Puppies' jaws are weak and as a result of new teeth they gnaw, mouth and even play-bite to sooth the gums around the teeth. This combination of weak jaws with extremely sharp, needle-like teeth, can result in numerous play-bites which, although painful, seldom cause serious harm. The developing pup, therefore, receives ample feedback regarding the force of its bites before it develops strong jaws - which could inflict considerable injury. The greater the pup's opportunity to play-bite with people, other dogs and other animals, the better the dog's bite inhibition as an adult..
Proper puppy socialization is important when teaching your dog "bite inhibition". Your puppy is a blank slate and needs to be taught proper behavior around humans and other animals. Once she is taught proper behavior, it will carry into adulthood. For puppies that do not grow up with the benefit of regular and frequent interaction with other dogs and other animals, the responsibility of teaching bite inhibition lies with the owner.
All puppies love to play by being mouthy and biting or chewing anything they can get their sharp little teeth into. These sharp teeth are the reason that it is crucial for puppies to learn bite inhibition (controlling the force of their bite) during the first few months of life. Normally this is learned naturally and effectively through contact with mom and other littermates. If the puppy bites mom during nursing, mom can roll the puppy over to correct it or just get up and walk away. Most young puppies do not aggressively bite. If you have an aggressive puppy, you should give very serious consideration about keeping such a dog. Puppy aggression may lead to dangerous behavior as an adult dog if not properly handled.
Next the owner must realize that the puppy does not know how to act around humans. The puppy has not had much life experience outside of its interactions with its canine family. Proper socialization techniques are crucial at this stage of your puppy's development. You can learn these puppy socialization techniques in "Dog Bite Prevention", which is part of our Puppy Health & Training Package at..
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How to train a puppy to stop biting:
The best way to start teaching your puppy to stop its biting is to do what his littermates would have done were they in the same position. Puppies usually learn bite inhibition from their mothers and littermates. When a puppy bites its littermates, they will yelp and go away. This same method can be applied by you. As soon as your puppy starts to bite, you should give a loud, yelping OUCH! Glare at the pup, get up and move away. This way you can start ignoring behaviors you don't like. Be persistent with this method and advise your family to do the same. If your pup does not change then you can start applying the 'Time Out' method. You just leave the room or take him into his crate.
Another way to use this method is this; when your puppy bites, say "no" and gently hold its mouth shut. This will teach him to keep his mouth shut. Since the puppy is a social creature, saying no, yelping, holding his mouth or walking away will teach him that he will lose his playmate. An important fact about the above two methods is to maintain eye contact with your pup when saying "no" and also watching the tone of your voice. Your tone should be in the form of a command, sharp and to the point. Emitting a growling tone will convey the message in his language.
Your duty as a puppy owner is to plan a response to active puppy teething that will soften the impact on you and your possessions. The best way to do this is to provide your pup with better chewing alternatives instead of your fingers and limbs. You can buy toys like hard rubber balls, sterilized or nylon bones and knotted ropes from pet supply stores. In a low voice you can say "no" then remove her into a neutral area where you can give her any of the above stated toys or others to play with.
Praising your puppy whenever she behaves well is one of the best ways to teach her what's right. She will surely want to continue getting the praise. So when she plays nicely and appropriately, praise the action. Another method is teaching the "off" command. You get a puppy's dry food. Hold a handful and close your hand with it then say "off." Note what happens. After a few seconds, if your puppy has not touched your hand, say "take it" or "OK" and give him a piece of food. The lesson you are teaching him here is that "off'' means not to touch..
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Teach all your family members not to play any rough games like tug-of-war or wrestling which may encourage aggressive behavior like biting. Also teach them to be consistent with the "no biting" rule. With everyone working together, you will achieve a well behaved, well adjusted puppy and ultimately, adult dog.
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