Why Do Dogs Play Bite & Nip?

puppy with toyWhen it comes to training your new puppy, you need to learn to associate good behaviors in one group and wrong behaviors in another group, then setting a group of standards for dealing with these groups.  This is done by understanding that these are two separate objectives. The first objective of puppy training is to teach your puppy to do the things that you want them to do consistently. The second objective which can be harder is to teach your new friend not to do certain things that are considered wrong.

This is accomplished by trying to teach your puppy what you the behavior you desire from them and rewarding them for accomplishing these goals. As with a puppy, the list of right behaviors is usually smaller than the list or wrong behaviors, it becomes easier to offer rewards and harder to punish them. The more you focus and reward for good behavior, the less desire your puppy will have to act inappropriately. For example, it is easier to show your new puppy where you want them to go than to punish them for every little place they want to go instead. It is important to be aware of when they are acting in the right behavior and give them rewards. The nature of humans is to ignore favorable actions and only focus on negative actions. This behavior does not work with puppy training. By spotting when your puppy is acting good and then rewarding them, soon they will not want to act “bad” and focus only on the right behavior.

puppy behaviorThe importance is starting early and being consistent. Do not let the puppy do cute things like hopping on furniture if this is a behavior you would not tolerate in an adult dog. Below is a list of common right and wrong behaviors.

Right Behaviors For Your Puppy:

  1. Doing their business in appropriate spots
  2. Playing nicely with people and other dogs
  3. Playing with appropriate dog chew toys
  4. Responding to your basic commands
  5. Waiting to greet people
  6. Responding properly to leash control

Wrong Behaviors For Your Puppy:

  1. Doing their business in the house
  2. Playing too roughly with people
  3. Chewing on clothes, shoes, walls, furniture
  4. Chasing other household pets
  5. Digging up the front and backyard
  6. Eating food not given especially to them
  7. Jumping on visitors as soon as they arrive
  8. Excessive Barking
  9. Not responding to common commands or leash control
  10. And any other behavior that does not seem to be appropriate

When To Worry

If your dog seems to get a little over excited while playing and often nips or play bites you may need to do some reconditioning to teach him what an acceptable bite force is. Depending on the age of your dog you can expect different behavior but if possible it is important to set ground rules from a very early age. Although if you haven’t don’t worry. It’s still possible to correct the behavior of older dogs.

dogs play nippingPlayful biting, or nipping, is common and very natural among dogs of all ages and breeds. Dogs explore the world using their mouths and their mouths are as important to them as our hands and eyes are to us. Nipping and playful biting is very different to aggression and shouldn’t be treated as such. It is a way for dogs to communicate, interact, explore and play. From the time they are born pups use their mouths to explore their den and their mother and to play with their brothers and sisters.

If young dogs don’t learn bite inhibition while growing up they can carry bad habits over into their older years and be a real handful for owners, especially if they are bigger dogs. This often occurs because the pups were removed from their litter before they had the chance to learn. Pups usually learn bite inhibition while playing with their siblings. If one pup bites another too hard the bitten pup will yelp loudly and stop playing with the offending littermate. Lonely and bored with no one to play with the biting pup will learn through social isolation that he bit too hard. The bitten pup also learns that biting is painful and will think before biting his brothers or sisters. This is one reason why puppies that are removed from their litter at an early age can be maladjusted and misbehave more than others who have learned social conventions from their littermates.

puppy nippingAlthough pups that have learned bite inhibition from their siblings do tend to be better adjusted they still need reconditioning when moving into a new home. One reason being that a person’s tolerance to bite pressure is generally a lot lower than that of a fellow dog and what your dog considers a friendly nip may in fact draw blood.

To teach puppies and even older dogs we can use a similar concept to that which they learn from in their litter while growing up. The following technique can be used for training older dogs and puppies although older dogs will require more reinforcement and a more time.

Firstly decide what level of pressure you are willing to accept from your dog. This will likely vary depending on the breed of dog. Some owners of large strong-jawed dogs will not accept any level of tooth contact while owners of smaller dogs mightn’t mind a little love bite. When you reach the level of tolerance with your dog (this could be slight pressure or just taking your fingers in their mouth) let out a loud yelp as if you’ve really been hurt and immediately turn your body away. Get up and walk a few feet and make sure to keep your eyes and face away. Don’t speak and don’t touch your dog for at least 20 seconds. The idea here is to teach through social isolation similar to how they would learn in the litter. But be careful not to give the dog too long so that they don’t forget what happened and start playing with something else. If there are other people around, make sure they do the same. After you return to playing with the dog be careful with your fingers as if you are hesitant to play with him and repeat the process if he bites you again. Hopefully, with a little repetition and patience on your part, your dog will quickly learn his lesson.

