Dog Biting & Nipping | Things You Didn’t Know About It
Most dogs will not bite a family member without extreme provocation, but the fact is any dog can bite anyone. Never feel that you are 100% safe from being bitten by your dog.
Dogs know how to nip and bite with other dogs. The dog biting problem arises when dogs are brought into contact with humans. Dogs don’t know our rules. Dogs must be taught our rules. Failure to teach your dog human rules regarding biting and nipping can result in severe consequences for both you and your dog.
Dog Biting & Nipping
Dogs are hierological creatures. In other words, they live by a pecking order. The most common reason for a dog biting a human, according to the experts, is because the dog thinks it is the dominant creature. For one reason or another, the dog feels it outranks you – at least at that particular moment. That is not good. Your dog must be made to understand that ALL humans in your household are dominated by your dog.
Here’s what happens in many cases. Your dog nips or bites, often at a child or an older adult. If that adult or that child back down or shows any signs of fear then your dog has achieved a higher status than that family member. This is NOT what you want as this kind of situation could lead to more serious confrontations in the future.
Never take nipping and biting lightly – even when your dog is doing it in play mistakes can happen. Accidental bites are all too common, and if your dog biting anyone, intentionally or by accident, the consequences can be severe – or, at the very least, the consequences can be time-consuming and annoying. The good news is, biting and nipping behavior is usually easy to correct.
If there is any doubt about who is higher in the pecking order in your household then your first order of business is to remove all doubt. All humans, from the smallest toddler to the oldest elder must be above your dog in the social order of the household. Once you establish the household pecking order, with your dog at the bottom, then most dog biting and nipping problems will never be an issue.
One way to do this is by controlling your dog’s food. In the wild, the dominant dog eats first. In your household, humans should eat first and then your dog(s) should be fed. If you have young children, let them put down the dog’s food bowl. This will help to instill the concept that even the youngest humans have mastery over food and therefore outrank the dog.
Give the dog ten minutes to eat the food and then remove the bowl, even if the dog is not finished eating. Vary who removes the bowl. Sometimes the children remove the bowl, sometimes the oldest member of the household removes the bowl, sometimes other members remove the bowl. This reinforces the concept that humans – all the humans in the household – control both the food and the time when the food may be eaten.
When you give your dog a toy or a treat do NOT let the dog biting or nip at a human. If a dog biting or nips to get a treat the family member (even a small child) should withhold the treat, fold their arms, and stare straight into the dog’s eyes until the dog calms down. Then the “Sit” command should be given in a stern voice and the dog should not get the treat or the toy until it sits.
This will further demote your dog within the pack (family) and a dog will seldom if ever, bite a “superior.”
Don’t think you are being mean when you do this. Actually your dog will THANK you if you do this. Your dog’s entire behavior should change and your dog will become calmer and actually happier once your dog knows what its place in the pack (the family) is and it no longer has the worry about being top dog and controlling everything.