Play Biting in Dogs: How to Control It
Although nipping and play biting in dogs are not aggressive acts, they can become very annoying to dog owners. Actually, these are forms of communication, interaction, exploration, and play. From when they are born, puppies use their mouths to explore their surroundings. When they start interacting with their siblings, nipping and biting become a big part playing.
Reasons for Play Biting in Dogs
Dog owners who allow rough play can expect tendencies towards play biting in dogs. Emotional stress is one reason for this type of behavior. Removing him from the litter too early is another. While puppies play with their siblings, they soon learn that when they nip another puppy too hard, he yelps in pain and stops playing with him. He learns just how hard he can bite without being isolated by the others. When he gets bitten himself, he feels how much it hurts. This is why it is best not to remove puppies too soon from the litter. They need that early training.
When you get your puppy home, you may need to remind him of his behavior, if he starts to bite or nip. It is best to stop it as soon as possible. The longer this is allowed to go on, the harder it will be to curb it. Puppies are cute, but an adult dog is a different story – he can be dangerous!
How to Stop Play Biting in Dogs
Here are some tips on what actions you should take if your dog starts to bite:
- Cry out loudly in pain and turn your whole body away from him
- Walk away, keeping your face and eyes averted
- Do not touch or speak to him
The point here is to socially isolate him for about 20 to 30 seconds. This will be long enough to allow the lesson to sink in, but not long enough so that he forgets what initiated your response. Supplying him with various chew toys will help keep his mind off you. If he should still go after you, correct him with a sharp “No!”, praise him if he stops biting and avert his attention to a chew toy. As he bites on to it, give him praise and pat him. If you use force with this issue, it will only encourage more nipping and biting. Ignoring him is the most effective method to use. If this doesn’t work, he is probably too wound up, so put him in his crate or in a small room where he can cool down. When you start playing again, try not to let him get too excited so he won’t be encouraged to nip you. Tone down the level of play or he might get wound up and become more aggressive. Try another game that would be more appropriate for your breed of dog, like Frisbee or fetch. Being harsh with him will only make matters worse. Your dog only wants to please you and is not intentionally meaning to harm you in any way. By taking these steps, you will change your dog’s behavior for the better in a humane and gentle way.
More Information on Play Biting in Dogs
For more information about your dog’s behavioral problems, check out Secrets to Dog Training. It contains invaluable information and advice for the caring dog owner. You will find almost everything you need to know regarding how to raise a healthy, happy, obedient dog.