In order to treat the behaviour, first you need to discover the reason behind it. Biting behaviour can be influenced by many aspects. Therefore, the only right solution to the problem is to investigate it thoroughly. How to teach your dog to stop biting?
The biting issue is much more common in young dogs than in older ones. It is associated with teething. The first teeth appear when puppies are around 3-4 weeks old. By 8 weeks of age, your puppy should already have 28 milk teeth. Then, between 3-8 months of age, milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. During this period, your pup’s gums might itch and burn. Dogs frequently try to relieve the pain by biting and grinding anything they find.
Too early separation
A puppy should stay with their mother and siblings until 8 weeks of age. This is one of the most important periods of their development. During this time, they gain basic social and communication skills. Puppies play with each other and at the same time, they test their limits. The mother sets the boundaries. She makes sure that pushing and biting each other is not out of control. This way they learn to adjust their biting power according to the situation. If a puppy is taken away from their mother too early, they may not have time to develop these skills.
Emotions and how to control them
Biting and chewing are dogs’ natural needs. During these activities, hormones of happiness are produced in a pet’s body. It is an irreplaceable form of relaxation, a way to calm down and get rid of negative energy. In the case of more energetic dogs, this need is much higher. Their emotions are so powerful that sometimes they simply take over. It can be observed more often in young dogs, who are just learning to control them.
However, it doesn’t mean that older dogs don’t have a problem with it. In this case, biting behavior is common for dogs that have never been taught another, less invasive way to reduce tension.
Sometimes, dogs bite to seek attention. Dogs know perfectly well that such behaviour brings human’s attention, so they don’t hesitate to use it. It happens when the pet parent does not spend as much time with their pup as necessary. As a result, the dog’s confidence decreases. It can lead to behavioural problems, including aggressive biting.
Biting may occur due to behavioural disorders. And behavioural disorders might be a result of a dog’s difficult life experiences. This problem is most common in dogs adopted from a shelter. Traumatic experiences leave their mark in a form of fear and anxiety.
On the other hand, it is important to note that biting is a natural behaviour for dogs. Dogs can bite each other as a way of a friendly interaction. For this communication to work, the pet should be able to adapt their biting power to the situation. The problem is that anxious dogs have difficulties with assessing the real risk. Fear overwhelms rational thinking so they attack in self-defence.
Dog trainer’s tips
- Before you adopt a puppy from a kennel, wait until they reach the appropriate age. Let them learn to control emotions with their mother.
- Biting is a natural dog’s need. Try to provide your dog with at least 30 minutes of chewing exercises per day. If you have a young dog, increase the time.
- Provide your dog with different types of chewing toys. Find one that is particularly attractive to your puppy. This way, when your dog feels an urgent need to chew, they will reach for it, instead of your things. Additionally, teach your pup the command “Leave” – you will find it in Dogo App.
- If your dog has behavioural issues, be patient and understanding. Give them time to get used to a new situation. Don’t touch or pet them if they react aggressively – the dog doesn’t have to tolerate anyone’s touch if they don’t want to. Try to avoid situations that cause anxiety and aggression.
- If your dog tries to get your attention by biting, teach them ”Bite inhibition” trick from Dogo. Don’t yell and don’t punish your dog, because it is also a way of paying attention. It might weaken your bond and you want to avoid it. Try to understand your dog’s behaviour instead.
- Spend more time with your dog everyday. Let them use their biting tendency to play together, e.g. introduce a “Tug” command. If your dog is out of control or overly excited, show them how to change that. Teach them static commands such as: “Sit” or “Down”.
You don’t know where to start? Sign up for the Basic Obedience Program and teach your dog to control their emotions. If you need inspiration on how to spend time with your dog, try the Adorable Tricks Program. It will strengthen your bond and help you become better friends.