Regardless of your dog’s age, you will have to deal with mouthing at one point. For your dog, especially puppies, it is the only way to interact, greet, or interact with their immediate surroundings.
What is mouthing?
It is a natural habit that starts when a puppy begins to teeth, and they need something to nibble. In general, canines will prefer to manipulate items using their mouths over their paws. The older the puppy gets, the more painful mouthing becomes, and the harder it is to control.
Why do dogs mouth?
For the older one, mouthing is a sign of stress, excitement, or they want to play. However, not everyone appreciates this habit, and it can lead to a biting incident is someone jerks their hand away. Since you do not want nasty labels for your dogs, it is crucial that you train them against them, such behavior.
A dog’s mouthing will be more painful than a puppy’s, and there is a probable chance of causing an injury. A dog that mouths lack basic training, and they tend to think of it as okay behavior. Learn to tell the difference between aggression and playful mouthing.
The training process
Like every other training session you’ve had, this will also require consistency and a lot of patience.
There are various methods of curbing such habits, and different dog owners will have their own preferences. The primary objective is preventing your dog from becoming a nuisance or a threat to the community.
The first step
Most dog owners prefer to start with bite inhibition, which aims at creating awareness of the skin’s sensitivity. The training basically involves training your dog to control how forcefully they mouth.
According to most trainers and behaviorists, training your dog to mouth gently during playful interaction is essential. It significantly reduces the chance of your dog biting hard and causing injuries, even in situations they are in pain or afraid.
The yelp technique
Typically, your pet will learn bite inhibition if they socialize with other dogs. Dog play involves a lot of biting, and it doesn’t take long for one of them to bite too hard. The victim will yelp and stop playing.
The startling sound will make the puppy stop biting and release the other puppy.
In the same way, you can train your dog to understand when the bite is too hard. Allow them to mouth your hand as they play with you.do not stop them from mouthing until they bite down too hard.
If they do, let out a high-pitched yelp and let your arm go limp.
For a short moment, you startle your dog, and they will stop with the mouthing. You can use other utterances that express pain such as “ow!” or “ouch!” ignore your dog for twenty seconds, then resume play.
Pulling away is likely to trigger your pet’s chase instinct, which will only deteriorate the situation.
If the excitement increases, try walking away or placing them gently in their crate until they calm down.
Reward them with affection or a treat if they calm down.
Yelling at your puppy or exerting physical punishment is an effective reinforcement, but which will create fear in your puppy. Instead, painful mouthing should result in playtime coming to an end, without any exceptions.
Therefore, you teach your dog that hurting will earn them nothing since you stop any activity and turn away from them. Behaviorists suggest that tucking your hands away is a minor yet calming signal of withdrawing attention.
The redirection technique
Some owners prefer not to tolerate mouthing at all, so redirecting is an effective alternative. The method achieves similar results; only that you teach the dog, there is no tolerance for mouthing.
Whenever your puppy tries to mouth, use a toy to draw them away from you before contact. Wave around the treat or the chewable toy until they are able to bite at it.
Ignore your dog if they will not go for the toy or treat, which means you have to be still. But just like any other method, it is crucial you resist the urge to jerk your hand or leg away.
Quick actions will only excite your puppy more, which will only aggravate the biting habit. Ignoring your pet will mean transitioning to a dull activity with no movement. Your ability to keep calm during training has a direct effect on your progress.
It is easy to associate most of your dog’s behavior to a lack of physical or mental stimulation. Therefore, involving your dog in activities may significantly reduce mouthing behavior.
Furthermore, exercising your dog frequently will help release pent up energy, frustrations, anxiety, and phobias that may be the cause of biting. In addition, such factors are likely to increase your dog’s aggression.
It may surprise you, but teaching your dog how to greet people may reduce their biting habit. The urge to touch guests is a common reason why your dog mouths other people. Teach them to sit and wait calmly.
You may teach simple greetings such as shaking hands or rubbing their nose on a guest’s hand. Be sure to reward them for proper behavior every time.
Sometimes, it is better to let your puppy learn by themselves. By allowing them to socialize with other dogs, your dog learns from their playmates that rough play is intolerable and will end up playing.
You can sign your dog up for puppy kindergarten, have dog play dates with neighbors and friends, or take them to the dog park often.
Other than building on their social growth, socialization plays a significant role in teaching your dog about bite inhibition. You may have to continue with training sessions at home to achieve desirable results, but the process will be much easier.
Time out o’clock
If your dog is exhibiting too much excitement or aggression, gently place them in their crate. Giving them space to calm down is crucial since it will prevent them from biting.
Do not associate the crate with punishment or negative behavior, so it is essential you remain calm. Once they are calm, let them out and resume play.