Having an older dog with big teeth on your skin can leave you hesitant, confused, and even unsure on how to handle the given situation.
Well, worry no more! In this article, we go over how to teach your dog not to bite you!
Why Your Dog Bites You
Before we get into the specifics on how to teach your dog not to bite you, we first want to understand why your dog feels the need to bite in the first place.
Dogs Bite for a variety of reasons from; fear, pain, and even redirected frustration!
Below we will go over 3 of the most common reasons a dog may bite.
Fear: It’s not uncommon for a dog to bite due to fear. Dogs that are feeling fearful, either respond with flight or fight, and when the flight response doesn’t work a dog will resort to fight which is usually a bite!
If you suspect that your pup is biting due to fear be sure to figure out your dog’s specific trigger for your pup’s fear.
Pain: Another reason why a dog may bite you is due to pain. Many times dogs have a reflex response and when in pain may bite without intentionally meaning to. (The same way you reflexively respond when you stump your toe!)
If you suspect that your pup is biting due to pain, be sure to take your pup to the vet for a check-up.
Play: A dog may also nip and bite when playing. When a dog bites in this scenario, we want to ensure that your pup bit you due to playing and not any because your dog is resource guarding.
Knowing if your dog is playing when biting or not
If you’re unsure if your pup is biting you due to play or not here are some signs to look for.
When it comes to your dog’s body language some things to look out for:
Signs of play:
- Running around after bite (zoomies)
- Relaxed body language
Signs It’s Not Play
- Growling at you while not playing
- Showing Teeth
- barking at you
- Erect Hackles
- Stiff Body language
- Erect Stiff Tail
- Wide “whale eyes”
Using this shot list be sure to identify which category your specific pup fall into
How To Teach Your Dog Not To Bite You.
The way we teach your dog not to bite you greatly depends on why your dog is biting you in the first place!
Below we have outlined 3 ways how to teach your dog not to bite you.
Biting Due To Play: If your dog is biting you due to play the solution is very simple, you essentially want to have your pup on a leash and the moment that your pup goes to take a playful bite form you, you use the leash to interrupt and prevent your pup from getting the gratification of biting you.
After preventing your pup from biting you, you then want to redirect your pup onto an appropriate toy that your dog can bite. Essentially giving your pup an alternative outlet towards the behavior your dog may want to do anyway! (Do this not that)
Recap: Interrupt / prevent the dog from biting us, then give an alternative outlet.
Biting Due To Fear: If your pup is biting due to fear you want to uncover the root cause of the fear, is your pup biting because he/she is scared of people, dogs, trucks, etc.
Once you have a clear understanding of your pup’s fear trigger we then want to have your pup on a leash. We do this again to interrupt and prevent your pup from rehearsing any behaviors we don’t want like biting us.
Now with fearful dogs, the name of the game is building their confidence and creating trust with us their owners so that your dog won’t feel the need to act on his/her own accord but instead trust you to advocate for your pup.
There are various ways to begin building confidence in fearful dogs you can read our list of actionable ways to begin building confidence in dogs here
Biting Due To Pain: If your pup is biting due to pain the very first step should always be a vet visit!
Once you have uncovered what’s causing your dog’s pain to follow your veterinarians’ guidance.
To be very honest behaviorally speaking there are very limited things we can do to prevent a dog from biting due to pain because ultimately it is an involuntary response.
If your pup bites due to pain and needs to be checked by a veterinarian or needs grooming I recommend teaching your pup to get comfortable with a muzzle especially if your pup is going to be handled by groomers and vets To learn how to muzzle train your dog step by step read our complete guide here.
Ultimately there are various more reasons why your dog may bite you but in this article, we spoke about some of the most common reasons we often see and how to teach your dog not to bite you