It is natural for puppies and dogs to bite, but nobody would want their pet puppy or dog to bite them or anyone else. Dogs have a habit to manipulate or touch things or objects with their mouth rather than using their paws. But as dog owner you will need to ensure that this kind of behavior can be accepted only till the time your pet is able to learn new ways to navigate and get accustomed to our human world. It is important for owners and caretakers to ensure that their dogs are trained well to avoid any kind of dog bite cases.
It is important that pet owners take responsibility for their pet dogs. This includes training them early and ensuring that the dog or puppy is socialized well so that they can get along well with other dogs and the people. It is the responsibility of a dog owner or caretaker to ensure that the dog is aware about its place and position in the social circle, so that it does not try to overpower or get aggressive to prove its dominance. The owners need to work with their pet dogs to avoid any instances of dog bite or attacks.
A recent study suggests that each year U.S. witnesses over 4.5 million dog bite cases. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that the biggest victims of dog bites are children, elderly people and postal carriers. It has been seen that in most of the dog bite cases, humans (owners, caretakers or the victims) are responsible for the dog bite attack. Either the owner failed to train their dogs or the victims did not know how to approach the dog or behave around a dog. That is why it is very important to know how to train a dog not to bite.
The question which most dog owners have in their mind is that can a dog which bites be trained not to bite? We need to understand that when a dog bites, it is because it is afraid and it does so to protect itself from danger. Training dogs to prevent dog bites involves teaching appropriate socialization skills and building the confidence of the dog.
Below mentioned are few steps which can help if you have recently got a new puppy or dog as you train a dog to not bite:
Socialize the Dog
If you have just got a new dog or puppy to your household, the first thing you need to do is to familiarize it with all the places and people which it will encounter in the coming days and years,. Introduce the dog to as many new places or people or situations so that it can adapt to them. This kind of early familiarization means socializing the dog. A dog or puppy which is accustomed to people or places or situations will not be afraid and be more confident, whereby reducing the chances of aggression. Reduced aggression and acceptability on the part of the dog will ensure that there are less instances or chances of dog bites or dog attacks.
Spaying or Neutering the Dog
Though spaying or neutering the dog does not guarantee that there won’t be any case of dog bites, but evidence shows that spayed or neutered dogs are comparatively less aggressive and less prone to attacking. There it is a potentially good option for preventing a dog bite.
Stop making assumptions
As a dog owner you need to stop assuming that your dog will never bite, some circumstances or situations can aggravate a dog and it may attack or bite. All dogs have the potential to bite and many times owners or caretakers are bitten because they assumed that their dog cannot bite. It is not correct to assume that dogs of certain breeds or size, which have never shown aggression, will not bite. It is best never to assume that you cannot become a victim of dog bite.
Try working on Obedience Training
We all know that an obedient dog is easier to manage and control. Obedience training involves teaching basic commands to your dog to keep it focused and calm in situations it is not comfortable in. If you have trained your dogs and taught it some basic commands, you will be able to control the dog’s behavior and can stop it from attacking or biting. Other than that training offers a structure to the dog and helps in boosting its confidence levels. Obedience training can be very helpful in avoiding dog bite cases.
Positive Reinforcement dog training
Positive reinforcement dog training involves rewarding the good behavior rather than punishing the dog for unacceptable behavior. Positive reinforcement dog training involves giving out fun treats or extra time to play or verbally encouraging the dog.
Punishing a dog means hitting the dog or leashing the dog or making a dog do something which it does not like. So should I put my dog down for biting or for misbehaving? A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior showed that dogs who are punished while training are 25 percent more likely to become more aggressive and respond aggressively as compared to the other dogs. Positive reinforcement dog training is a positive dog training method which can help you from facing unforeseen dog bite cases.
Understand the dog’s body language
Many people ask, why does my dog bite when it is excited? Body language is the only way a dog can communicate with us. They cannot speak and tell us if they are hurt or afraid or angry about something. It is important for an owner to study and understand their dog’s body language. An unhappy or scared dog can end up attacking or biting. If you notice your dog barring its teeth or lowering its or it has its ears lying flat against the head, these are some behavioral signs which can indicate that the dog is uncomfortable and that it may attack. If you notice your dog displaying any of the above, try giving it space and tell others to leave it alone too. Remove it from the situation as soon as you can to avoid any case of dog bite.
Do not try stopping the Dog from growling
When your dog growls it means it is uncomfortable or scared in a situation or of some person. The growling is a warning to you that your dog may bite. Owners tend to train their dogs not to growl, however if the dog stops growling one may not be able to foresee or understand if the dog is uncomfortable and can end up biting. By preventing the dog from growling, we are restricting it from communicating its discomfort.
Most dogs are full of energy and they need to burn it, or else they will get aggressive. If the energy is not expended, the dogs get anxious and frustrated. They need to burn up their energy by exercising or doing some physical activity. This helps in keeping them calm. Regular exercising and taking the dogs out for walks and making them undertake physical activities is the best way to keep them occupied and avoiding any dog bite attacks.
Playing regularly with your dog will help in teaching it how to interact with humans. Avoid those kinds of games which can encourage dominant behavior in the dog. Games like tug of war or wrestling which can make the dog aggressive should be avoided. Play catch or teach how to catch Frisbee. As the dogs interaction with humans will improve, they will less uncomfortable around new people and hence reduce the number of dog bite cases.
As a precautionary measure it is advisable to inform strangers, especially the people who are visiting your property or home, about your dog and its preferences before introducing it to them. Restrict the stranger from putting out their hand to let the dog sniff or to go very close to the dog during their first introduction. As the dog is not comfortable with the person in the first meeting, it may end up biting the stranger. Dogs have a very protective nature, they do not trust easily. So it is important when you train your dog to not bite, to reward it for its learning. Observing how your dog behaves around strangers will help you determine how to train it and stop dog bite attacks.