Puppies have sharp teeth and adult dogs have powerful strong jaws, both of which are capable of injuring pet parents. Dogs actively play with each other by nipping, mouthing and biting. Pet parents may experience the same type of behavior when playing with their dog. Controlling and managing your dog's play biting through training is a constructive approach towards solving the unwanted behavior. Taste deterrents, distractions, non-contact play and yelping are useful training techniques.
Every time your dog bites you during playtime, let out a short, loud yelp or screech while you simultaneously pull away from your dog. Pause for up to five seconds, without saying or doing anything. The combination of these actions is similar to the reactions dogs have when they play together. If a dog play bites hard, hurting the other dog, he gives the same reaction. This allows your dog to understand that his actions have hurt you and is unacceptable behavior, ultimately convincing the dog not to continue with his actions.
A surprising mouthful of sour and bitter-tasting flavor shocks most dogs from continuing with their behavior. You can find dog-safe taste deterrents at your local pet store, online and some veterinarian offices. Before playtime begins, pet parents should spray the deterrent on their hands, feet and other areas their dog favors to play bite. The bitter taste discourages your dog from repeating the same behavior. Your dog will avoid biting you in these areas to evade experiencing the taste deterrent.
Distract your dog from play biting with toys. As soon as your dog begins to bite you during playtime, yell out a loud "no" and immediately put a suitable chewable toy or bone near his mouth so he bites down on the toy. Repeat this technique until your dog understands that toys are the only objects he should play bite. Patience and repetitiveness are key with this technique.
Although pet parents may enjoy playful wrestling with their pup, playtime doesn't have to be a contact event. Encourage non-contact playing by teaching your dog to fetch -- chasing his favorite toy, retrieving it and bringing it back to you. Non-contact outdoor play can include a fun and safe obstacle course where you can motivate your dog to jump, run and use his intelligence to get through an agility course or maze. Agility course training is a valuable way to bond and play with your dog, ultimately avoiding playful biting.
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