Your bitey dog is starting to create a niggling fear or safety concern in your mind.
I’ll bet your petting sessions start off nice but wind up with your dog not so nicely, attacking your hands and arms with his teeth. . He knows he’s trying to engage you to play – but you’re not so sure.
Are you uneasy about the intensity of your own dog’s mouthing?
Is this you?
This bitey behavior can be quite alarming. Plus it can escalate if steps are not taken to get your bitey dog under control sooner than later.
Here are 3 training tips to get you and your dog on the same path to no biting, better manners and a better relationship.
Let’s calm some of your fear and concern by understanding first understand why your dog may be very mouthy.
3 reasons You Might Have a Bitey Dog
Reason #1 for Your Bitey Dog: Wrong Kind of Play
Playing incorrectly with your dog.
It’s usually the men or boys in your family who tend to like to roughhouse with your dog.
This teaches your dog to also play rough with other people and family members.
If this is the case then your dog has never had the luxury of learning appropriate play with humans. Is that you or someone in our family?
Reason #2 for Your Bitey Dog: Not Enough Physical Exercise
You might not be constructively channeling his energy.
Then your dog begins to look for attention in all the wrong ways. That can also leads to inappropriate and excessive mouthing and biting. It could be as simple as you not giving your high energy dogs enough exercise.
Thing about this. The average dog sleeps 17 hours a day – yours included. You dog has slept or rested waiting for one thing: your return home to play.
Reason #3 for Your Bitey Dog: Not Enough Mental Stimulation
Most family dogs are bored out of their minds.
I think it is very unlikely that you can over-challenge your dog.
Your bored dogs can quickly become a snarky dog looking for opportunities to fill this void. Is that your dog?
Now That I’ve Listed 3 Reasons for Bitey Dogs, Let’s Look at my Training Tips
Training Tip #1 for a Very Mouthy Dog
If you or another family member are guilty of rough play with your dog – stop it immediately. I’m not saying stop playing with your dog altogether, just stop playing in the way that provokes his wild abandoned play style.
Begin to look at ways to channel it into a constructive energy outlet, like tug-of-war.
Tug-of-war if played correctly and with rules, can be a great way to bond with your dog and help him enjoy his time with you better. All games must have rules:
Your dog must learn to “Take it!” and “Drop it!”
No mouthing of human skin. To do so ends the game.
Take frequent obedience breaks so that the game of “Tug” becomes the reward for doing his obedience commands.
Fetch is another burner of predatory energy. If you have a “fetch-til-you-drop” kind of dog, then require your dog to sit before each fetch and return the ball to hand. Once your dog learns to sit to fetch, then you expand on that.
Teach a sit/stay and don’t release your dog until the ball is thrown and is almost still on the ground. Running off with the ball ends the game. Your dog needs to learn that you make the ball come alive.
Training Tip #2 for Your Bitey Dog
I mentioned before that most dogs sleep 17 hours a day on the average. That’s a lot of stored up energy. You walk in the door, tired from work and the commute home, you’re greeting by your high energy dog.
Change up your routine to something like this:
- Take your dog out to eliminate.
- Play fetch or tug with your dog.
- Take your dog on a good 30-45 minute walk before you feed.
Also remember the basics of dog training: always sit to get the leash on, to go out and come back in the door and sit for his food.
Training Tip #3 for Your Snarky Dog
If your dog has become that snarky dog looking for a challenge, then give him one. Give him a mental challenge. You can’t spend all your time outside with your dog in an “energy burning state,” can you?
Use mind games and brain teasers. These can create a lot of mental fatigue.
There are all kinds of indoor toys like Buster Cubes, Bob-A-Lots and roller balls, not to mention doggie puzzles. All these toys are designed to make you dog use his noodle more.
NO more just sitting or lying around the house anymore Put the second half of his supper into one of these mind-bending and challenging toys.
If he’s hungry enough, he’ll work for the rest of his supper, or maybe even all his supper.
If your bitey dog is woefully under challenged, raise the bar with new challenges that stretch his mental capacities. If you have a back yard, shotgun the back yard with slices of carrots or pieces of diced apple (no seeds.)
And for all the in-between times, supplement all else with 3 2 minute obedience sessions of sits and downs. In no time at all you’ll have your dog eating out of the palm of your hand instead of eating your hand.
Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog
Jim Burwell is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim works with you and your entire family in helping your dog be the best dog ever.