Dog Bite Training and Preventative Care
Having a dog for a pet is a wonderful experience. You will have a loyal friend and companion who is always at your side. However, life will not be what you imagined if your dog becomes a biter. While every dog has the potential to bite, be aware that biting is preventable if you take the proper steps to train him. Remember that you cannot always teach him specifically not to bite, but you can teach him how to act in situations so that he becomes less prone to biting. Here are a few dos and don'ts on training and preventing your dog from biting others. Use these suggestions to help modify your dog's behavior and biting triggers, and you can get back to enjoying your pet and the rewards that come from having him around.
DO: Start training and socializing your puppy as soon as possible
No matter whether you are getting a puppy or an adult dog, socializing and training should begin immediately. A withdrawn dog that is not used to new things is more likely to bite out of fear or aggression. Socializing your dog to new people, noises, and places will help him get used to new situations. He will be less likely to bite out of his fear of the unfamiliar. Beginning training will set the path for your new friend by preventing bad behaviors from becoming normal. The longer a behavior like biting goes on uncorrected, the more there is a chance of it becoming ingrained.
DO: Be persistent with training and rewarding positive behaviors
Even after you have trained your dog to have proper manners and behave, a small slip can set the entire training back to the beginning. For instance, if you trained your dog to sit when someone comes in the front door and you let him jump up and nip someone one time, this will tell the dog it is okay. This will start occurring more often until it is happening every time. Be persistent, not permissive, and stick to the rules at all times. When your dog learns that you are the pack leader and he needs to be responsible to you, he will feel comfortable and be less likely to bite. Dogs need hierarchical structure, and your leadership will satisfy this need in a way that allows you to train him.
DO: Supervise your dog around others
Anytime other people or pets are around your dog, you should keep an eye on them. By supervising him around others, you are more likely to see bad behaviors or other triggers of problems before they cause unwanted behavior. This is also a chance to reinforce good behaviors and correct bad ones. Make sure not to leave your dog unattended with a small child, especially if he has not had much exposure to children.
DON'T: Assume your dog will never bite anybody
Every dog has the potential to bite someone, even sweet-tempered puppies that look like they could cuddle all day. The positive news is that most of them never will. A happy, secure dog is less likely to bite anyone. That does not mean that nothing will ever happen that can make him decide to bite. Situations can occur that make the dog scared or upset and he may bite to protect himself. This means you will need to be extra vigilant about your dog when he is put into situations that involve things he has not been socialized to deal with.
DON'T: Hit or become physically aggressive with your dog after a biting incident
Inflicting any type of pain will harm more than your dog's body. It will damage his confidence. A dog with no confidence is more likely to lash out and bite than a dog that feels secure and safe. If your dog misbehaves, do not punish him physically and do not reward him either. If you like, you can give him a timeout by placing him in another room. The best way to teach a dog that a behavior is wrong is by taking your attention away from him.
DON'T: Ignore dog body language
Your dog communicates the only way he knows how: using body language. Therefore, you need to learn the signs that your dog is aggravated or uncomfortable and wants to be left alone. A tensed body, intense stare, backing away, stiff tail, and pulled-back head or ears are all signs that your dog is not happy. This does not necessarily mean he is going to bite, but it is a wise idea to be cautious. When more than one of these signs are visible, put space between your dog and everything and everybody. Let him calm down alone.
There are several reasons a dog may bite someone. While fear is the number one cause, it is not the only one. If your dog is uncomfortable with something in his surroundings, he may bite to make it go away. By following the above guidelines, you will be better informed about what might cause your dog to bite and how you can prevent it from happening. Remember that your dog will behave only as well as his training taught him to.