why does my dog play bite me
what is "mouthing? "
"Mouthing," a. k. a. "play-biting" is a natural, instinctive way dogs play with each other. They explore the world with their mouths like we do with our hands. Mouthing is not aggressive, but can be irritating to humans, especially guests in the home of a dog that mouths. It can be misinterpreted as aggression. why do dogs mouth? Puppies learn how to play by mouthing their littermates and their parents. They explore with their mouths, and they use their mouths to play with each other. The ASPCA outlines that Young dogs usually learn bite inhibition during play with other dogs. If you watch a group of dogs playing, you'll see plenty of chasing, pouncing and wrestling. Dogs also bite each other all over. Every now and then, a dog will bite his playmate too hard. The victim of the painful bite yelps and usually stops playing. The offender is often taken aback by the yelp and also stops playing for a moment. However, pretty soon both playmates are back in the game. Through this kind of interaction, dogs learn to control the intensity of their bites so that no one gets hurt and the play can continue without interruption. In contrast to aggressive biting, mouthing is playful and not ill-intended. It can, however, be an unwanted behavior as far as humans are concerned. Puppies typically learn to control the intensity of their play bites by their littermates, but puppies taken from their littermates too soon may need to learn this from their human families. Typically, humans teach their puppies that no form of mouthing is acceptable, but that is not always the case, as is the situation with Quincy.
It's likely that since his mouthing is so gentle, he was never taught to behave otherwise. playful mouthing vs. aggressive behavior There is a huge difference between playful mouthing and aggressive behavior. While you may or may not train your dog to quit mouthing you, no degree of aggressive behavior should be tolerated. How can you tell the difference? PLAYFUL MOUTHING AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR how can I teach my puppy or dog not to mouth? You can teach your puppy or dog not to mouth just like his littermates would. Note that it is much more difficult to teach an adult dog not to mouth, as they are not as sensitive to our reactions as puppies are. Teaching your pooch not to mouth is a process. 1. Teach your puppy about bite intensity by yelping and pausing play when he bites too hard. Praise him when he stops, and repeat this a few times per play period. Your puppy will learn that you have a negative reaction when he bites too hard. 2. Mouthing is natural, so you want to teach your dog what is appropriate to mouth and what is not. If you wish (as most humans do), teach your puppy that no mouthing of you is acceptable. Once your puppy has eased up on the intensity, practice the same steps whenever the puppy mouths your hand (or ankle. or whatever his favored body part is). Provide him with an alternative, such as a chew toy or ball. Your puppy will learn to mouth appropriate items rather then your hands or the hands of your visitors. Б Avoid wiggling your fingers in front of your dog's face, and avoid play-slapping his muzzle. These actions will likely encourage your dog to mouth and play more aggressively.
Б Don't discourage play and mouthing all together, as it's a great way to bond and it provides your pooch with mental and physical stimulation. Allow your dog to mouth a toy you are holding rather than your hand. Б Don't physically punish your dog for mouthingБor for anythingБas it will likely cause more aggression, and your dog may become fearful of you. Б If your puppy or dog mouths you, don't pull away. Pulling away will be considered a game by your dog and will encourage him to play harder. Kind-of like tug-of-war. Б Always provide appropriate chew toys for your dog. Б Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and entertainment. Excessive mouthing can be a sign of boredom. Б If your dog is biting aggressively, seek the help of a certified, professional dog trainer immediately. Does your dog mouth? Have you taught your dog not to mouth? Please share your experience! *All names have been changed in the interest of privacy. By: Emily D. Levine, DVM, DACVB, MRCVS;б Animal Emergency and Referral Associates of New Jersey It has been a long day. You get home from work, you manage to get something on the table to pass for dinner, youБve helped with homework, put the kids to bed and now you can finally take a deep breath and sit down on the couch to rest. You see your dog approaching you with an eagerness that makes you think to yourself how much you your dog and how you are about to share a special cuddly moment together. You go to pet him and BAM! Б. the little stinker bites you! б Well, now you are shocked (and probably a bit angry).
You start wondering why in the world your dog would bite you, his beloved guardian. You tell your spouse, you tell your neighbors and friends. And, well, everyone has an opinion. Some people tell you your dog is trying to dominate you, whereas others tell you your dog is bipolar and needs to see a shrink (a. k. a. veterinary behaviorists). So somehow in between work, kids, spouses, household chores, you now need to need take your dog to a shrink? You think to yourself, "There is no way IБm going to do that!! " б Until you get home again that night and you look into those adorable eyes and start to wonderБis my dog bipolar? Is he going to bite me every time Iб reach out to pet him? What is going on with my dog? Well, we do not know if dogs experience a condition similar to the human bipolar diagnosis. But we do know that there are many reasons that a dog may approach and bite you if you try to pet him. And trying to be dominant is NOT one of them! Assuming there are no medical conditionsб orб negative associations with hands that require a skilled professional, or some other often diagnosed condition, there is a very common, reasonableб explanation for why some of our beloved snap when we go to pet them in theб specific context described above. б It can be summed up as Бfrustration. Бб б The frustration comes from your dogБs perspectiveб that you, his beloved guardian, doesnБt understand what he wants/needs. You know how crazy busy you are during the day and how you canБt wait to get home and sink into the couch and not have to lift a finger? Well, your canine companion has been spending that time resting and waiting for something to do.
When you arrive home, that is when their day gets started. б Many dogs are so eager to play and to be mentally stimulated that when they approach you and they see that darn hand coming out to pet them, they want to scream, "I DONT WANT TO BE PETTED! IT'S TIME TO DO SOMETHING! LET'S GO! LET'S GO! LET'S GO!!! They have probably tried more subtle ways of telling you this but you have likely missed those signs. So now, the dog is very frustrated. For any of you that have experience with young active children, you know there are times when you can get them to sit and calmly listen to a story and other times when you would not even attempt such a crazy thing, becauseб you know theб kidsб just need to run around and get some energy out! For those of you who have found yourself with a generally loving dog who goes to bite your hand in the specific context above, do this: The next time your dog approaches you while you are sitting, do not reach out and pet him. Ask if heб wants to play tug Бthen get up and go get a tug toy or go get some treats and engage himб in some training exercises. Better yet, do this before you sit down Б be pre-emptive (let's face it, once we sink into that couch, it can be really hard to get back up). Have a play session or a training session before you collapse for the evening. If this doesnБt help, then indeed, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical exam. And, if your dog is given a clean bill of, it is indeed time to see a skilled behavioral professional. petbehaviorblog. com [
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