Teaching Puppy not to Bite

We are coming to the end of Dog Bite Prevention week and so far our posts have been on teaching children how to behave around dogs, what to do if a dog is too rambunctious or a strange dog comes running up, how to understand dog body language – when it is ok to pet and when we should stay away.

Today’s post is going to be from the opposite perspective.  It is just as important to teach our dogs how to behave and have good bite inhibition as it is to teach our children how to behave and what to do.  Teaching bite inhibition should really be done as young puppies.  Think about how puppies play with each other… they play rough and tumble, using their mouths and sometimes there teeth.  Think about the last time you saw puppies play, what happened when one puppy got a bit over zealous and used his teeth?  The second puppy screamed and stopped the game of play.  After a “time-out” moment, usually the game is on again.  It normally takes very few of these interactions for a puppy to realize using his teeth hurts and the game ends.  It is important to do the same teaching when puppy is playing with humans.

We want to not only teach puppy what is not ok to put his teeth on, but what is.  Having a selection of toys and chewies available is a really good idea, so when one behaviour is discouraged an appropriate one can be encouraged.  The poster below from Pet Health Network outlines these basics:

puppy bites

If “yepling” doesn’t end puppies bad biting behaviour, leave the room if puppy won’t be able to follow (over the baby gate for example) or put puppy away in his crate for a settle down period.  After a short time – a few minutes really – you can go back into the room or let puppy back out and re-initiate play using a toy that they can chase and “attack”.  It may also be a good opportunity to teach your dog to have some quiet time.  Give him a chewie or stuffed kong and let him have quiet time either on the dog bed or in their crate.  ****Be absolutely certain that the children do NOT bother puppy during this time****

 There are definitely ways to teach puppy to not resource guard and let others have what they have, but this should be done first with an adult through exchange – I will give you this toy/chewie and now I will take this toy/chewie – before ever allowing a child to do so and certainly never unsupervised.  Resource guarding is not uncommon in dogs, but through patience and trading for something better you can teach your dog that they can give up what they have because something better is coming.

If you are having any trouble with puppy biting or resource guarding, please give us a call so that we can help you and your dog successfully make it through this stage of life.

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