Biting is a natural and obligatory behavior for growing puppies. Until now, among the cynological “experts” there is an opinion that it is necessary to punish biting behavior.
This is a wrong decision, which ultimately can lead to the fact that the dog will not learn to control the force of the bite. And in a certain situation, she can bite a person or another dog badly. This can be avoided if from early childhood to teach a puppy to bite “softly.”
Why does the puppy bite?
Everything is simple: so they get to know the world for a “tooth”, communicate with their brothers and sisters, relatives. This is their tactile and gustatory perception of the world, contributing to the development of the child’s brain.
For me personally, it is not clear what kind of “nerd” came up with that we need to wean the puppy once and for all to bite – beat him at the same time on the muzzle or even better press the puppy tongue against the teeth or pinch him.
It turns out that if a human baby wants to touch her mother’s body or hook her finger in her fist, what do you need ..? Prick him with a needle or hit a hammer on the fingers. Stupid and absurd.
Yes, of course, the puppy’s teeth are sharp, like a razor blade, and the bites are extremely unpleasant and can even injure, cause serious wounds. Therefore, the suppression of the bite force or the so-called “soft” mouth should be trained puppy from an early age.
Now it happened that many breeders are trying to distribute puppies as soon as possible. Apparently, they want to save on nutrition and vaccination, without realizing that puppies would be better to stay longer in the company of their mother, brothers and sisters. When puppies communicate with each other, they mostly do this with their mouths, nibbling on each other. If one of them bites its “relative” painfully, then he signals this by squealing or whining, licking after that “wound”. Bite understands that overdo it. And the next time begins to control the pressure of their jaws. This is an excellent and natural school of bites for puppies.
But we live in the real world, where the puppy usually appears in our family at the age of 1.5-2 months (plus more time for quarantine after vaccinations), deprived of the opportunity to learn to bite gently and communicate with their peers and relatives. Therefore, we, the members of his new family, should act as moderator of the bite force.
Training for a “soft” mouth, in my opinion, is one of the most important moments in the socialization of a dog. If your dog, even if poorly socialized, accidentally (from pain, an unexpected incident, etc.) bites a person / dog, then having the skill of “soft bite” it will at least not cause physical harm to the bitten one.
How to wean a puppy to bite and snap?
Teaching a puppy to suppress biting consists of two stages.
The first is the suppression of bite force, the second is the reduction in the frequency of bites.
1. Suppression of bite force
Remember: no scolding and punishment of the puppy for biting you hurt. Just tell him that his bites hurt you. How to do it?! You can squeak, scream, or “shake” with high notes in your voice. Stay away from him for a while, in order to “lick the wounds”, you can ask the puppy to sit down or lie down (enough hand gesture). Then continue the game.
If the puppy does not react to your “aikanya” and continues to bite hard, then you can leave the puppy for 1-2 minutes in the room itself. Give him the opportunity to think and calm down a little. Do not overdo it with time, but when you return, talk to him gently and gently stroke him, thus showing that you are dissatisfied with only the force of his bite, and not his existence as a whole. Continue the game.
When you play, and the puppy gnaws your hand, without causing already acute pain, then it is time to completely get rid of even such “bites”. At the moment of “gnawing” of your hand, react, as if you were very painful, exclaim something like: “Aww … a little bully, it hurts me a lot!” The puppy will think: “Well, sissies, these people. You need to be very careful when you touch their skin. ” So it will happen if you go in for “biting” games regularly.
Important: do not start learning such games when the puppy is extremely active and excited (usually it is evening time). For training, choose those moments when the puppy is calm.
2. Reducing the frequency of bites
When the puppy already learns to use its teeth carefully, it is important to teach him to stop biting at the moment when he is asked about it.
In order to distract the puppy from biting and reward for the correct behavior, you can use the signal “You can not” or ask the puppy to sit down or lie down.
Let’s look at how you can use the signal “You can not.”
Take the treat in your hand, hold it in front of the puppy and say “No”. If the puppy does not take a treat in just one second, say “Take” and reward the kid for the restraint. Gradually increase the pause between “Do not” and “Take” to 2.3..20 or more seconds.
If the puppy is impatient and reaches for a treat, then make a fist and start counting again, then the puppy will understand that he will be rewarded when he is calm and has waited a certain time. Also during this exercise, the puppy learns to take the treat from your hand gently, without pulling the treat very quickly.
When the puppy understands and fixes the meaning of the signal “No”, you can use it when the puppy has grabbed something with his teeth (a valuable thing, a hand, etc.), and it must be released. Use the treat as a reward for letting the puppy let go of the item and sitting down after you told him “No”.
This exercise allows you to train your puppy to stop biting at the moment when you need it. But this does not mean that the puppy should not bite at all. On the contrary, the best reward for untouchable behavior will be the opportunity to continue biting some object or your hands.
When you have decided to finish the game, then tell the puppy “It is impossible” or “Everything” (if he knows this signal) and treat him to a tasty bone or Kong, filled with delicacies. This will allow the puppy to relax, rest after a session of training. Remember that puppies are still very small in order to effectively absorb a large amount of information, so do not overload them with lengthy workouts and watch the stress signals your student shows.
Combining these two points – the suppression of the bite force and the frequency of biting – you can train your puppy to have a “soft” mouth, which will allow you to avoid possible injuries and troubles with people and the puppy will be able to communicate delicately with its congeners. After all, most of the communication between puppies (and adult dogs) involves mutual biting, but at the same time none of the participants in the game are injured.