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How To Make A Dog Stop Biting

You may think that your dog's nipping and biting is a sign of love. They're just trying to play, right? Not exactly. This is a bad habit that you need to nip in the bud as soon as possible. If you want to know how to make a dog stop biting, there are a few tips you can follow to teach your pet that this behavior is not acceptable.

Mouthing and biting is “normal” behavior for dogs. They use their mouths to communicate with other dogs and explore the world around them. Because he believes that you are a member of his pack, it's not uncommon for your pooch to use his mouth to play and communicate with you.

While it may appear cute, this behavior is not safe. One small mistake and your dog could end up doing harm to you or another human. Even if it is not painful and you don't mind it, this behavior must be stopped.

Biting is one of the most common reasons why dog owners eventually give up their pets. It's important to learn how to make a dog stop biting as early as possible. The longer this behavior goes on, the harder it will be to break the habit.

How To Make A Dog Stop Biting

dog biting shirtThe first thing that you need to consider is whether or not your dog is biting playfully or aggressively. It's pretty easy to tell the difference, and it's extremely important that you do so.

Playful biting won't break the skin. Your dog will have a relaxed face and ears. His tail will probably be wagging. Aggressive biting will be painful, and your dog will looked tense. There may be signs of aggression before the bite such as showing teeth, growling and aggressive body language.

If your dog is being aggressive, you need to seek the help of a professional trainer or dog behavior specialist as soon as possible. If it's playful biting, you must begin training your dog to stop biting immediately. He needs to realize that he cannot play with humans in the same ways that he plays with his peers.

1. Use No-Contact Forms of Play

Pet owners like to play the game which I to refer to as “The Claw” with their dogs. The way this game works is like this: you place your hand above your dog's head, wiggle your fingers and move your hand around so your pet will chase it. We've all done it.

Games like this teach your puppy that biting is okay. I've also seen pet owners wiggle their feet when their new dog is lying on the ground. While these “games” are fun and adorable, they send the wrong message.

You will reap what you sow if you play games like this with your pooch. He will learn that it's okay to bite you, which will also mean that it's okay to bite other humans. Avoid these games, and do not wrestle or play aggressively with you canine companion. Instead, try games like tug-of-war and fetch.

2. Substitute a Toy or Chew

Another method to try is redirection. Use a toy that entices your dog. I like to use squeaky toys, because they distract the dog and redirect his attention quickly.

When your dog begins to bite you, redirect his attention directly to the toy. When he takes the toy, begin to play a non-contact game (like tug or fetch). This will teach Fido that biting is unacceptable, but there are other fun things that you can do together that don't require teeth-to-skin contact.

MORE: The 10 Best Dog Toys for Boredom and More

dog playing tug3. Biting While Petting

If your dog tries to bite you when you pet him, that's a common problem. When he first starts biting you as you pet him, redirect him by using dog treats. Pet your dog with one hand and keep a few treats in the other. When he allows you to pet him for a short period without biting, reward him with a treat.

If Fido starts to bite as you pet him, show him the treats but don't give him any just yet. After he's seen the treats, start petting him again. If he doesn't bite this time, reward him with a dog treat to reinforce this positive behavior.

4. Command Training/Verbal Cues

As I explain in my video above, some experts recommend making a high pitched yelping sound when your dog's teeth touch your skin. Dogs yelp when another dog bites them too hard. Mimicking this sound is a natural way to show a dog that you don't like what he is doing and that his behavior is unacceptable.

If you don't like the idea of making a high pitched yelping sound, you can use your own verbal cue. I like using a simple “ow” sound. If you've done basic command training with your pooch, it will be extremely beneficial. As soon as your dog's teeth touch your skin, give him a command to “sit” or say “no”, “drop it” or whichever command you use to get your dog to stop unwanted behavior.

As soon as your puppy begins to bite you, make the sound of your choosing and then let your hand go limp. Always use the same sound as the verbal cue command to stop nipping, biting or mouthing. Be sure to stay consistent with it.

Use the verbal cue training practice no more than 3 times within a 15 minute period. If you need to do it more than 3 times in 15 minutes, it's time for a time out. Ignore your dog for at least 15 minutes before showing him any more attention. This will help to reinforce the training and show him that biting is not an acceptable behavior.

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Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.