10 ways to wean an adult dog or puppy from biting
How to wean a dog from biting and is it possible if we’re not talking about a puppy? Let’s note right away that with consistent and regular work, anything is possible. Let’s figure out how to wean a puppy and an adult dog from biting.
Why dogs bite
Dogs have lived in the neighborhood of humans for centuries. Even if you don’t delve into the history and canine materials, you can guess that dogs would have been exterminated as a species if they actually threatened humans. The truth is that four-legged dogs bring too many benefits, which is why humans domesticated the dog and learned how to educate and train it.
There are no naturally aggressive dogs. All puppies are born cute little guys who are eager to socialize and love to play. During the first year of life, the dog gains experiences that will influence his character formation. Like humans, dogs have developed ways to communicate with each other. Because four-legged dogs cannot talk, they have had to learn a more complex language that includes sounds, gestures, body position, facial expressions, ears and eyes.
It is common for dogs to bite, so they express feelings, intentions and even positive emotions. The mother constantly licks the puppies, and when they grow up, allows herself to bite them a little and grab their withers. Of course, this is all for educational purposes, or to protect the puppies, but the point is the puppies learn from an early age that biting is normal.
For play and communication purposes, dogs most often bite each other on the withers. In the process of evolution the skin on the withers of dogs has become thicker, rougher and almost devoid of nerve endings. Therefore, when one dog grabs the other’s withers, both animals do not feel much discomfort.
From a puppy’s earliest age, he needs to be made to understand that your skin is much more sensitive and you are not comfortable with biting. Of course the baby does not bite painfully, he may look amused or let his teeth enter while playing. However, remember to express negative emotions in response to the bite, the puppy will grow up and grab your hands more and more, seeing nothing wrong with it.
Inexperienced owners think that there are dogs who just don’t bite. Such conclusions are drawn from observations of other people’s dogs. However, if you observe a dog that does not bite or is very gentle, it is likely that it is well-trained.
Tip: Try not to miss the point of parenting, since puppies are much more sensitive to their owner’s emotions.
It is more difficult to wean an adult dog from biting, as the habit is already “ingrained” and the dog is not as sensitive to the owner’s negative emotions. Working with adult dogs is complicated by several other aspects: size and strength. You need to be aware that even a light bite from a large and strong pet is enough to cause serious injury.
Types of bites
A bite is different from a bite. Bites are divided into types:
- Grip – the dog opens its mouth and wraps its arm or leg around, but does not clench its jaws. Grip is used by the dog to communicate and most often serves to express positive emotions, namely affection. Gripping is characteristic of leash dogs when playing.
- Soft Bite – the dog makes a grab with a slight clamping of the jaw. This behavior is usually accompanied by a playful attitude. Many puppies and even adult dogs like to emulate wrestling.
- Bite is a single grip with jaw clamping of varying intensity. Most often, single bites express fear of the dog, that is, they accompany a passive defensive reaction. After a single bite, the dog tries to get away quickly.
- Gripping is a single bite, characteristic of some breeds of dogs (fighting, service dogs). The meaning of the grip is to hold the subject. This type of biting was intentionally instilled in guard and guard dogs. Usually the dog applies the grip to unfamiliar people and animals, giving himself or the owner a few seconds to make further decisions.
- The attack is a series of bites. The dog usually bites by intercepting and moving toward the body (neck). The serial attack is common to most dog breeds.
In most cases, soft and light dog bites are not intentional, especially when dealing with puppies and juveniles. In rare cases, a dog with intense fear may inflict single bites or show aggression. Even experts have a hard time distinguishing the difference between a single bite and a light grip. The problem is that the types of bites are interpreted by the consequences, that is, by the fact of the injuries inflicted.
Usually, when a dog is aggressive, it does not just bite, but it also warns of its intentions. Before the bite is inflicted, the dog snapping, grinning, you can notice that the hair on the withers rises, and the posture of the pet looks tense.
If you have the slightest suspicion that your dog is biting because of aggression, it is recommended that you contact a qualified dog handler without delay and address the problem before it leads to tragedy.
How to avoid biting
All puppies explore the world using biting and chewing as a communication tool. The puppy tastes everything he’s interested in and it’s almost impossible to avoid this. Naturally, the little guy will play with his owner and grab his hands as long as these activities don’t overlap.
bite pillow for dogs or puppies review
While the pups are around their mother, they play with each other imitating wrestling and biting. After moving to a new home, it is difficult for the baby to readjust and accept new rules, so fostering must be done gently and consistently.
From the first day in the new home, every effort should be made to teach the dog to restrain his urges to bite and roughhouse behavior. The dog training literature describes quite a few methods for training puppies, but some of them turn out to be completely unworkable. The problem is that dogs’ psyches are individual. Some puppies learn quickly, others need several repetitions.
