It might seem hard to believe, but any dog can bite! Regardless of its age, size, and breed, even the friendliest dog may bite in certain situations.
So, how to stop a dog from biting? To stop a dog from biting, you’ll have to learn why dogs bite. A dog can become aggressive if he is afraid, injured, or threatened. The best way to prevent dog bites is to train and socialize your dog from a young age. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help when dealing with an aggressive dog.
This is a short answer to a very serious and complicated question. Stay with us till the end of this article to find the reasons for this behavior and learn how to stop your dog from biting.
Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Biting
While most dogs bite when they feel threatened, many other reasons can cause this type of aggressive behavior. Bear in mind that any dog can bite, regardless of his age or size!
Therefore, all people need to be aware of the reasons that may trigger a dog to attack and bite.
Like people, dogs can be threatened or startled if suddenly approached from behind. And when a dog feels endangered he will most likely try to bite.
A dog will bite if he has a need to protect and defend its territory. Your pooch might look at his food bowl, toys, you, or the entire property as his territory and feel the need to defend it at all costs.
While all dogs may bite as the means to defend their territory, guard and herding dogs are bred to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting their property. As such, they are more likely to bite in order to defend their territory.
If you ever saw puppies play, you have probably noticed that mouthing and nipping is a natural part of the play. However, while nipping during play can be fun for a dog it most certainly won’t be fun or pleasant for you.
Allowing an adult dog to play by chewing on your fingers or running away from your dog during play can also lead to a bite.
When in Fear
Fear aggression is one of the main reasons why dogs bite. A fearful and scared dog might try to bite anyone who approaches it and try to run away (source).
Keep in mind that dogs can be scared of many things, and something mundane such as the noise coming from a lawnmower can make a dog scared and result in a bite.
Painful injuries can cause even the calmest and the friendliest dogs to bite. Be careful and gentle while handling any dog who has any type of temporary or chronic injury.
Also, if your generally friendly pooch becomes aggressive and tries to bite you without an apparent reason an undiagnosed injury might be the problem. If this seems likely, schedule an appointment with your vet and take your dog for an exam as soon as possible.
Like us, dogs don’t feel like themselves when they are ill, and a sick dog may even bite its owner. Conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and ear infections are extremely painful and can cause dogs to become aggressive and short-tempered.
You’ll have to be very careful and gentle when handling your dog if he suffers from a painful chronic condition. Even the slightest jolt can be extremely painful and provoke a dog to bite you.
Learn to Stop a Dog from Biting?
As a dog owner, you have to realize that there is a chance that your beloved pooch may bite a person or another dog at some point in his life. You must do everything in your power to keep your dog in check at all times and ensure the safety of everyone that comes into contact with him.
Take a look at how you can stop dog bites and prevent your pooch from being a danger for the general public.
Training your dog from an early age is essential if you want to have a well-behaved and obedient canine who won’t try to bite. But did you know that puppies start learning bite inhibition from their siblings and mothers?
When puppies play, they like to mouth each other, and playful mouthing can quickly turn into painful biting. When this happens, a bitten puppy will yelp in pain startling the other puppy who will release and stop biting.
Biting inhibition is, in fact, a dog’s ability to control the force of his bites. Puppies who have learned to mouth gently during play are less likely to bite hard even when they feel frightened or threatened.
As an owner, you should take advantage of this fact and teach your dog to inhibit hard bites. So when your puppy mouths your finger too hard let your hand go limp and yelp in pain.
Once your puppy lets go, ignore him for 10 to 20 seconds and then continue playing. The idea behind this type of training is to teach your puppy that rough play won’t be tolerated and that gentle play continues.
Continue to train and play with your puppy this way until you have inhibited strong puppy bites and then repeat the same process to inhibit moderate biting. With consistent training and time, your puppy will learn to stop mouthing while playing and that biting is undesirable behavior.
There is a special phase in every puppy’s life during which your pup has to be exposed to people, other dogs, and different situations. Puppies who weren’t socialized from a young age are more likely to grow into fearful dogs who bite (source).
Start socializing your puppy as soon as you bring him home by allowing him to meet and interact with different people, children, and other pets. Furthermore, expose your puppy regularly to different situations such as loud noises, busy streets, or anything else that might provoke fear.
Never use any form of physical punishment or harsh corrections to discipline your dog! Yelling or beating your dog won’t resolve the issue, but will create many other problems.
Instead of using punishment to correct problematic behavior, you should use positive reinforcement techniques to train your dog to stop biting (source). Since most dogs are eager to please, you should use treats and praise to reward good behavior.
Find an Alternative – Chew Toy
Teach your dog to stop nipping your fingers by offering him chew toys as an alternative. When your dog tries to mouth you, quickly remove your hand, and give him a chew toy instead.
Alternatively, you can satisfy your dog’s chewing needs with games such as fetch or tug-of-war.
Seek Professional Help
If despite your best efforts your dog continues to bite or you think that his playful nipping can turn into aggressive biting, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. If you decide to take this road, make sure to find a qualified professional such as a certified veterinary behaviorist or a certified professional dog trainer.
Since biting is a serious problem, make sure that the trainer is educated and has extensive experience dealing with and treating dog aggression.
What to Do If Your Dog Has Bitten Someone?
If your dog bites someone, don’t panic! But if you do, try to pull yourself together quickly.
While this is an extremely stressful situation, you’ll have to stay calm, collected and be quick on your feet. Here’s what to do:
Confine The Dog
Confine your dog to a kennel, yard, or another room immediately, even if the bite is serious! Even if your first instinct is to aid the victim, you must remove your dog from the scene in order to help.
Aid The Victim
Once your dog is confined, offer first aid to the victim and, if possible, wash the bite wound with soap and warm water. Depending on the severity of the wound, you should either seek emergency medical attention or drive the victim to the nearest hospital.
How to Safely Interact with Dogs?
Even if it looks cute and approachable, a dog can quickly turn on someone it doesn’t know! Whether you are a dog owner or not, it’s important to know how to interact with dogs and how to safely approach one.
Don’t Touch or Approach Unfamiliar Dogs
Don’t try to approach or pet an unfamiliar dog without asking for the owner’s permission first! If the dog is off-leash and the owner isn’t nearby, don’t approach the dog on your own.
Let The Dog to Come to You
When you are meeting a dog for the first time, let it come to you. Crouch or turn to the side and extend a hand allowing the dog to sniff you. Be patient and give a dog a chance to make the first move before you try to pet it.
Don’t Touch an Injured Dog
Don’t approach, touch, or try to move an unfamiliar and injured dog. If you want to help contact a veterinarian or animal control since they have the necessary experience to handle these situations.
Don’t Run or Scream
If you end up trapped by a dog, avoid eye contact, and try to remain still. Don’t kick, scream, or try to run away from the dog.
Wait until the dog lose interest in you and then start to back away slowly. Refrain yourself from running and do your best to look calm while putting some distance between yourself and the dog.
Dog biting is a huge problem that comes with serious consequences for all parties involved. Most owners believe that their dogs wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone bite a person, but the truth is, any dog can bite!
As an owner, you are responsible for your dog and his behavior, and it’s your duty to ensure that he won’t put other people in danger. It is in your power to prevent dog bites by training and socializing your dog from a young age.
If you suspect that your dog might bite someone or is showing signs of aggression, don’t wait until it’s too late to deal with this problem. Start working with your dog today, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help!