Tired of your puppy's jaws-like playing? Puppy biting/mouthing is a natural, normal behavior. This form of play is essential in developing a dog with good bite inhibition, the ability to control the strength of their bite. If your puppy learns to control his mouth and he does bite in the future, he is less likely to cause much damage.
To help with your puppy's mouthing, we recommend the following tips:
1. Let your puppy use his mouth. In the beginning it's okay to let your puppy mouth but provide feedback when the pressure increases. When your puppy mouths harder, say 'Ow!" and turn away and ignore your puppy for a few seconds. Resume play once your dog settles down. If your puppy becomes more rambunctious and amped up, you can say "Ow" and leave the room for 30 seconds. Over the next couple of weeks, you will react to any pressure on your skin. Even light mouthing with no pressure will cause an "Ow" and a temporary pause in play.
2. Play appropriately with your pup. Wrestling with your pup and putting your hands in your dog's face will encourage him to mouth and bite your hands. Use toys that create distance between your hands and the toy. Play games like tug with rules or scent games.
3. Socialize your pup to friendly, vaccinated dogs. Puppies need to learn to control their mouth around dogs as well as people. If you don't know any, enroll in a puppy class.
4. Give your pup appropriate toys and chews. Use food dispensing toys like Kongs to feed your puppy his meals and provide bully sticks and marrow bones. Replace your hands with a chew and praise your pup when he chews appropriate toy.
With some patience and gentle guidance, your pup will learn to control his mouth and be on his way to becoming a well behaved member of your family.
If you go to a pet store to pick out a collar, you are bound to see a section of prong collars, choke chains, and electronic collars. You may be wondering if they would be a good fit for you or what their purpose is.
At Ain't Misbehaving, we strongly recommend being fully aware of why these tools are used, how they are supposed to work, and why we encourage using more humane tools.
The purpose of these collars is to use pain and discomfort to stop an unwanted behavior like pulling or barking. A prong collar has metal prongs that pinch the skin around a dog's neck, choke chains tighten around a dog's neck, and an electronic collar sends an electric current through a metal prong.
Reasons not to use these tools:
1. They are painful. The reason why they stop a behavior is because it's uncomfortable and hurts the dog. To stop the pain, they have to stop the unwanted behavior.
2. They don't teach your dog the behavior you want. A dog may learn what not to do like pull or bark but they don't learn what they should do like walking nicely on leash or to look at you.
3. It's easy to misuse them. To be successful with this type of equipment, you have to have precise timing to administer the correction and once the unwanted behavior stops, you have to immediately and precisely stop the aversive. For most people, this his is hard to do every time.
4. You can't control what your dog will associate with the pain. For example, if you use it for pulling, your dog may associate the pain with other things such as people walking their dogs, children, or other animals in the environment. Your dog may start to react negatively (barking, lunging, and/or growling) to these things.
5. These tools may work for some dogs but not for all. You don't know for sure, and you could risk your dog responding negatively by becoming aggressive or shutting down.
6. There are better, more positive methods you can use. It is way easier and more fun to teach your dog what you want from him and reward him when he does behaviors you like.
What we recommend:
1. A flat buckle or martingale collar.
2. A body harness like the Freedom Harness.
3. Positive reinforcement training using things your dog loves (i.e. toys, walks, kibble, and love.)
Rather than use aversive methods, we want to you to foster a healthy, happy relationship with your dog based on trust, respect, and love. A good foundation of positive reinforcement training can lead to a lifetime of happiness with your four legged friend.
We so strongly believe in positive reinforcement training that we will offer a 10% discount on training packages if you hand over your prong collar, choke chain, or shock collar.
CPDT-KA and Animal Behavior Consultant