While many of us enjoy playing games with our dogs, no one wants to be bitten during these activities. For some dogs and puppies, this is a problem — in large part because it’s their nature to use their teeth as part of playtime, and they may not realize they’re hurting you while they do it.
At Innovative K9 Academy, we’re here to help dog owners with a wide variety of dog training courses, from puppy school up through individual training sessions for dogs who need them. We’ve assisted numerous dog owners who want to minimize their pup’s biting during play, even if it’s most of the playful nipping variety. Here are some basic tips on recognizing this behavior, understanding it, and limiting it moving forward.
Recognizing the Reason for Dog Biting During Play
All dogs bite at some point, whether you’re playing with them or not. During play specifically, a dog may be trying to get something out of the toy it’s biting, such as food or a treat.
In addition, one of the most common times for playful bites is when your dog has a toy in its mouth and you reach for it. In your dog’s eyes, you’re stealing his prize, so he’ll do what it takes to protect it — including biting! While not necessarily done deliberately on the part of your pup, this is a behavioral issue that often needs to be addressed by working with your pet.
Calm, Reasonable Responses to Biting
Once you’ve highlighted the reasons for your dog’s biting during play, it’s much easier to respond to them. The key here is to remain calm while correcting their behavior. Create a barrier between yourself and the dog when biting issues take place, removing yourself from the situation while remaining completely neutral emotionally.
Over time, your dog will begin to learn the consequences of biting, even if it’s done playfully. They will realize that this behavior leads to playtime shutting down, which leads to you leaving, which leads to them being alone. This can also be true when they bite you in any other setting; the goal is a consistent response that they can become familiar with over time.
In extreme situations, such as dogs that had a poor upbringing and may be conditioned to bite especially often, you may have to involve professional assistance. Our trainers have worked with many dogs that have major biting issues, helping change their behavior over periods of time using time-tested techniques.
For more on this or any of our dog training services, contact the team at Innovative K9 Academy today.