Sometimes, even from pure curiosity or ignorance, puppies can bite. Even if at first they do not hurt, if we do not teach them that biting is wrong, they will continue to do so as adults, which could be really problematic. Therefore, in this article we talk about how to educate a puppy so that it does not bite, now or in the future. Attentive!
1. Puppies learn the order to sit better
The best age to educate a dog and teach him the order to sit is when he is between two and six months old. Puppies are a sponge and in this vital phase they need more attention from their owners, in order to lay a suitable foundation that will help develop a balanced adult dog.
Therefore, we must ensure that the dog begins to comply with the order to sit down as a puppy. At that age it is easier to internalize these types of orders and be increasingly disciplined to obey their owner.
2. Prizes and not penalties for the dog to learn
Making the dog feel is not complicated
The positive reinforcement to get the dog to feel the order of the owner is very effective. Using any object that the dog likes and attracts your attention, like a toy or a feed ball, will act as a claim to get the dog to comply with the order to sit down.
The object must be held by hand, so that it is above the dog's head. In this way, you get the dog to pay attention and understand that the toy will be his prize if he does what we say.
3. Get the dog's attention
For the dog to feel it is necessary to ensure that he is attentive and focused
You have to make sure that the dog is attentive and focused on what we order or ask for. To achieve this, it is important to use certain gestures and words to accompany the "sit down" order.
First we must call the dog and request that he look us in the face and be attentive to what we are going to ask. To achieve this, just raise your hand where we have the prize for the dog (feed ball or toy).
When the dog looks us in the face and is focused in what we say, we can say: "sit down". Once the dog complies with the order, we offer his deserved prize to the dog, with verbal congratulations and caresses.
4. Repeat the order sit down but without bored the can
It is advisable to repeat the training exercise of the order "sit" throughout the day but without insisting too much, to avoid overwhelming the dog. "You have to remember the order so that the dog feels four more times for one or two minutes, that is enough," Bat explains.
Playing with the dog is an appropriate way to take advantage of the moments of relaxation with the dog so that he learns to abide by rules and orders, such as "sit", in a playful way.
5. Remember the order in different scenarios
It is convenient to repeat the order "sit" in different circumstances and scenarios in which it may be needed, such as at lunchtime.
The time of the meal, especially if there are several dogs at home, can be the trigger of nerves and fights. The order sit down is effective in getting the dog to remain still and sitting while the food arrives.
The order "sit down", repeated before meals, get the dog to learn to control himself.
Other scenario in which you have to apply the order to sit with the dog is on the curbs of the sidewalk, before crossing the road.
"In this way the dog is taught the importance of not crossing the road when cars pass and dangerous situations are avoided," explains the dog educator.
The importance of dog education for living together
Dog education must be global, and not just focus on executing one or two orders. The dog must be socialized and behave properly, both inside and outside the home,
For the canine educator Miguel Velasco "It is no use teaching the dog to sit if he later has behavioral problems when he goes out because he doesn't know how to interact with other dogs, or he's scared. "
Most of the owners who request the services of canine educators go with dogs that have never been set any norms.
This is the case of the consultation of the canine educator Helena Bat, where 90% of the dogs it serves (five a month) have never received orders or guidelines of behavior,
Clicker, a method to teach skills
The clicker takes its name from a metal band located inside, which emits a click when pressed. A system as rudimentary as that. However, this contraption has meant a revolution in the world of dog training. His supporters claim that it is an effective method - and fast - for the can learn skills: from sitting down or kicking, to doing a pirouette.
For proper use of the clicker, the dog needs to associate its sound with a positive stimulus
Of the success of this simple instrument in the world of canine education, Julie Penders knows a lot, in whose shop specialized in training gadgets (MirandaOla dog center, in Navarra), sales of clicker have steadily increased In the last five years. The demand is such that this year they have increased the variety of models to exceed ten. They are of different colors or that allow modulating the sound they emit, and even, some take care (much) of their aesthetic appearance.
Despite the rise of such gadgets among dog owners, Penders warns that press the clicker it is not always enough to achieve the desired behavior. "It takes patience, that the animal associates its sound with a positive stimulus - in this case, food - and training or professional advice," says this specialist.
