Every year in the United States, about 4.5 million people suffer from dog bites and 20% of them require immediate medical attention. 50% of the people who suffer the bites are children who are below 13 years. They are more vulnerable to dog bites because they do not know how to act around dogs. Unfortunately, there are no many cases of dog bites from strange dogs. They happen when interacting with familiar dogs. Any dog has the capacity of biting and it is thus important to educate people and children on how to avoid dog bites. Most of the dog bites happen then they are still puppies.
Puppies use their mouth to explore and learn about the world. However, their teeth are quite sharp thus making it uncomfortable when they come into contact with the human skin. As the saying goes, it is hard to teach old dog new tricks unless they are willing to learn. Therefore, it is important to train these small puppies on the behaviors that are acceptable and which are not. The earlier they learn, the easier it is to control the bites.
Before we can know how to stop puppy bites, it is important to know the reasons behind this biting. Below are some of the major reasons why these bites occur.
1. The possessiveness of a dog. A dog is a man’s friend and in many homesteads, it serves as a very important security measure. Once you make a dog your friend, it will try to protect all the property that belongs to you and will bite anyone who tries to take anything from you. To stop this behavior it is important to train your dog early to minimize the possessiveness. By training the dogs to follow the command of “Leave it” it works really well in preventing any toy aggression. In case of food aggression, you can train them to wait while you pour their food. In protecting their foods, they can harm anyone who comes around them and it is important to teach your children not to bother the dogs while they are eating.
2. Trying to explore the world and sharpen their teeth. As earlier stated, this is very common with the puppies. Just like babies how they put almost everything in their mouth, the puppies also use their mouth to learn about the things that surround them. They will bite anything that is around them. At this stage, it is recommended that you should not let your children play with them so much and if they have to play, keep a close watch on them so as to avoid any bite.
3. Dog fears. A dog fear is mostly portrayed to strangers, veterinarians as well as when they are in unfamiliar situations. Your children should be taught to avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs as it will trigger fear in them thus the need to bite. A puppy should be taken through early socialization thus minimizing the risk that come with their phobia in their adulthood.
4. Dog pains. Just like human beings, dogs are uncomfortable when they are feeling unwell. No matter how friendly a dog is, when it is in pain it can even bite its closest friend. If your doing is feeling pain, you ought to instruct your children to stay away from the dog. When in pain, a dog can become a bit snippy. It is recommended that you should take your dog to a vet before the conditions becomes worse.
5. Maternal instincts. There is nothing as protective as an animal that has given birth. When the dog has puppies, they are very protective and can bite anyone who tries to take the puppies away from them. You ought to advise your children to approach the puppies with a lot of caution. Also, when handling puppies, you must be very cautious of the mother. Making one careless mistake can make the dog to bite you. The best way to avoid bites resulting from this is to ensure that the dog and its puppies have a secluded place that they are comfortable and they feel secure with minimal or no distraction.
6. Prey drive. If you pass by a dog running or cycling, it will start chasing you. When you are performing your exercises, or cycling, you should be careful of the environment you are in. If there is a roaming dog, try to avoid crossing paths as it may result to a chase. The end result may be a bite.
Despite the above major instances that may trigger your dog or puppy to bite, there are various ways that you can stop these bites from happening. Some of the ways are:
A. Cry. When you are playing with a friendly dog, it may at some point bite you and the best way to make it stop is by crying or yelping. This will convey the message to the dog that the bite hurts and it will instantly stop. A puppy will be surprised by your yelping thus is will stop biting andstart licking you. In this case, you should show the puppy that you love him and give him a puppy kiss.
B. Give your puppy a time out. There are some instances that the yelping will not help. In training you ought to let your puppy know that biting is not allowed by giving it a time out. Basically, this is ignoring her for about 30 seconds. With time, your puppy will learn from the negative response that biting is wrong. The puppies should learn that the moment they bite, their play time is over. After a time out, they will return to playing but it will not be rough.
C. Stop biting by substitution and rejection. This basically entails replacing the puppy’s favorite toys whenever they bite. This is an essential part of training that ensures that there minimal or no bites. Show them that their teeth should go to these toys. This will make your puppy grow up knowing that biting is not a good behavior.
D. Set play dates with your puppy. Just like how babies learn things faster when they are in company of the people in the same age group, the puppies are also able to learn the good and the bad from other puppies. It is therefore important to ensure that you set some time for your puppies to play with other puppies in the same age. When they are playing and it bites another dog, the bitten dog will cease to play for some time and thus your dog will learn that biting hurts.
E. Use of negative association to discourage the dog. This technique basically involves applying some spray or substances with unpleasant taste so that when these puppies bite you, they will feel an unpleasant taste thus will cease biting. These substances are recommended and stocked by many vet stores. The puppy will associate the biting with an awful taste.
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