Preventing Your Dog’s Nipping and Biting

Many dogs commonly nip and bite. It’s natural for your both puppies and older dogs, and is most often done playfully. However, those of us who are getting nipped and bit might not see it that way! Plus, sometimes dogs aren’t nipping playfully; they’re nipping aggressively. If your dog’s nipping is becoming a painful problem, there are steps you can take to deter the behavior. Below, a Reynoldsburg veterinarian offers help.

Playful Nipping

For playful nipping, you may be able to use a yelping technique to your advantage. Let your dog play with your hands, nipping as he goes. When he bites too hard, yelp loudly in a high-pitched voice. This mirrors the behavior that another dog might exhibit if it was getting nipped—yelping every time the nipping is too hard will help teach him that it’s not okay to bite that way. Allow some minor nipping, but yelp every time it becomes too hard. Your veterinarian can demonstrate this technique for you.

Time-outs can also work when combined with the yelping technique. Yelp after a hard nip, and ignore your dog for a minute or two, leaving the room if necessary. After the time out, come back and play with your dog again, repeating the yelping and leaving process every time a nip is painful.

Another option is using a taste deterrent, which are available at pet stores and veterinarian’s offices. Put the deterrent on your hands or wherever your dog likes to nip, and let him taste the product. Praise him when he lets go, and eventually he’ll probably give up nipping you. Ask your vet for recommendations on taste deterrents for your pet.

Aggressive Nipping

If your dog’s body is stiff, his ears are erect, and his teeth are exposed during nipping, he might be exhibiting aggressive biting behavior, which is an entirely different scenario from the playful nipping described above. Aggressive bites will probably be quicker and will almost surely be more painful. Your dog may be doing this out of fear or frustration.

The best thing to do if your dog is exhibiting aggressive biting behavior is to contact your Reynoldsburg veterinarian. They can offer more tips and put you in contact with a certified animal behaviorist or dog trainer that can help curb your dog’s bad behavior. Remember, NEVER punish your dog physically for nipping or biting—it will only scare him, and exacerbate the problem in aggressive dogs.

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