You’ve just welcomed a new furry friend into your home, and while you are overcome with joy, you may also feel a little lost. Don’t worry; learning how to communicate effectively with your puppy has a slight learning curve, and not everyone gets it right away. Some new owners may even feel dismayed that their puppy appears to be displaying aggressive biting behavior.
While biting is certainly a nuisance, it is not always a display of aggression. Puppies bite owners and fellow canines to express certain things. Here are some reasons why they do so and how you can train them to communicate their needs in a less disruptive manner.
Their needs aren’t being met
Some puppies bite their owners to communicate that their basic needs are not being met. This includes food, water, shelter, love, and play. To minimize their biting tendencies, look at their daily schedule, and see how you can make it more physically and mentally enriching for them.
You can review their feeding times, increase their training sessions, and give them more opportunities for physical activity. Once they are comfortable with their daily routine, the likelihood that they will bite you to communicate a shortage of stimulation is also lessened.
This behavior is reinforced
Puppies use biting to signal that they need attention or want to play. It could also express their desire to explore the world or minimize some teething frustration. When you continue to react to your dog’s biting, you’re reinforcing the behavior and giving them the idea that they can continue doing it even after they’ve grown up. Actions that set clear boundaries for us, such as yelling “no,” running away, or pushing them away, can be considered fun for your dog—which may obviously send the wrong message.
To avoid sending the wrong message, find the least dramatic way to communicate that biting is wrong. This includes ignoring your dog when they start biting, crossing your arms and refusing to engage them with your hands, or removing yourself from the situation entirely.
This behavior is inherent to their breed
Some dog breeds are predisposed to certain behaviors. This is why there are shepherd dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs! If your canine enjoys biting, it does not necessarily mean that they are aggressive—it could be that they just enjoy the process of chasing, biting, and tugging.
We don’t recommend ‘training away’ these instincts because it could be difficult for your pet and eventually become a wedge in your relationship. Instead, look for outlets that they can use to safely channel their predatory instincts into. This includes flirt poles, which you can make or buy online, or tug toys.
Flirt poles encourage dogs to chase after a fast-moving lure, and it’s the best toy for dogs that enjoy chasing and biting. To signal the end of the game, try teaching this drop technique to your dog.
Tug toys can be used to teach your dog how to differentiate between biting a human and biting an inanimate object. If they bite your hand and not the toy, it’s game over! Use a sturdy toy that can keep up with your pet’s energy levels and teach them to drop the tug when asked.
Becoming a puppy parent is a big responsibility, and sometimes, you may get frustrated when they display unwanted behavior. When you do, take a moment for yourself and remember that dogs do not communicate the same way we do—and some see biting as a natural part of expressing themselves. You’ll need to prepare yourself for both the ups and downs of watching your canine buddy grow up.
Are you looking for more information on how to house train a dog? Dog Obedience Training is a website that is dedicated to providing helpful information for training your beloved companions. We cover a wide range of topics, from behavioral training to teaching your dog tricks and learning how to bond with your dog. Head over to our website today to learn more about taking care of your beloved pets!