eliminated. One of these bad habits is biting. Nipping, mouthing and biting are natural behaviors of puppies. A puppy’s bite rarely causes harm. However, the threat of rabies from a puppy’s bite can be alarming. Although the Center for Disease Control has declared that US is a rabies free country, it would still be possible for a puppy to contact rabies from wild animals. Rabies vaccination is given to puppies around 4 months of age. This means that it is possible for puppies younger than four months to be rabid. Aside from the threat of rabies, the biting behavior has to be stopped before the puppy reaches adulthood. If the puppy’s inclination to bite is not stopped it will grow into an adult dog that is predisposed to biting and of course the bite of an adult dog would be a lot different from the harmless nips of a puppy. These kinds of bites can inflect serious injuries.

Puppies have a very curious nature. They discover their world using their mouths. Puppies would bite when they are exploring, when they are excited, when they are hungry and when they want to manifest a dominant behavior. The inclination to bite becomes more pronounced when the puppy is teething. Biting and chewing eases the soreness of the gums. A puppy would have all the attention of the family. The puppy will be constantly cuddled and played with especially by the kids. While playing the puppy will nip and bite. The biting is part of playing and the puppy is unaware that the bite can hurt. Bite inhibition should have been taught by the mother dog. However, puppies that were separated from the mother too soon are the ones noted to exhibit excessive biting. Apparently, a mother dog has effective methods in teaching the puppies bite inhibition. We dog owners can take note how the mother dog disciplines the litter and use the same methods in stopping the puppy’s biting habit.

When a puppy bites the mother dog or the littermates, the mother dog would growl and grab the scruff of the errant puppy’s neck with its teeth. The mother dog would also ignore the puppy for a while. Of course you cannot bite your pet. Neither should you inflect any other form of physical punishment. But you can scream as if you were hurt by the bite and in no nonsense voice issue a No Bite command. At first the pup will not understand what you mean so you can have a spray bottle filled with cold water at hand. When the pet persists in biting you, spritz the face with the cold water. You can also use a soda can with coins to create a distraction. When you see the pup about to bite, rattle the can. Ignore the puppy for a while or you can confine him in a crate for a few minutes. In spite the punishment, dominant puppies will test your will. From the word get, let the pet know who is the boss. Make the pet understand that biting, painful or not painful is not acceptable. Dogs are intelligent creatures and any kind of training is best started while the dog is still a puppy. You will make headway with the training but expect the puppy to manifest the biting habit every now and then especially when you are playing. Yelp and ignore the puppy when it bites. The pet will eventually learn not to bite lest he losses a playmate. Reinforce the training with rewards. Give the pet a treat if it licks you without letting the teeth touch your skin.

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