It is a fact that dogs & puppies use their mouths. Puppies will chew on anything when teething but also it is exploration of new objects “can I eat it?” This behaviour is similar to a human toddler; they put everything in their mouth!
Firstly on the subject of chewing, dogs & puppies love to chew, it’s a de-stressor. If you do not provide something they will find their own object. Be careful what you provide, if you give an old shoe how will your dog know the difference between old shoes & new shoes? Kongs and other dog safe products are available on the market. To avoid unwanted chewing put your puppy into their crate when you can’t keep an eye on them as old habits die hard!
For the puppy that gets all excited and starts mouthing you please don’t worry, you don’t have a potential killer in your midst. Again this is normal. When dogs play together they do use their mouth. Their skin is much tougher than our peachy effort, we damage much more easily. It is up to US to teach them that in a way that they understand. Don’t punish them and certainly don’t fear them. If you punish you will only make your puppy fearful of you, they don’t understand our world. If you are fearful you may make yourself a little bully that never learns to use their mouth softly!
Please remember puppies that learn bite inhibition are far less likely to bite when they are adults!
When you are playing with your puppy allow them to use their mouth, we are going to teach them gradually to not use their teeth. Your first base is anything painful (with milk teeth tends to be everything). When the bite is painful make a high pitched “OW!” noise and stop playing for a minute, you can make a show by going in a huff for a minute. It is important that you start playing again. Keep repeating until they get the message that the “OW!” noise is enough to stop them. Second base is the “No teeth” command. When you are playing and the mouthing starts say “No teeth” and give them something to have in their mouth. If they put the pressure on then back to “OW!” and finish the game. Once you get into a habit as soon as you say “No teeth” you will notice that your puppy lets go of your hand. Reward with a huge good dog!!!
It is as simple as that! If you have young kids I highly recommend that exciting games are not played between puppy and kid. Children should learn that dogs are not toys! You as a parent will know yourself if your child is mature enough to understand these rules. Also NEVER leave your puppy/dog & children unattended EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will lead me nicely onto the second part of bite inhibition- bite prevention.
Every dog in the world has the capability to bite and do damage. Every human in the world has the capability to misinterpret a dog and cause such a bite. Every human should know how to prevent such actions happening.
Most dog bites come with a warning of one kind or another. Please look for signs of stress when dealing with your dog. Signs of stress are panting, yawning, whining, wide eyes, growling, showing teeth, raised heckles, tails tucked under & avoiding eye contact. See plenty warning! If you see any of these signs then ease off the pressure of whatever it is you are doing. This doesn’t mean you let the dog win….far from it, you are learning to understand the dogs threshold, you are communicating.
Children are bitten more by family dogs than any other, and this isn’t breed specific. Labradors will bite just as much as Staffordshire bull terriers!
Children move fast which encourages a dog’s prey drive to kick in. Children like to kiss dogs in the face; children have no understanding of the consequences even from a dog with a docile history. Children like to scream if they feel threatened, dogs don’t understand this and it can frighten them. Children like to hit if things aren’t going their own way, dogs don’t understand this and may perceive this as an attack. Children get very impersonal about personal space, sticking their fingers in ears, eyes, pulling tails or fur. These are all normal child like behaviours just as a dog who feels threatened will defend themselves is a natural behaviour!!!!! Children also think that the world is safe and it will never happen to them. Please keep your children and your dog safe! Most dog bites on children are in fact at the hands of a dog living in the family.