The dog learns early from his siblings, if this one bites too hard, the other one squeals and turns away from him. If he bites too hard again, the other bites back. This ignoring or counterattacking causes the puppy to become more cautious in the next interaction. This is called social bite inhibition and is a kind of learned self-protection behavior. We humans can maintain this bite inhibition by recognizing, using and reinforcing it.
Many fresh puppy owners, even in the first few days, look like they have cut a rose bush without gloves. A small puppy will bite anything that comes between its teeth, this includes the arms, legs or hands of his human.
How to stop a biting puppy?
Try to control the contact with your puppy always calmly and gently and always end in a positive body contact. Avoid rough scuffles or tug-of-war games. Do not give your little puppy the opportunity to see himself as an equal competitor by challenging games or behaviors such as tugging, growling or snapping or to make the experience that he can assert his interests in this way.
Any “game” for prey will cause the dog to behave aggressively, and any prey that is given to it will be perceived as a confirmation of its strength and position within its social group. Please always remember, for the puppy “play” is among other things a social adjustment!
If you want your dog to be oriented towards you, you should be a competent and sovereign partner who does not even get involved in the level of power struggle with him.
In dog language, biting the fur means a request to clarify mutual positions in social play and to define himself in the process.
If your puppy attacks you by biting your legs, a loud, high-pitched and squeaking “ouch-ow-ow” is often enough. If you act as if it hurt terribly, and your pain sound is very convincingly the puppy will stopp the attack.
If your puppy really wants to know and does not stop his behavior, let him know with a warning low growl that the fun is about to end. Immediately when the dog stops behaving, let him know you are back in a positive mood with a friendly high-pitched soft sound.
The nature of the social game and your behavior in dealing with the puppy will determine how quickly your puppy’s unpleasant behavior will come to an end. Immediately stopping social play when the dog gets too rough can make it clear that the behavior is not approved of and lead to a end in contact. Standing up abruptly, walking away and ignoring the puppy completely, no addressing, no touching, no scolding and no allowing eye contact can have a very big impact.
Remember, the puppy will always be get a response from you in a positive way as soon as he stops the unwanted behavior.
Children exert a strong appeal to puppies through their urge to move and should learn to stop immediately, ignore the puppy, and convey through sounds of pain that they are uncomfortable with the nipping. Help your child so that no aggressive contact can develop between the two. So that neither child kicks or hits the dog in his distress, nor the dog makes the experience, he can deal with the child like with his siblings. Be careful that children do not provoke the puppy and create places for the dog to retreat, which must be respected by your children and guests.
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