If you have a dog that sometimes bites other dogs or even people occasionally, stopping your dog from biting may not be as easy as you think.
Biting problems begin when a young puppy gently bites its litter mates, people, and objects in an effort to explore the world surrounding it. If an owner doesn’t teach a young puppy that biting is unacceptable behavior, the puppy will continue the behavior when it becomes an adult. Some adult dogs will bite out of aggression and can cause serious injury to another dog or a human. Thankfully, there are ways to modify the behaviors that lead to biting.
When a young puppy bites its mother during nursing or bites another puppy with too much pressure during playtime, the result is a high pitched yelp. If you are playing with your puppy and it bites you, make a high pitched sound as if you were in pain. The puppy should back off and appear to be concerned. If the puppy continues to bite after you have “yelped” loudly, immediately stop playing with it and walk away. This will cause your puppy to associate biting with the removal of your attention and it should begin learning to bite less. With proper training, puppies will grow out of their biting habit between six months and one year.
Petco and PetSmart sell products such as Bitter Apple Spray that you can rub on your hands just before playing with your puppy. The sprays are harmless but taste awful to your puppy, and will deter it from biting you. If your puppy is teething it will often bite because teething is painful. If this is the case, give your puppy safe, durable toys specifically made for puppies to chew on.
Sometimes it’s necessary to stop older dogs from biting. A dog who is adopted when it’s older, or a puppy who has been allowed to bite while young, probably have not had proper training and are biting out of fear or aggression. It is absolutely necessary that your dog understands you are the “alpha” in the pack and you are in charge.
Biting is never acceptable in a pet and stopping dog biting should be way up on your list of things to teach a new (or old) dog. If you find that you are unable to break this habit in your pet, find a private dog trainer or suitable obedience school to help your dog quit its biting habit before another dog or a person are seriously injured.