In all circumstances, try to remember and follow the tips on this list:
- Don’t tease the dog with your hands or touch the pet’s face while playing – such actions not only provoke the dog to bite, but also give the dog a reason to consider a light grip a desirable action.
- Play with your dog regularly using non-contact methods – communication with the owner is very important in the process of raising a dog. Your puppy needs to understand that he is loved and appreciated. Regularly play with your puppy by throwing him a ball or other toy. Don’t forget to praise him if he behaves correctly.
- If your dog grabs your arm or leg don’t try to yank it back – once he’s got it in his mouth the vibration or jerk will result in a reflexive clenching of the jaw. Unhinge his jaws with your free hand and release the limb, act calmly and confidently, giving a clear “woof” command beforehand.
Never hit a dog if he is already holding your grip. Physical violence is an expression of aggression, which encourages the dog to act more forcefully by attacking or grabbing.
Whatever the case may be, your first and most important task is to let your puppy know that your skin is much more sensitive than that of your pet’s congeners. When training a dog, especially a service breed, it is important to place emphasis. The pet must clearly distinguish between play and work and understand that biting while having fun is unacceptable.
Note! A service dog must be able to bite, attack, and restrain during training, such as when apprehended.
The technique is called “bite inhibition training.” Simply put, in order for a dog not to bite as an adult, he must be taught to control his grip strength as a puppy. The best and most natural way to teach is to play with other dogs.
If you watch your puppy play with his buddies on a walk you will see that 80% of the time the dogs are engaged in chasing, jumping on each other, wrestling and trying to grab an opponent. During playtime, the dogs get carried away and allow themselves to bite their opponent harder. Naturally, the other dog won’t tolerate violence and will fight back or spaz, whine and run away. As long as the animals are young and playful all these situations are staged and rarely end in fights.
The natural learning process is only one of the reasons why early socialization is so important. He should be out walking with other dogs so that he learns and acquires new skills by imitating the mature and trained dogs. Through constant socialization your puppy learns to control his temperament, the intensity of his actions, and his physical activity. Even if your four-legged pooch gets too wild, he’s not trying to hurt one another.
If you watch the dogs play a few times, the learning curve becomes clear. With pets who like to play with their hands, you should do the same thing. Play with your dog until he bites your hand or leg so that you feel the pressure.
As soon as the bite occurs, start squealing and whimpering, acting hurt, depressed and unwilling to continue playing. If the dog attacks your legs, go limp or drop to your knees. Show all your acting talent to shake your pet and let him know that he has committed unacceptable actions.
What should you do if the puppy doesn’t respond to the whining and squealing, continuing the attack? In this case, you need to remember who the pack leader is. Abruptly change your tone of voice, loudly say eww, back off, and stop the game by moving away from the puppy. Wait for the puppy to come to you, and he will!
When the puppy comes to you don’t react, keep a stern expression on your face, but don’t say anything. Once the puppy has licked you, laid down in front of you, or started apologizing in other ways, change your anger to restraint, pet the puppy discreetly, and send him back to his seat.
The above method is considered the most natural way to teach, but it is not effective with choleric dogs. When a puppy begins to bite during play or out of joy, he is physically unable to switch to other emotions. No matter what emotion you show, the dog will see it as an extension of the game…and will continue to attack you.
Choleric dogs are handled in a different way. The worst punishment for an active dog is to stop the activity. This method is called “time out”. Act similarly, wait for the bite with noticeable pressure, abruptly stop playing and order the dog to go back to his seat. If the puppy can’t hear you, grab him by the collar and take him to the laydown area.
It is extremely important to remain completely calm and undisturbed during this exercise. Once he’s on the dog bed, command him to lie down, sit down and make sure he stays down for at least a minute. In fact, not only will this exercise help wean your puppy from biting, it will also help him develop stamina.
Tip: If puppy gets up and runs away from the spot, return him to the bed and begin the exercise again. This method of training will be very time-consuming at first, but it will allow him to learn that any unwanted behavior will have negative consequences.
The time-out method works for correcting any type of behavior, the idea being that any positive action on your part will stop as soon as the dog has taken a negative action. If the puppy has learned the science at home, but continues to misbehave in the street, the technique is adapted. For example, after a bite outside, you can tie the leash to a tree, make the dog lie down, stand back a bit, and make sure the pet stays in place for 10-60 seconds.
Once you make progress and the pet stops biting, time out should be applied every time the dog’s teeth touch your skin. It is important to take your time and act consistently so that the pet does not feel too much pressure. As mentioned above, the time-out technique helps to develop stamina. If the dog gets into a rush, plays and doesn’t pay attention to you, get up abruptly and leave the room.