Most young dogs (and some older ones) seem to have a deep-seated need to chew on something, not unlike children of a certain age, although I’m sure the reasons are quite different. When playing with such dogs make sure the attention is not on your hands and give him a tough toy to chew on. Anything hard enough to withstand the punishment but with a slight give should be fine. If for some reason he finds your fingers more tempting than the toy and he gives you a nip respond with a quick ‘NO!’ This should startle him and make him stop. When he stops praise him and quickly refocus his attention on the chew toy. When he bites on that praise him again with a pat. This method should get the results you’re after.

I should mention here that in no situation should you use physical force to correct your dog for bad behavior. It’s not necessary and will most likely encourage further biting and more aggressive behavior. The cold shoulder technique has been proven to be the most effective method of showing your dog your displeasure. Your dog always wants to please you and your best tool in training is your authority and the admiration and respect your dog has for you.

dog-nippingIf your dog doesn’t seem to be learning from the cold shoulder technique and continues to bite and nip he probably needs some timeout. Have a crate or an area where he is isolated from you and other people that you can lock him in where there are no toys and nothing to keep him entertained and leave him there for a short time (5 minutes or so.) Your dog hates this social isolation and he’ll do anything to avoid it. When he comes back out try to tone down the level of play until you think he can play without nipping.

Some dogs will get overexcited and bite and nip at any opportunity especially during play time. For these dogs try to choose non-contact play when you can. Frisbee and fetch are great choices, even tug of war if your dog knows when to stop and will listen to your drop it commands. You should try to avoid rough play like slap boxing and wrestling as these types of games will encourage nipping and play biting and also stimulate your dog’s natural aggression which should be avoided.

Stopping More Aggressive Dog Behaviour

I’m sure you’ve all heard that when learning something new it’s always best to learn it right the first time and that it takes a lot of work to undo bad habits. Well, dogs are no different and its best to get it right from the start.

One reason that dogs develop aggressive tendencies is that while they are puppies people tend to brush off their bad behavior as playfulness when really it should be dealt with at this early stage. Remember the expression ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ While it may be possible to retrain older dogs its much easier to teach them while they’re young.

aggressive dogDogs develop aggressive traits for a number of reasons. One common and unfortunate one is that their owners encourage this type of behavior. A lot of people get dogs to protect their property and they praise their dogs when they bark and growl at strangers approaching their homes. Dogs learn bad habits very easily and once made they can be hard to break. Never encourage aggression in your dog even when playing. Always keep your games light and friendly and make sure to give your dog plenty of love and affection.

When talking to dog owners I always say that punishing any sign of aggression towards humans is the best thing you can do and should be done from an early age. Many people worry that if they always punish their dogs for growling or barking, their dogs will become passive and that if one day someone breaks into their house their dog will be useless and likely try to lick the intruder. But if you train your dog to give one or 2 short sharp barks every time someone approaches the house, trust me, you will not have a problem with break-ins.

What you should do is react quickly to the first signs of aggressive behavior shown by your dog. This could be a soft growl, barking or a stiffening of the body. Usually, a strong ‘no’ command will do the trick. One mistake a lot of people make is petting their dog to try and sooth them when they display aggressive behavior. All this does is teach your dog that its OK to be aggressive towards humans.

Your dog’s confidence can also be a factor in their behavior. Timid or fearful dogs (much like timid and fearful humans) tend to be more aggressive and confrontational. So build your dogs confidence with a lot of praise for doing things right and avoid unnecessarily scolding your dog.

Having a well well mannered friendly dog that behaves well around new people makes life easy for dog owners. Having to worry that your dog may bark at or even attack your guests can cause a great deal of stress and take away from the pleasure of owning a dog. (Not to mention scare your guests away.) So raise your dog right and make sure they develop good habits early. If you’re worried that your dog is displaying abnormal aggression it’s really important that you get to the cause of it.

Sharing Is Caring 🙂

Why do dogs play bite and nip?

About the Author Andy

When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on all dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment:

33 comments
gamefly free trial says May 21, 2019

Hi Dear, are you really visiting this web page daily, if
so then you will absolutely get pleasant know-how.

Reply
https://drive.google.com/ says May 20, 2019

When some one searches for his vital thing, so he/she wishes to be available
that in detail, thus that thing is mainjtained over here.

Reply
https://Rebrand.ly/77545 says May 18, 2019

Superb post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

Bless you!

Reply
minecraft download mojang says May 17, 2019

Wow, superb weblog layout! How lengthy have you ever been blogging
for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
website is fantastic, as well as the content!

Reply
free minecraft download says May 16, 2019

Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I
provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly
benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

Reply
Glinda says May 16, 2019

An impressive share! Ihave just forwarrded this onto a colleague who was conducting a little research on this.And he actually bought me
lunch ddue to the act that I discovered it for him…
lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for thhe meal!!
But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk
about thiks subject here on your web site.

