If at any time you’ve been nipped by a young dog or puppy, you’ll know that those teeth can be as knife-like as ice picks.
Depending on their breed, dogs typically possess a pretty impregnable hide and can nip and be nipped with comparative impunity, but we humans are not so lucky. And yes, a puppy’s nip can definitely pierce the human hide!
So how do you put a final and permanent stop to your young pup’s nipping habits?
Primarily, it helps to appreciate that he’s not gnawing on or chewing your leg maliciously! Chewing, mouthing and gumming are ordinary activities for puppies and young adolescent dogs.
They instinctively nip when playing alongside their siblings. This is the way they communicate with the universe and the environment about them. If uncontrolled by his less close family and “pack” members, a young dog would, in a second, be taught by his mother and siblings to manage his chewing.
But the majority of puppies are separated from their mothers and family prior to the time when they’ve had an opportunity to take this skill and understanding on-board; hence, it remains “unlearned”.
So, what to do? First, you need to let him have fun and mix with a group of other dogs.
Puppies adore jumping about, to fall and tumble and having fun. If your little bundle of fun becomes a bit too boisterous in the presence of different, unknown dogs, the other members of the crowd will rapidly address his improper and unnecessary behavior!
As basic as it is, this socialization alongside different dogs is hands down the simplest way for him to discover to manage himself when he’s tempted to nip.
There are additional benefits to allowing our pup to socialize in this way. He’ll discover not to be nervous or to have any fear of strange new dogs. He’ll get rid of his surplus vitality. And you’ll see that he interacts more calmly when amongst other members of your household.
Puppies that forgo this socializing aspect are often inclined to be over-active, wild and destructive, perhaps demonstrating a range of different difficult behavioral patterns.
Additionally, dogs without any canine social skills generally tend to react unnecessarily aggressively to new situations.
So, any efforts you can engender to introduce your young dog to new and unknown dog, as well as new human beings (particularly the youngest members of your household) should pay huge dividends in numerous areas of your pup’s growth and development.
This can be especially useful if you there are very young children in the family.
The young are closer in weight, bulk and size to dogs, and they frequently possess that selfsame puppy-like vitality that can be interpreted as belligerent by a dog.
So, during the period when your puppy is relatively youthful (four months old or less), this is a sensible period to ensure that he frequently interacts with family in an appropriate way that causes neither your dog or the offspring to become too over-excited! This can be particularly significant if your pup is from a species of big or quarrelsome dogs.
The second way to try to train your young dog to drop his nipping and gnawing habit is to work to elicit his confidence and esteem.
This can go a long way to ensuring that all subsequent training becomes easier and that the effects of all your training efforts are permanent, notably if you’re striving to manage and then rectify difficult or unmanageable behavior.
How do you garner your young pups esteem? By treating him with exactly the same levels of respect and consideration that you expect from him (or her).
Whether you’re teaching your puppy or only playing, try to handle him with consideration. This entails no hitting or slapping of your puppy, even when in situations where you’re attempting to rectify and deal with seriously improper behavior.
Tangible physical discipline (or abuse) can not only ruin the confidence and admiration of your pup, it’ll almost guarantee that he is scared him of you. Moreover, it’s frequently ineffectual and counter-productive to act this way. Reprimanding your puppy does not prevent him from nipping and chewing. In all likelihood, it’ll do nothing more than flummox him.
By using positive support, usually involving the giving of treats and an abundance of compliments, you should be able to train him infinitely more quickly faster and far more effectively, whilst getting the pup to understand that it is possible to have fun without nipping!
A young dog that bites can mature to be a grown dog that continues to bite unless you instruct him otherwise. Untended, these antagonistic and aggressive behavioral patterns will almost definitely become worse and increasingly less manageable over time.
So, act to deal with them ahead of time, emphatically but fairly, and you’ll lay down the necessary corner stones for a caring, vigorous and trusting partnership with your young pup for the rest of his days.
By Steve Cowan
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