It is advisable to watch the puppy through a gap in the doorway to prevent him from destroying your belongings “on emotion”. If the puppy becomes aggressive toward your personal belongings, shout “ew” and send him away with a command. In such a situation, it is very important to see to it that your orders are obeyed. That is, it is not enough to get the action stopped, you need to see it through to the end – send the dog to the dog bed and keep him there.
Tip: To protect things from the dog’s attack you can play on a long leash. This way even when you leave the room you will be in control of the dog’s actions.
What should you do if soft methods don’t work?
What should you do if your dog keeps biting despite the measures taken? Biting is an unacceptable action, even if the dog has mental problems. If non-contact manipulation doesn’t work, you can try to discourage biting with unpleasant tastes and smells. We will point out right away that the common advice about using pepper is very unreasonable. Red and even black pepper can cause irreparable damage to a dog’s sense of smell.
Puppy Bite Development Gear
Four-legged dogs strongly dislike the smell and taste of citrus, tea tree, peppermint and other herbs with a pungent aroma. If the dog regularly attacks his hands and feet, you should try using scented oil. If the dog keeps biting, lemon juice can be rubbed on the skin.
There is also a tougher, mostly disposable method of weaning a dog from biting. It is not recommended if you have not tried all alternative methods. Peppermint mouthwash is used as leverage. As soon as the dog bites you, you should let out a cry (whimpering, squealing) and spray the freshener directly into the dog’s mouth. It is important to make sure that the spray is aimed straight in the mouth and that no traces of the spray enter the eyes. Experience shows that a single application of the spray is enough.
If you have tried all the methods in this article, but your dog keeps biting, you need to seek professional help. As the experience of dog handlers shows, bite problems are most often related not to the nature of the dog, but to an improper approach on the part of the owner. The main goal of dog experts is to teach the owner of the dog to assert the status of the leader and to control the dog.
The dog needs to bite
Once you’ve gotten the dog to stop biting your hands and feet, it’s too early to stop. Back to the first section – four-legged dogs need to bite to express emotion. Once your puppy has stopped biting you during playtime and in all other situations, he needs to be taught some etiquette.
Use rubber toys or a special chewy bone to get his attention. Tease the puppy a little and praise him as soon as he starts chewing the toy. When resorting to this method, make sure that there is a chewable object available to the puppy at all times. In order to keep puppy interested in his toys, they need to be changed from time to time. Old toys should be put away in an inaccessible place, and new toys (or previously hidden) should be given to the dog. It is advisable to make such substitutions every 2-3 days, periodically replenishing the assortment with new toys.
Tip: Try to ensure your dog has chew toys at all times while his teeth are changing.
Many temperamental dogs will intercept the owner’s hand after petting. If your pet responds with a soft bite to petting and touching, he should be distracted with a treat. When stroking your dog with one hand, you should clasp a treat in the fist of your other hand and hold it in front of your pet’s nose.
The most effective method of avoiding biting, even if not intentional, is to accustom your dog to non-contact forms of play. All puppies and even adult dogs love to play. If you throw your pet a ball, he won’t have to grab you with his teeth. Once the teeth are fully changed, you can play tug of the toy with your puppy – it’s a great method of exercising the muscles without hand contact.
Important: During the tug until your puppy is 6-8 months old, your job is simply to hold the toy. Don’t pull, much less tug the toy while your dog is holding it with his teeth.
Dogs with a particularly active temperament should be trained as early as possible. Use all methods to which the dog responds. Combine training with the time-out method until the dog learns to stay in place for 1 minute. Some puppies don’t bite their owners’ hands, but often attack their feet. This type of expression of emotion is quite difficult to deal with. On the one hand, such behavior indicates that the puppy sees you as the leader of the pack, but on the other hand, constant biting – it is very unpleasant.
Judging from the experience of owners, there is really only one method that works. Get some rubber toys that squeak when squeezed. Keep this toy in your pocket or handy when moving around the house at all times. If you notice your puppy starting to hunt, stop immediately, pull out the toy and start squeaking. As soon as the dog’s attention shifts to the source of the sound, throw the toy in the direction of the dog bed.
At its best, the dog will grab the toy and go to the spot to chew on it. Either way, as soon as the pet responds to the toy, praise him. This technique is called distraction, and it helps to divert the dog’s attention and reinforce the positive emotion behind the play, not the attack.
Important! If the dog attacks your feet solely when putting on clothes, you need to strictly suppress this behavior.
The problem is that the dog attacks in a moment of weakness – when you are busy and distracted. This is no longer a game, but an attempt to dominate – to overthrow the leader and take his place.