Does your dog bite?
Does your dog bite? Many do, and whilst you might think its cute and just play it can lead to problems down the road. Dogs are naturally predisposed to bite when they play or get scared, but that doesn’t make it okay. Biting should not be tolerated, and should be quickly trained out of your pup. This article explains why dogs bite, the problems biting can cause, and how to train biting out of them.
Why do dogs bite?
Dogs bite for numerous reasons, it is not a habit that is only found in puppies, but dogs of all ages. Learning why dogs bite is so important for us to be able to stop them from biting. Here are the most common reasons for your dog feeling the need to bite:
Just like people, dogs will defend themself should they feel the need to. One of the most common reasons you will find a dog is biting is they feel they have to defend themself, usually from someone they don’t know. Just like human parents fiercely protect their children, dogs will bite to defend their puppies. If your dog has puppies and you are trying to pick them up, your dog may bite you. Even if your dog knows and loves you, the hormones they are experiencing can make them very overprotective. They will calm down soon enough.
Dogs can be very jumpy, they have very powerful senses so when they do get surprised it can be especially stressful for them. If your dog should panic bite you when startled, it is probably nothing to worry about. It is only if they keep biting you even after the initial jump that you should be concerned about it.
Illness or injury:
When animals are injured or sick, they are on high alert and their fight or flight mode is active. This is no different in dogs. A dog who is injured or ill is far more likely to bite than one who isn’t. In fact, should you find your dog is biting all of a sudden after never having any problems with it, this might be an indication of illness. If you find that your dog has suddenly started biting, it may be time to pay a visit to your vet. If you explain the situation, they will know what to look for.
Not just puppies enjoy playing, dogs of all ages do. The problem is what dogs consider play, people often don’t. Dogs don’t have hands so they explore their world with their mouth, by biting and chewing. This is not always a problem, but it can be. It is best to train your dog not to bite people or furniture when he is playing. This is why finding toys for your dog that can be chewed on is so important. Otherwise, they will let out their urge to bite on people and your couch.
Just like young children, puppies have trouble teething. When their teeth are growing out they feel the need to chew and bite. This helps their teeth grow out and is part of a puppy’s first developmental steps. It is nothing to be worried about, they will grow out of it soon enough.
What problems can arise from a biting dog?
Just because biting is natural, and to be expected, from dogs doesn’t make it okay. Having an untrained dog that feels the need to bite frequently can be dangerous for you, those around you, and your wallet. Here are the most common issues that can arise from a poorly trained dog’s bite.
Dogs love playing with children, usually, the problem comes when the child overexcites the dog or plays too roughly. If a dog gets too excited or hurt by the child there is a good chance of biting to occur. This can be very upsetting for the child who could, in turn, hurt the dog even more. It is so important to supervise children and dogs together, even dogs that you trust.
Biting other people:
If a dog bites other people then there could be severe repercussions. Dogs that bite people and cause severe damage, broken bones, badly cut up skin or worse are at risk of being put down. This is the absolute worst scenario, but it is something that needs to be considered.
Destroying your house:
Dogs that bite don’t just bite people, they bite objects. If you don’t train your dog not to bite, your home will suffer. Dogs chew on anything and everything they can get their jaws around. If you cant trust your dog to be left alone without chewing up your couch, it is going to end up being a very costly habit.
How to train a dog not to bite:
There are a few key training points that need to be mentioned to help you have a bite-free dog. Most of them are things that should be taken care of as early on in your dog’s development as possible:
Proper socialization is vital for a happy and healthy dog. It is best to introduce your new puppy to as many people, dogs, and other animals as possible. If you can have your dog handled by 100 people by the time it is 6 months old, it will probably never have any problems from meeting new people.
Avoid punishing your dog for bad behavior, reward him for good ones. For example, don’t punish your dog for biting your hand, reward him when he lets go. This is the most effective, and least cruel, method of teaching what is and isn’t okay behavior. Most dogs respond well to food or play as their reward.
Leashed is always safest:
If in doubt, keep your dog on the leash. They are far less likely to bite or feel scared when they are kept so close to you. It also means if they do start to go to bite you can quickly yank them away. Once you pull them away, reward them for calming down. Over time they will start to improve their behavior.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what causes dogs to bite and how you can stop them. All dogs are good if you give them the chance, they just need your love and attention. If you still struggle with biting after all of the above, perhaps you should enroll your dog in canine school.