Does your dog nip you? Grab your pant leg? Decide with his teeth when it is time for a little attention? Is your dog ripping your kid’s clothes–while they are wearing them? Are you wearing long sleeves and long pants to hide the abuse your pup is dishing out at home?
Have you found yourself unable to stop your dogs teeth interactions with flesh?
This post is intended for teething and mouthing and bratty type toothy connections.
Please read on to find some tried and true tips.
Common solutions to nipping can be found here . This post will hopefully give you more ideas than the standard answers, which by the way, you should already be doing.
This post is not intended to address serious aggression.
1 — Please avoid methods like holding your dog’s mouth shut, spraying things in their mouth, pressing your hand in their mouth, gagging them,and biting them back (people do that!). In most cases this makes your pups more intent on using their teeth and damages your bond. Your actions will cause your pup to react. A hands off approach usually works best.
2— Vary YOUR routine. If your pup is coming for you at the same time each day, for instance after breakfast or during the witching hour when you are trying to cook and eat dinner, give your dog something to do, like a stuffed Kong, or a bully stick, and a safe place away from your delectable flesh to do it. Good deals on Bully Sticks and other cool doggy goods can be found here on our new sponsor’s page Doggy Loot.
3— Teach “rev em up and chill em out”. At times when your pup is being calm, and not mouthy, work on getting them mildly aroused and then teach “settle” in either a sit or down. If you train this with treats, your dog will get this concept quickly. When you move, the dog also moves and , when your motion stops, you need to train the dog that their movement slows and stops to.
This is excellent way to work with kids because you need to teach the kids to stop to. For more info check my article on Playing Red Light with your dogs.
4— Recognize that often times the worst nipping takes place when your pup is overtired and over stimulated. Learn to watch for the signs that your pup needs a break before things get out of control. It is Ok to use crates for pups who need to recharge their batteries. It is also OK to use crates and puppy playpens and tethers for pups when WE need the break.
5— Don’t turn your back on your dog. Try (carefully!) walking backwards or sideways when you exit. I never turn my back on puppies and unknown dogs. Many puppies see this as in an invitation, and many fearful and herding dogs will nip your bum on it’s way out the door in a clear act of “and don’t come back now ya here.”
6— Teach bite inhibition! Your pup needs to know that they have hurt you. You can do this in several ways. Start by hand feeding and only releasing food when you dog learns to take food with lips and tongue. This is a must. For most dogs a high pitch “OUCH” like another puppy would make, is all it takes for this.
7— Help your dog learn self control. Training is a series of games that your dogs can win. Start by teaching a basic leave it, and also teaching pup to wait for dinner
8— Make sure your dog is getting plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Many people also find that if their dog has other dogs to mouth around with they use their teeth on people less. Get that dog some friends if possible. If your pup is under 20 weeks, you may be able to find a good puppy play group in your area to join.
9— Realize what a huge, mega, tremendous reward and resource that YOU are to your dog, and use it! Sometimes the simplest way to stop a pup’s biting is to separate from them for a brief 15 seconds or so. (works for barking to!)
10— TRAIN YOUR DOG! Bonding, communication and self control all come with basic training. Consider taking a positive training class, or hiring someone to help you at home. You would be surprised at how much dog training has changed in the last 15 years. It is….FUN!
All 10 suggestions are positive hands off solutions.
This post is going up to 11-just like Spinal Tap.
I leave you with one last training gem. You are your dog’s teacher. Train with gentle kindness and you will teach your dog to be gentle in return. Use force and you may unwittingly teach force.
* Much thanks to my good friend Deb Moulton for this week’s puppeh photo. *