Are You Encouraging Your Dog To Bite

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Are You Encouraging Your Dog To Bite

by John Edwards

At no time is it okay for your dog to put her teeth on any part of a human body. Nipping and mouthing are not acceptable, not even from little puppies. Remember that puppy teeth may not hurt very much, but they'll soon fall out and be replaced with adult ones that will. So don't ever encourage your dog to nibble or teethe on you, and don't play games that encourage her to nip at you. Teach your small children to keep their hands away from her mouth.

When you do feel doggie teeth on you, don't take it lightly; let your pup know that even if she meant no harm, this is a behavior you won't tolerate. Give her a muzzle squeeze and a harsh "Ah-ah!" For extra effect, you can grasp the fold of skin behind her neck and give her a little shake. Be sure to clasp her snout tightly, hooking your finger below her chin so that she can't pull away. When you feel her relaxing, release her slowly, and be ready to do it again if she nips again. Once her urge to nip or snap has passed, praise her for being such a sweet girl.

We're not going to say too much about more serious aggression because that's a problem that needs to be addressed one-on-one with an in-home professional trainer. An aggression problem doesn't mean that your dog is evil or that you chose her unwisely; it just means she has to understand that she's not the top dog in your home, and that she's not allowed to use her teeth to express her opinions about whom she likes and whom she doesn't.

If your dog bites, you must consult your obedience instructor or another trainer who can work with you privately, or the situation will only get worse. If you haven't had your aggressive dog spayed or neutered yet, do so immediately. In the mean-time, you've got to get tough with her and let her know in no uncertain terms that you're the boss, and you will not put up with biting or any other form of disrespect. Supervise her constantly, require her to sit for you before she gets any treats or toys, feed her a handful at a time, and - in short - don't let her call any of the shots. Aggression isn't uncommon, and it is treatable, but it will demand that you and your family turn your home into something of a military school for your pup while you're getting help from a pro.

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