It’s bad when your dog bites someone, but the way to deal with this is not through punishment. Punishing your dog, especially if you hit or yell at him, can make your dog afraid of you. This can make him more aggressive. There are better ways to deal with biting.
Prevent your dog from biting again instead of trying to find ways to punish him for the past bite. Once you learn to avoid bites, you can prevent them.
Train your dog that he doesn’t possess anything; everything he has is yours to take whenever you want. A good way to get this message across is at feeding time. Stand in front of your dog while holding the food bowl. Tell him to sit. He needs to look at you and stay that way until you decide to put down the bowl to let him eat. Take this measure one step further by putting your hand in the food bowl or removing the bowl a few seconds after he begins eating. Your dog needs to understand that the food is yours and you are merely letting him have it.
Respect your dog by not sneaking up on him to scare him or bothering him while he’s asleep. Sneaking up on a dog or waking a sleeping dog can frighten him, and a scared dog is likely to bite.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog starts uncharacteristically nipping or biting people. This could be a sign that he is in pain.
Look for warning signs that all dogs display before they bite to try to prevent the bite from happening. Dogs typically pin back their ears, and the hair on their back rises. If the dog yawns or shows teeth, he is warning you. If you touch a dog and he freezes and stares you down, that dog might bite.
Spay or neuter your dog. This cuts down on aggressive behavior and makes dogs less likely to bite.
Exercise your dog daily by giving him a walk and by playing with him.
Teach your dog the basic commands of “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “give” and “leave it.”
Seek professional help from a dog trainer or an animal behaviorist if you cannot make any headway with your dog on your own. Ask the professional whether she has experience with aggressive dogs.
Confine your dog if he does bite someone. You might need to seek medical help for the victim.
- When you are training your dog to let people approach his food bowl, walk up to the bowl, and toss in a treat sometimes. That way, your dog won’t think that people approaching the bowl is always bad.
- Children are the most likely group to be bitten by dogs and are more likely to suffer a severe injury because of their small size.
- Leaving a dog alone in a yard or chained up all day is likely to make your dog aggressive.
- Do not give your dog to someone without disclosing the fact that he bites. If he hurts someone, you could be liable.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.