Have you ever met someone who is afraid of dogs? If you have, they probably told you a story from childhood about why they are afraid of the big, furry pets that most of us like to call our friends.
If someone as a child is attacked or bitten by an untrained or aggressive animal, he may spend the rest of his life fighting the fear. Just like old habits are hard to break, learning to overcome such fears is hard to do!
It is the job of caring dog owners to train our pets to behave properly and also to carefully supervise children who might act out in certain ways that mess with a dog’s instincts and cause such dog bites to occur.
Read on to find out who you should keep away from your pet, and how you can handle your pet to best prevent both little ones and friendly older people alike to suffer from a surprise dog bite at the park or elsewhere!
Carefully Monitor When Children Are Playing With Your Pet
This section might be the most important part of this blog, when it comes to the protection of children and dog bites.
Dogs in general tend to be protective of babies and children, and usually treat little ones gently. But, there is one big problem. Dogs (and cats also) still have their natural instincts intact even when they are domesticated.
This might be why statistics show that almost all dog nips and bites happen to children who love to play with our pets!
Sometimes children may not know how to behave around animals and may make sudden movements or advances that tend to alarm any animal. When this happens, even a well-behaved pup or kitten might nip, bite, or scratch at a child.
Tears ensue, as might be expected. Though dogs do not mean harm, they are only acting instinctually when they nip, but such instincts can cause much pain!
When an event like this happens, a child ends up feeling very surprised, alarmed, and hurt, and may carry scars of the incident for life if the bite felt threatening enough. For this reason, it is important not to leave children alone or unmonitored with pets.
How To Train Your Dog To Not Bite
Unlike someone who stays away from dogs because of the allergies dogs can sometimes induce, a person who is afraid of dogs may actually suffer a heavy amount of distress when near our friendly pets at places like the park, a family reunion, a birthday party, or at the beach.
So, how can you as a pet parent keep those around you comfortable when your dog is with you?
Step #1 Teach Control
Puppies will bite or nip naturally as part of their play with other animals or with their owners. This is where you as the owner can help your puppy learn how to control himself and not hurt others with his teeth!
When you play with your puppy, if he bites you, do not let him continue to play with you as if nothing happened because he is “so little” that the bites do not hurt.
Be aware that when your puppy is a bigger dog, a small bite could hurt a whole lot! If your puppy bites with his teeth, you need to show him that the action hurts you, so he knows not to do that.
One way to show it hurts is to react with some kind of quick and firm negative statement like “Ow!” or “no,” you don’t have to be too loud or negative, but say what you would normally say when your puppy does something wrong and then pull your hands back so he knows that you are not happy with what happened.
After a few moments of pause, you can continue to play, but make sure to react again each and every time your puppy bites on your hand.
In time, your puppy will see that biting you is not okay. He should relate this to other humans that come over to pet or play with him!
Step #2 Divert Puppy Biting to Toys
Train your puppy that the only things he should be nipping or biting at are his toys!
When you play with your dog, try to use toys most of the time, so he can have fun, sink his teeth into something (like a frisbee!), and get all of his energy out without ever nipping or biting at you.
When you pup is full of energy, you may not want to choose that time to pet or play with him without any toys. He might treat you like he would another puppy and nip at you. This is very bad. Pets need to know that humans are not for nipping!
Use fun toys for him to chew on or bite and don’t let him bite you. This is how he will learn that humans are not for biting when playing.
Step #3 How To Train a Puppy to Stop Nipping at People’s Toes or Ankles
Some puppies just love to chase their owners. The minute “mom” walks into the room, a new little pup might get super excited and chase her around the house, nipping at her ankles.
Most of us would probably agree that this is never fun for anyone! So, how can you get it to stop?
The first step to stopping this behavior is to just be consistent. It can take a puppy some time to learn he should not do this.
So, if your puppy is chasing you around the house when you enter the same room as him, do not ever let the chase continue. Stop in your tracks and try to get his attention on something else.
When he stops nipping at your ankles, tell him what a good boy he is! Then bring your puppy a toy that he can nip at. This will help him in time realize that when he chases your feet, there won’t actually be much of a chase, and he will stop.
. . .
Biting or nipping is something that any pet might do since we can’t really foresee what is going on in our pets minds in order to try to prevent a bite, but by following some of the tips above, or by doing more research to learn even more ways to help your pup be a gentle dog, you can help your pet treat those around appropriately!