Quick Dog Training Tips – Nipping And Biting

When dogs are puppies they explore a lot of their world through smell and taste.  So they sniff and chew to find out what’s going on, as well as hear and see.

Also when puppies play, they nip and bite each other.  This is part of their socialisation process.  It’s also part of finding out who’s bigger, stronger and more dominant.  It’s part of setting the pack structure and who sits at the top.  Normally in a litter of puppies that’s Mum, of course!

Now puppies do tend to grow out of the play nipping as they get older.  But some don’t.  Having a large adult dog (or even a small one) still nipping at your hands or clothes is a nuisance.  It’s also a nuisance to visitors, who might start to not come round.  And this ‘mouthing’ as it is called, can get out of hand if the dog starts to think it is dominant in the household.

So even if this play nipping isn’t aggressive, your dog needs to know it’s not acceptable.

Play nipping often comes as:

  • the dog jumps up to nip or put their mouth on your hand
  • they nip any other part of you,
  • or they nip and tug at your clothing

And it can also come with flailing feet and nails, which really can hurt.

One way of dealing with this is to scream loudly and turn your back on the dog every time it happens.  And not to move until the dog has calmed down. 

In a litter of puppies, a hurt puppy will squeal to tell the other ‘too much, too much!’ and move away.  You can do the same.  It might take a few goes with an over enthusiastic dog, but it does work.  The dog gets the message that nipping means being ignored, and it would rather you didn’t do that.  Also if your dog thinks it’s hurt you it will probably want to say sorry.

Remember as with all dog training, be patient and consistent.  Do it again and again until your dog gets the message.

There are some great dog training e-books and online videos to learn everything you need about training your dog cheaply at home.  Click this link to find out more.

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