Reply
minecraft download free pc says May 14, 2019

Thank you for some other great article. The place else
may just anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal manner of writing?
I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am
at the search for such info.

Reply
minecraft pc download says May 14, 2019

Inspiring story there. What occurred after?
Take care!

Reply
g says May 13, 2019

After looking at a few of the blog posts on your web page, I seriously like your technique of blogging.
I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near
future. Please check out my web site as well and let me
know your opinion.

Reply
Milo says May 13, 2019

Amazing issues here. I am very satisfied to see your post.
Thank you a lot and I am having a look forward too contact you.
Will you kindly drop me a mail?

Reply
g says May 13, 2019

I think the admin of this site is genuinely working hard in favor of his web
site, as here every information is quality based information.

Reply
Shantell says May 12, 2019

Have you eever considered about including a little bit more than just you
articles? I mean, what you ssay is fundamental and all.
Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your
posts more, “pop”! Your content iss excellent but with pics and
video clips, this site could certainly be one of the greattest in its
niche. Exchellent blog!

Reply
Benito says May 12, 2019

Have you ever thought about creating aan ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
I have a blog based upon on thhe same infprmation you discss and
would really like to hage you share some stories/information. I know my readers would enhjoy your work.
If you are even remotely interested, feel fre to send me an e-mail.

Reply
Thurman says May 12, 2019

Great blog! Is your ttheme custom made orr did you download it from somewhere?
A theme llike youjrs with a few simple tweeks would really make myy blog stand out.
Please let me know where you got your theme. Thank you

Reply
www.facebook.com says May 12, 2019

Hello, this weekend is pleasant in support of me, because this occasion i am reading
this great educational post here at my home.

Reply
Roberta says May 12, 2019

Artidle writing is aalso a excitement, if you be acqujainted with
aftewr that you can write if not it is complex to write.

Reply
Dawn says May 12, 2019

Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform aree you
using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired
of WordPress because I’ve had poblems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
Iwoulld be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

Reply
Lin says May 12, 2019

Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
Extremely helpful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for
such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a vvery
long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Reply
Kindra says May 12, 2019

Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. Such clevfer
work and coverage! Keep up thhe good works guys I’ve incorporated yoou guys to blogroll.

Reply
free minecraft says May 12, 2019

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some
time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.

Please let me know if you run into anything.
I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your
new updates.

Reply
g says May 11, 2019

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through problems with
your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it.

Is there anyone else getting identical RSS issues? Anybody who
knows the answer will you kindly respond?
Thanx!!

Reply
g says May 10, 2019

I am really inspired along with your writing abilities and also
with the structure on your blog. Is that this a
paid subject or did you customize it your self?
Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great
weblog like this one these days..

Reply
Sandy says May 10, 2019

Hi, i think that i saw you visited myy web site thus i came to “return tthe favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my
website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Reply
minecraft free download says May 7, 2019

Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating
it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
Either way, great website and I look forward to
seeing it expand over time.

Reply
minecraft for free says May 6, 2019

My relatives always say that I am wasting my time here at
net, except I know I am getting familiarity every day by reading such nice articles or reviews.

Reply
gamefly says May 6, 2019

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually realize what you are
talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my web site =).
We can have a link trade agreement among us

Reply
gamefly says May 4, 2019

For the reason that the admin of this site is working,
no hesitation very soon it will be well-known, due to its quality contents.

Reply
gamefly says May 4, 2019

Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve keep in mind your stuff prior to and you are simply too excellent.
I really like what you have obtained here, really like what you’re
stating and the way by which you assert it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to care
for to stay it wise. I can’t wait to learn much
more from you. That is actually a great website.

Reply
gamefly free trial says May 3, 2019

You really make it seem really easy along with your
presentation however I find this topic to be really something
that I think I’d never understand. It sort of feels
too complex and extremely extensive for me. I am looking
ahead on your subsequent post, I will try to get
the hang of it!

Reply
gamefly free trial says May 2, 2019

Thanks for sharing such a fastidious idea, paragraph is pleasant, thats
why i have read it completely

Reply
blue iris 4.8.4.3 crack says April 27, 2019

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

Reply
Kellie says April 25, 2019

After reading your blog post, I browsed your website a bit and noticed you aren’t ranking nearly as well in Google as you could be. I possess a handful of blogs myself, and I think you should take a look at “seowebsitetrafficnettools”, just google it. You’ll find it’s a very lovely SEO tool that can bring you a lot more visitors and improve your ranking. They have more than 30+ tools only 20$. Very cheap right? Keep up the quality posts

Reply
Jim Fox says February 5, 2019

Hi,
I would like to thanks for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
I’m hoping the same high-grade website post from you
in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to
get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly.
Your write up is a great example of it.
Regards Jim Fox

Reply
Add Your Reply