If your dog has a biting issue , it’s time to begin working on stopping your dog from biting now.
There may be many reasons why your dog bites. In the case of fearful dogs, biting has worked to keep the bad things (or perceived threats) away. This fear could be passed down from his parents. If it is not genetic, then there are two other common causes of fear which can lead to biting:
- A lack of socialization can cause fear. If your dog is fearful of people, it will be generally most fearful of men, then little boys, then little girls and the least afraid of adult women. There can be other factors that also cause fearfulness like hats, beards or lumbering gaits of men, etc. that can also cause fear.
- Learned fear. If your dog has experienced trauma or pain in the presence of a person, then he can become fearful of that person. An example might be where an owner has installed an invisible fence around their vegetable garden in the back yard to keep their dog out of the garden.
Let’s also say that the installation has just been completed. The owner’s father is in the back yard standing over the buried wire. The dog approaches the owner’s father and gets a collar correction. Now the dog associates the pain of the collar correction with the presence of the owner’s father. Now no matter where the dog sees the father he is fearful. Of course the owner called me after the incident and wanted to know how to fix this problem.
The very first thing I would do before anything else is to recognize and acknowledge the problem. The second thing I would do is to keep your dog away from the people or things that bring out his biting issues.
Then get working on the dog biting problem with a qualified, positive reinforcement trainer. It will be well worth the investment of time. Besides, your alternative of not doing anything to fix the biting problem, is not a good option at all.
You’ve really got to ramp up all of your efforts to get your dog to be comfortable with people around but not petting. You can worry about petting later.
Start with women first, then children followed by men. Your dog may already be okay with women and children. If that is the case, then start with men. It could be a long process and take some commitment on your part to begin this process.
Certainly dog obedience training will be a part of any successful program. Training will set a stronger foundation of leadership, fine-tune his listening skills and most importantly serve as a confidence-building tool.
You should also be aware that there are many levels of success you could achieve depending on your dog. You may completely rehabilitate him to accepting petting/affection from strange men. Or, you may only achieve a relaxed dog in the same room with a strange man – but not get him to accept petting/affection.
It will take time and commitment working through this process. It is always best to have a qualified trainer on board to guide you through the process to make sure it is done slowly, methodically and at your dog’s own pace.
This is something that cannot be rushed.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”