How To Prevent Play Biting In Dogs


There’s a few things yohow-to-prevent-play-biting-in-dogsu can do to prevent play biting in dogs. From day one, avoid playing any games that involve mouthing. If your puppy tries to solicit attention from you by play biting, ignore him. Just get up and walk away. Alternatively, take hold of the puppy by the scruff and say “No” firmly, looking directly into his eyes for about two seconds. The command must be delivered sharply and crisply. Then let the dog go and ignore him. This is normally enough to discourage play biting in the very early stages, say between six and eighteen weeks.

If the puppy or adolescent dog has already developed play biting to a high degree, and resistance to its owner’s countermeasures is severe, holding by the scruff may be seen by the dog simply as more rough play or a dominant threat. It is best just to say “No” and then ignore him.

With an adult dog, leaving a leash trailing behind him – only when you are present – is also an excellent method to stop determined play-biters. By grabbing the leash you automatically get instant control – you can drop the leash end onto a wall hook or radiator knob, and instantly the dog is prevented from continuing his play biting when you move out of his reach. Alternatively, with large dogs, you can check the dog with the leash, always accompanying the action with the command “No”.

By using the leash and collar you are not touching the dog’s body, which reduces any direct physical contact that the dog might take as rough play or reward. Never hit with your hand or have a screaming match with your dog. Dogs are faster on their feet than we are, and therefore simply enjoy the game of “I play bite, you hit and miss, I dive in again”.

How To Discourage Play Biting

The traditional way to prevent or stop play biting is to use obedience training on your dog. Puppies should be trained from the very first day that they arrive. You’ll probably need help to learn how to train such a young pup. Instructional DVDs or different online dog training programs are the best solution at this age.

Concentrate on the “Down, stay” position. When this has been mastered, you can command your dog to do this when he tries to play bite. It’s easier said than done, but owning a dog is inevitably time consuming. Once you have put in the early work, you will enjoy your dog’s company more – and he will love you even more for behaving like a leader. The first six months of quality education provided for a dog on a daily basis is without a doubt the crucial factor in helping you to enjoy a lifelong positive relationship with your pet.

Redirecting The Play

Throwing a toy or a ball is another distraction method that we can use – especially in the park and yard, but in the home as well. Squeaky toys are ideal. Directing the dog’s attention to a toy instead of your hand is a very safe and effective way of reducing play biting and at the same time teaching the dog what it can use its teeth on.

Some puppies mouth their owner’s hand when being walked, as they are attracted to the dangling leash, which can become a target. And your hand is in line too. You can also try using a deterrent spray. Spray your hand and the leash just before embarking on the walk. Taste deterrents work on most dogs, especially if used for many weeks to ensure that the lesson is well implanted.

In the home your dog may be what we call an armchair mouther, who is constantly reaching for your hand when you are sitting down. Again, a deterrent spray applied to your hand each time you settle down will discourage this behavior.

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