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Dealing With Your Dog Who Bites
As odd as it may seem, biting is actually a form of communication for dogs. However, when it comes to communicating with humans, biting should never be allowed and this is especially true for gundogs because their job out in the field requires control and a soft mouth which can’t be accomplished if allowed to pull, tug or bite on you or your clothes.
It is often thought by many dog owners that you should wait for your puppy to outgrow biting but, it is not necessary nor advised to wait. A puppy learns at a much faster pace than a child and can be taught not to bite very early on. Many times as with training a child, you get what you expect out of your puppy. So if you expect your puppy to bite and tug your sleeve, he probably will.
Consistent Early Training
There are literally dozens of ways to train your puppy not to bite, from holding his jaw and squeezing to using a newspaper to swat his bottom. It doesn’t really matter what method you choose as long as you choose it early and use it. He might be cute but, those razor sharp teeth can really hurt not only you but, the game you want him to bring back to you when he starts retrieving. If your puppy is what you would consider “excessively” biting then you may want to teach him a lesson by isolating him or confining him to his crate or kennel. Typically, a puppy will not want to be alone and will quickly realize that every time he bites or plays rough he gets excluded. This method only works if you are completely consistent and will be more effective if done by everyone he comes in contact with daily. Make it a rule, if he bites, he gets put up immediately.
When it comes to dealing with biting that comes from fear or pain in a full grown dog, the method for correction is completely different and should be followed up quickly in order to prevent disaster. When it comes to being frightened some dogs will automatically bite even breeds that are not considered aggressive. If your dog is in pain or has a wound and the pain intensifies when you touch your dog then his natural instinct might very well be to bite. This is the main reason it is not safe to approach a wounded strange dog. A dog can’t differentiate between you trying to help and the pain she feels when you touch her. It is recommended by veterinarians that you muzzle your dog before trying to treat a minor wound or apply any care to an area that may be sore. Always, keep small children away from a wounded dog, the dog will not know that the child means him no harm and will bite the child in order to prevent the child from further hurting him.
Aside from pain, most dogs have a trigger that brings out fear. For some it might be loud noises while for others it might be the site of a toddler. Learn to recognize these triggers and be aware of your dog’s surroundings and monitor every situation closely to alleviate your dog’s fear. When a dog bites out of fear it is extremely important that you figure out the fear and either remove it or establish an alternate means of security for your dog. For example, if your dog is scared of thunder and lightning and becomes aggressive toward you or your family during a storm then you should give your dog a place to go that makes him feel safe, such as a kennel or other area that he can escape to. It is important for you to talk with your veterinarian about your dog’s biting because there could be a deeper problem.
Aggressive Behavior and Biting
If a full grown dog bites and is not afraid or isn’t hurt, then you must treat the situation with the utmost concern. Never make the assumption that it was an isolated incident and will never happen again. You most likely will regret it later. If you do not punish your dog’s aggressive biting then your dog will assume he has done nothing wrong and WILL bite again. In this circumstance it is absolutely imperative that you teach your dog who is boss. An electronic training collar can help you wane the chances of it happening again. At the first sign of aggression you would simply apply stimulation and allow your dog to see that when he acts with hostility he gets punished. This is the best proven method to cut out aggressive behavior quickly and without issue. Never allow your dog to believe he is the alpha dog. He must always understand even when it comes to food or any other situation, that you have the upper hand or you will unknowingly create a dog that reacts with aggression even in situations that shouldn’t warrant any force.
Even though most gundogs are by nature not dominate they can become that way if not properly trained. Especially, when they feel they have to compete for your attention whether it be from other dogs or possibly family members.
Continue To Be Consistent
The most important part of preventing future biting is to figure out why the dog is biting and fix it immediately whether it is puppy biting, fear biting or aggressive biting. Remember, as with all training, consistency is the most important factor.