Monday, June 8, 2009

Dogs must be taught to not bite

Q: What can I do to make my dog stop biting the heck out of me?

A: This is a common question of many dog owners.

All dog biting springs from the same source rooted deep in canine behavior. To answer the question properly, I divide the people asking into three categories according to the age of their dogs. Methods of correcting this problem differ if the dog is a young puppy, around a year old adult (teenager), or a two-to-four year old adult. Beyond the age of four years old, most dogs who have viciously bitten someone have been euthanized or otherwise disposed of.

Biting is very basic canine dominance behavior used from the time a puppy is able to move around in its litter. Biting among wild and domestic canines is used as communication to establish standing within the pack. This pack may be an extended family of wild canines, a litter of puppies with its mother, or your pet dog intermingling with your family. Dogs live so well with humans because they regard all the members of your family as fellow pack members.

The puppy biting dog

If the biting dog is a puppy under six months old, the biting is very correctable. Pups this young rarely bite hard enough to break skin, and many people start out thinking their new pup is simply playing. Your young pup may or may not have risen to the status of pack leader within its litter of puppies. Moving into your house, the pup is introduced into a new pack and is unsure of his ranking within the group. No matter the reason for biting, young pups should never be allowed to playfully use their teeth on human skin.

There are hundreds of tapes and books available on how to train your dog.

While tapes and books are a start, there is no substitute for face to face sessions with a qualified obedience instructor. Puppy kindergarten and basic dog obedience are good classes to take. Professional trainers can not only answer the question of why the pup is biting but can show you how to use various exercises to communicate to the new pup that the people rank above it in the pack. Most of these exercises mimic the way your pup was disciplined by his mother and other litter members. Performing these exercises tells your pup that you are the leader in a manner well understood by dogs. A good trainer will also go over small changes you should make in your everyday life. These changes may mean little to you, but to a dog they govern every aspect of life. Establishing a correct relationship between a pup and its human family will lead to years of enjoyment of each other’s companionship.

1 comment: