Having a dog with behavior problems can be problematic, and if it is mainly related to biting, you are in serious trouble. In this article, we help you learn more about how to teach your dog not to bite.
First, if your dog’s aggressive behavior is unnoticed or something new, make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out a medical cause. For example, a dog who isn’t feeling well or is in pain can be aggressive.
Typically, a dog’s behavior being labeled “aggressive” is happening because the dog is afraid rather than fierce. However, various tools and techniques can help your dog get out of this behavior. To help your canine become less fearful and more comfortable in the world, try to work with a relationship-based behavior consultant and a vet, and ensure your family and friends are included to make training consistent.
The good news is that there are tons of things you can do to stop your dog from biting, all while reinforcing positive behavior. Once you train your dog not to bite, you can move on to more fun things, like teaching him tricks. So let us understand the tips you can teach your dog not to bite.
Table of Contents
What Equipment is Required to Teach a Dog Not to Bite?
Steps and Tips to Teach a Dog Not to Bite
Understand how puppies usually learn about biting
It is pretty normal for puppies to bite when they are young. Usually, they learn from other pack mates, including adult dogs. Puppies learn by playing with other pack members about when to avoid causing severe damage through biting. If puppies don’t control biting, the other dogs will punish the puppy more severely by biting the puppy to cause injury.
Understand the importance of teaching your dog not to bite
If you allow puppy biting in the early stages, your puppy will not learn to control his bite leading to serious behavioral issues when he reaches adulthood. If you suspect him biting out of fear or anger, talk with an animal behavioral therapist to receive help. Puppies aren’t permitted to bite people or other animals unless they are in physical danger and need to defend themselves.
Suppose the puppy does learn from his pack mates quickly. In that case, they’ll become more forceful and clear about biting behavior until the puppy behaves in a manner acceptable to other pack mates.
Take safety precautions if your puppy bites
Muzzling your puppy with a basket muzzle is recommended if you’re starting a training program with the assistance of a qualified trainer. This way, your puppy will learn quickly to stop nipping or biting with the help of the muzzle, but muzzling is not suggested if you don’t have a clear idea of the training approach and goals. In addition, if the muzzle isn’t introduced and used correctly, your puppy can become more fierce towards people, especially those trying to put the muzzle on the puppy.
It is highly advised to never leave kids unattended and unsupervised with dogs, even with the ones that seem “safe.” Instead, isolate the dog and/or crate him when an adult cannot be present.
React consistently to bites
Every time your dog bites, say “NO!” in a firm voice and ignore him by walking away. Social isolation and time-outs can be an adequate punishment for a pack animal. You can also yelp when your dog bites too hard. It might seem funny, but puppies in a litter will cry out if a sibling accidentally bites too hard. Yelping when your puppy lays teeth on you will give feedback to very young puppies about what is good playing and what isn’t. Teach children not to scream, run or flap their hands because this will engage the dog’s natural prey instincts and add to the problem. Instead, children should remain calm and keep their hands closed and close to their bodies.
Socialize Your Dog
The best thing you can do for a newly arrived puppy is to introduce him to as many new places, people, and situations as possible. This early exposure to the outside environment is referred to as socialization. A well-socialized puppy is less likely to be fearful in new situations, and this lack of fear decreases the likelihood of aggression. Of course, if your dog is no longer a puppy, you can still try adult socialization.
Use a taste deterrent to restrict your dog from biting
Before you start playing with your pup, spray a taste deterrent on your body and garments that your dog enjoys playing rough with. When your puppy bites you, stop moving and wait for him to react to the taste deterrent. Praise your pup when he stops to bite, and you can continue playing. Next, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to get the material off your hands. Taste deterrents include: “Vicks Vapor Rub,” “Bitter Apple,” or white vinegar. You can use these on your hands to make them taste unpleasant. Use those products that are tested as safe for dogs/animals.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Spaying or neutering does not guarantee that your dog will never bite, but some evidence suggests that altered canines tend to be less aggressive. There are several good reasons to spay or neuter your dog, and potentially controlling a dog bite is at the top of that list.
Redirect your puppy’s attention using teething toys
Gently talk and stroke your dog when he has calmed down. Keep your hand far from his mouth. Then, start playing again and keep his excitement in check. Use toys instead of your hands to get your puppy engaged during this time. Start playing fetch so that you can toss toys away from you and use the dog’s prey drive for positive fun. Playing with dog toys can be used as a training reward or break and keep your hands away from their teeth. Some trainers suggest playing tug-of-war with their dogs. The puppy understands that the game is fun but is controlled by you. The fun will stop if the game rules aren’t honored, keeping everyone safe.
Safely play while you supervise training
Do not play roughly with a dog that bites. Rough play will only encourage this behavior and firmly establish it in your dog’s mind. Never use your hands as toys. You should also closely watch kids playing around or with your dog. Children are not prepared to train a puppy, and injuries can happen.
Do not let kids play tug with the puppy unless an adult is present because any puppy will fully understand the rules only if his size does not pose a risk to the kid during the game.
Prevent the pounce
If your pup is pouncing on your legs or feet as you walk, a typical playful puppy behavior, it is recommended to hold a high-value treat next to your legs as you walk to help the pup learn to walk well alongside you. This same tactic is used when training a puppy to walk on a leash.
Use a water spray bottle
Keep a water spray bottle handy if you find your dog biting exceptionally strong or persistent. Accompany your firm “NO!” with a spray of water in the dog’s face to interrupt the behavior. You should appropriately set the nozzle to spray and not a jet. You want to startle the puppy, not harm him. Also, be aware that the puppy will associate the water spray with you, making him wary of you at other times.
Never threaten your puppy with the squirt bottle or create fear. But, on the other hand, you shouldn’t make a situation where the puppy only behaves generously if the squirt bottle is in your hand.
Reward good behavior
Do not miss any chance to praise your puppy’s good behavior with lots of gentle love and cuddles. Offering rewards will be effective in reinforcing good behavior. For example, if your puppy successfully responds to your request to drop a toy, say, “yes!” or “good boy!” Verbal rewards work well when you’re playing. Remember, you are now the puppy’s parent, and it’s your responsibility to encourage him to become a happy, healthy, well-adjusted family member.
- Do not wave your fingers or toes in your dog’s face or slap the sides of his face to entice him to play. Doing these things can boost your dog to bite your hands and feet.
- Do not discourage your dog from playing with you in general. Playing builds a strong bond between you and your dog. Teach your dog to play gently rather than not at all.
- Avoid shaking your hands or feet away from your dog when he mouths.
- Physical punishment can also make your dog scared of you and even cause aggression. Avoid scruff shaking, whacking your dog on the nose, sticking your fingers down his throat, and all other punishments that might scare or hurt him.
How to Teach a Dog Not to Bite Videos
Finally, it is recommended to use the tips above to create a training plan that works for you and follow it with patience and consistency to set your puppy up to become a well-mannered dog. But if you find no improvement in your dog’s behavior, you can seek the help of a reputable trainer.