Puppy Bite! - What To Do When Your Puppy Bites You
Puppies are sweet fuzzy bundles of joy. They are also mouths on legs. Many puppy owners soon find that the little sweetie they brought home from the breeders does little more than mouth them, the furniture, and anything it can get its sweet little teeth on. This is all very well and good, and to be somewhat expected, after all, you did bring a dog home, but what do you do when puppy actually bites YOU?
What to do will depend a lot on the age of the dog, and the reason for the bite. Play bites are common accidents, and while you should let the dog know it hurt you, punishment is generally unnecessary unless the biting continues. Always be careful around a puppy's sharp teeth, they can very easily catch on the skin and leave you a bleeding mess. For this reason, it is recommended that no matter how cute your puppy is, keep your face away from his when he is excited, trust me, this advice can save you a bleeding nose, cut lip and damage to the other facial protrusions that you might like to keep intact.
An aggressive bite is quite a difference matter however, and it is a habit that must be nipped in the bud before it becomes an ongoing problem and you end up afraid of your dog, or having to have it put to sleep.
It is worth noting at this point the 'dominance' issue. There is a prevalent school of thought that almost any doggie misbehavior is down to dominance. If the dog barks, it's because he's dominant, if he bites, he's dominant. Dominance can be a cause of bites, but it is not the end all. Overly submissive dogs can also bite out of fear if they are frightened, or the dog can simply be being obnoxious.
A few suggestions from the experts:
'The Alpha Roll' This involves rolling your puppy onto its back and holding it there until it submits ie, lies there quietly. Some people swear by this trick, others find that it whips the puppy up into more of a frenzy. The expert jury is very much out on this trick as well, some feel that it causes power struggles where there previously were none, others believe that it shows the dog you are 'pack leader'.
'The Submission Shake' This involves shaking the puppy by the scruff of the neck, personally this sounds like a great way to get bitten again and frighten the living hell out of your puppy, but some do it. Personally not recommended.
'Withdrawal/Time out' The most important thing to do is not to give the dog any further attention. Put him in his crate, a spare room, or anywhere else you can find a good spot for him to be alone. Alternatively simply ignore the dog, do not give him any attention, or treats, and don't allow him on his favorite spots, like the couch or the bed.
This is intended as a brief guide for dogs that may be a little rambunctious. A dog that regularly bites, growls, and is aggressive towards you needs training and professional help. Obedience school is always recommended for any dog, as it enables you to communicate more effectively with him, and helps to strengthen a bond of friendship and trust.