When your puppy begins nipping and biting, you shouldn’t be worried. It’s normal for puppies to play bite. It’s part of their growth since they’re still exploring their world and teething. In some cases, mouthing, biting and nipping can continue into adolescence. And if this is the case, we encourage you to consider consulting a qualified dog trainer on how to curb this behavior. However, you also need to understand the reasons why your adolescent dog hasn’t stopped mouthing, biting, and nipping.
What’s The Reason Your Adolescent Dog Has Continued Biting And Nipping?
We believe the only way to handle your dog’s biting and nipping problem is to be aware of the reasons why your adolescent dog hasn’t stopped this behavior. Identify the root cause, and you can solve the problem. Three factors contribute to biting, mouthing, and nipping during adolescence. They include.
1. Your Dog’s Needs Aren’t Being Met
A dog’s needs aren’t only physical. You’ll need to take care of their emotional needs too. You can do this by providing all their basic needs like food, shelter, playtime, and love. However, depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and breed, these basic needs may not be enough. Therefore, you will have to improve the quality of their life either by improving training, increasing playtime, or increasing food rations.
2. You’re Reinforcing This Behavior
Remember that since your dog was a puppy, it knew that biting, nipping, and mouthing were part of playing. We’re sure you went along with this behavior and played along with it. And now that your dog is an adolescent, it probably still views these behaviors as a game.
Now, if your immediate reaction to biting and nipping is playing with your dog, then you’re actively contributing to this behavior. It’s time for you to stop. You can do this by ignoring your dog, leaving the room, or lifting your leg in a defensive stance. This behavior will help your dog learn that you’re not in the mood.
However, it would help if you remembered not to hit your dog because they’re seeking your attention. It’s not only wrong; your dog can get aggressive and bite hard, causing you injury.
3. Your Dog’s Behavior Is Natural Or Instinctive
Selective dog breeding is usually done to create dogs with certain preferred characteristics that will help them fulfill a certain need more effectively. We commonly see this in military dogs, police dogs, ratting dogs, and herding dogs. Therefore, you may find that your dog loves biting, chasing, stalking, and grabbing.
In most cases, the problem isn’t about your training or reactions. The fact is your dog enjoys biting and nipping regardless of your reaction. However, no matter what you do, they won’t stop. So, rather than train them ‘out of their instincts,’ which is impossible, provide them with an outlet. Buy them toys they can bite and chew on. Or play tug with your dog. For tug, you’ll need to train your dog to learn how to drop tug toys.
How To Curb Your Dog’s Biting and Nipping
When your dog was a puppy, it was fun watching them play and explore the world through biting and licking their way into everything they came into contact with. However, now that your puppy is an adolescent, it’s time to curb this behavior. Because when it becomes a fully grown adult, you may not find this behavior adorable anymore.
Therefore, your goal should be to teach your dog not to bite or nip at you, other dogs, and other people. There are many techniques you can try. And some work better than others. That’s why we feel your first goal should be to teach your dog that a person’s skin is sensitive, and it should be gentle when biting or nipping at you.
1. Teaching Your Dog To Be Gentle (Bite Inhibition)
When you’re teaching bite inhibition, you’re teaching your dog how to control the force of their bites. We’re recommending this first because, as you will find out, some of the other techniques we’ll recommend might act as an encouragement rather than a deterrent to dog biting.
Normally dogs learn bite inhibition from their fellow dogs. When puppies are playing in the park, a lot of playful biting is involved. However, there are times a puppy will bite down hard, and the other puppy will yelp out loudly. The biting puppy usually reacts immediately, and they stop playing because they’re startled. However, a few seconds later, play resumes.
If dogs can help teach bite inhibition, so can you. When you’re playing with your dog, let it mouth your hand. The moment he bites hard on you, yelp loudly as if you’re hurt. If yelping doesn’t seem to work, say “Too Bad” or “No” in a stern voice. And then resume play. Remember to praise your dog if he doesn’t bite too hard or licks you.
In case yelping doesn’t work, use timeouts. When your dog bites down hard, yelp, and then ignore them for about 15 to 30 seconds, and then resume play. You can also issue stricter timeouts by leaving the room.
Now that your dog has learned bite inhibition, it’s time to stop biting, mouthing, and nipping altogether.
2. Advance The Time Outs
Now, instead of using timeouts when your dog bites down hard on you. Use the timeouts outlined above whenever you feel your dog’s teeth on your skin. When your dog starts biting and nipping your feet, move your feet away from your dog instantly. Then find a tug toy and start playing with your dog to distract it away from your feet.
Rather than encouraging contact-based play such as wrestling, opt for non-contact play like fetch and tug-of-war. Tug-of-war is especially effective because it’ll help your dog work on its frustrations. And at the same time, it’ll learn to look for toys when it feels like mouthing.
Take your dog to the pack regularly, where it can play with other dogs. More play with other dogs means your dog will have less energy to play with you. Another technique we recommend but as a last result is taste deterrent. Apply the taste deterrent on the areas of your clothes and body your dog likes to bite. Do this for about two weeks, and the bitter taste of the deterrent will discourage your dog from biting you.
If you have any questions about curbing your dog’s biting and nipping problem, or you’d like the help of a professional dog trainer, then visit our website via this link https://phoenixk9trainers.com/. You also can try our 2 Week Dog Training and Boarding service.
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