One of the many problems that dog owners face is the biting issue. Sure, a puppy nibbling on your finger may be cute and just tickle a little, but as a dog gets older, biting can really become a serious problem. Many dog owners realize the danger that a dog bite can present- both to people and the dog. A dog bite raises more than just an issue with harm or danger. There is also the concern that if a dog bites someone else, you and your dog may be in trouble- legally.
Needless to say, biting isn’t only harmful, but dangerous. But why is it that dogs bite? Mostly, it’s often derived because your puppy and other puppies and dogs will play by biting and nipping at each other. When one becomes too rough, the others are quick to correct the other. This helps them learn the appropriate levels of biting. Unfortunately, when a puppy leaves their mother and fellow “playmates” to live with you, they don’t necessarily have that instinctive advantage of learning not to bite.
An opportunity to learn
Because your dog commonly only experiences mainly you and what you teach them, it’s up to you to correct this biting tendency in your puppy. Keep in mind that regardless of some old fashioned techniques like biting their ears or having to resort to other physical discipline, this may not be at all necessary. Rather it has to do with the way you treat them and the example you set early in their life.
The first step for any young dog is proper socialization. The most opportune time to begin socialization is around or before three months of age. During this time period, dogs develop the primary habits that will ultimately carry over into the rest of their lives.
Socialization includes a wide range of interactions. You will want them to encounter and experience other adults, children, and even dogs. During this process, many young puppies will be either very shy, or else aggressive. They may play, they might even retreat, but eventually, they will get used to the idea that there is more than just you and them in the world. This understanding helps to eliminate their fear of an unfamiliar face.
During the interaction, it is imperative your dog doesn’t become accustomed to biting. This applies to biting both humans and other dogs as well. Many young puppies are teething, and will chew on just about anything to relieve the irritation that goes along with this. While young puppy bites aren’t usually harmful because they aren’t fully grown, they can be regarded as “cute” or “it’s okay” by others, even children. But, it’s not okay at all. If your dog is chewing or nibbling on hands, feet, or even clothing, stop them, and instead take a step in a different direction.
This means that you should be providing appropriate toys to curb their biting desires. Chew toys, ropes, tennis balls, and even treats all help teach a dog when and what they should be biting on. Even as they get older, the need to chew and bite is often a reflex to the need to help scrub their teeth, so be sure that you provide them with that opportunity so they won’t be nibbling on your favorite pair of shoes.
Dogs will be dogs
Consider that dogs will always be dogs. They play, tackle, and even nip and bite each other. But fighting shouldn’t be allowed. During socialization, dogs learn a lot from you and their peers, including when biting is appropriate, and when it is too much. That’s why socializing with other dogs at an early stage is crucial to developing non-biting habits. During their interaction, other dogs will quickly alert their playmate that they are being too rough. Not to worry, because often times it is simply a yelp to alert them that they’ve been injured or sensed pain.
You can even practice the alert sounds, because if your dog bites you, even just a nip, yelp like you’ve been injured and play the part. You’d be surprised at how often your friend will instantly stop because they don’t want to hurt you. They may just be trying to play.
The experience with you
You need to be ready to stop your dog from biting. Don’t let young puppies chew on fingers, hands, or even your clothing. Even if you think it’s okay for them to bite you, it can definitely confuse them during their experience with others. By starting your dog off with some socialization skills and by giving them something that’s okay to bite, you can prevent them from biting anybody or anything they shouldn’t put their mouths on. After all, you don’t know where they’ve been.