How to Stop Dog Biting
Dog biting is a behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated, no matter the age of the dog. Puppies learn from littermates and adult dogs that nipping and biting are unacceptable if left with the group long enough. If the puppy hasn’t learned this concept by the time his new family takes him home, it is up to the new owners to teach him.
Teaching Puppies Not to Bite
Whether a puppy is biting during play or chewing because he’s teething, it is important to teach him that biting people or other animals is unacceptable. Providing a consistent message is important. This can be accomplished through a combination of techniques.
- Time out – If a puppy nips during play, immediately stop play and put the puppy into his crate for 2 to 3 minutes. Once released from his crate, you can pet him, but don’t immediately resume play. This is mimicking the way his littermates would teach him not to bite.
- “No bite” – If the puppy bites, either from play or due to teething, immediately stop activity and with a single finger, bop him lightly on his muzzle with the stern command “No bite!”
- Provide acceptable chew toys – With teething puppies it is important to provide them appropriate toys they can chew on to relieve the discomfort they are feeling. If they try to chew on you, use the “No bite” command and give them a toy to chew on.
- Socialization – It is important to socialize a puppy, not only to other people, but to other animals as well. This builds the puppy’s confidence and prevents him from being fearful and potentially biting, in the future.
Teaching Adult Dogs Not to Bite
An adult dog who nips never learned the boundaries of play during his puppyhood. The methods outlined above can be used to educate him and teach him the appropriate boundaries.
Teaching adult dogs who aggressively bite begins with respect and trust. For the dog who bites family members, he must be taught who the alpha family member is and what his own role is within the family. Ways to teach him the family chain of command are:
- Enforce long down-stays of 20 to 40 minutes. If he gets up, reposition him and make him down-stay.
- Don’t pet him when he comes up demanding to be petted
- Don’t allow him to go through a door before you do
- Don’t feed him until after the family has eaten and the meal has been cleaned up and put away
- Put toys away and inaccessible to him once play has ended
- Do not play tug-of-war with him as it reinforces the power struggle
A dog who bites strangers typically bites out of fear. The important thing to do here is carefully socialize your dog. Invite friends over to your house, explaining the situation and providing them with dog treats to offer to your dog. With your dog on leash, even inside the house, introduce your dog to the new person and have them feed him the treats as they enter the door. Keep activities calm, allowing your dog to gradually gain confidence with strangers.
With a bit of effort and consistency you can teach your puppy or dog proper social behavior when it comes to nipping or biting. Once he’s gained confidence and learned the benefits of appropriate behavior, you both can enjoy time out in public and socializing with others.