How the clicker works with the dog
The classic lot to start in this training with the dog includes the clicker (from about four euros) and a bag to store the edible prizes that are distributed to achieve the desired response. It should also be done with a book of initiation to the technique or, better yet, have the advice of a trainer. But the most important thing to succeed is to see it, in any case, as a "game by the dog," says Penders.
The clicker mechanism is based on learning through stimuli with which Pavlov experienced
The success of clicker He is an old acquaintance. Its operation is based on the same positive learning process with which Iván Pávlov experienced a century ago. This Russian scientist discovered that his dogs salivated when he rang a bell, since they related it to the moment of eating.
"The clicker it's a classic Pavlovian association, "says Penders. Now the bell has been replaced by a click, but just like Pávlov's dogs did, trained dogs associate this sound with a positive stimulus. Therefore, this contraption" allows teach the dog everything he would do to achieve food, "adds this dog educator.
Stages of training with the clicker
The training goes through four learning stages. In the first, to the sound of clicker It is accompanied by an edible prize ("always in that order, first click and then prize", warns Penders). In the second, the device is used without food. In the third phase, both the gadget and the prize are dispensed with. And in the fourth stage, "only from time to time, you have to use the clicker, with or without food, to reinforce learning and prevent it from being forgotten. "
The device works better to teach skills than to correct negative behaviors
Ricardo Antón, canine trainer and author of the blog Educating my dog, affirms that the clicker is "a useful tool to teach the dog new skills". In his opinion, it is more efficient for specific training than for basic obedience teachings, "as in the case of assistance dogs, who must learn to open a door or pick up objects from the ground." According to this educator, the clicker It is not so useful to get the dog to stop pulling the belt or come to our call, among other things.
Once the dog has learned the action, explains Anton (in the image above, along with his dog Biotz), "you must enter different associated commands", such as "catch", "open" or "light", which little to little replace the click. The idea is that the need to use the device disappears, gradually, "until the dog performs the action learned only with the associated command," he adds.
For Anton, the clicker It has, however, a great advantage over other methods: "It is very precise, as it allows us to reward just the behavior we want". This accuracy makes it easy for our friend to learn quickly and explains the success of this method. "It is normal for dogs to understand it very quickly," says canine ethologist Davinia González, author of the positive Canine Education blog.
Disadvantages in using the clicker with the dog
In spite of its great acceptance, not everything is positive regarding learning at the click of a click. A restless and anxious puppy by nature can get excited in an excessive way before the sound and its subsequent prize. "It happens that, because of the nerves, the child can lose the learned behavior," describes Gonzalez, who in these cases prefers to replace the manual contraption with his own voice.
The lack of experience, or not having the support of a trainer, is another reason for failure. "The problem of clicker is that its use seems simple, which explains why it is so common. But, Like any instrument, if you don't know how to use it, it can have negative consequences"Antón warns. One of the classic mistakes is to transmit" negative or angry feelings "to the pet, says the educator, which hinders learning.
In other cases, the dog may not be attracted to the prize we offer and another motivation must be found. "It can be a ball or other behavior that the dog likes" and that, once detected, "will be used to work with the dog."
Also, at the click of a button, you don't get anything from an animal. Although canine educator Julie Penders recognizes herself "very much in favor" of training with this device, she also admits that It has some "limitations"." It does not work to train hunting dogs nor to eliminate aggressive behavior", he says. For Penders, the key lies in how attractive the dog is to the behavior that is intended to be achieved or corrected." If the stimulus of behavior we intend to change is greater than the reward of food and click, there will be no nothing to do, "he concludes.
The clicker, from Pavlov to Karen Pryor
The dog (like people) salivates when he expects to receive food after a stimulus, in this case, a sound. Russian scientist Iván Pávlov proved it a century ago. And for this he used a bell. Thus was born the classical conditioning theory or conditioned reflex. The same neuronal mechanism that is triggered after pressing the clicker. The dog listens to its sound, saliva and awaits its edible prize.
Although different psychologists and ethologists experimented with the clicker or similar devices in the mid-twentieth century (including Breland Bailey and Skinner), the gadget did not begin to spread until the American biologist Karen Pryor (New York, 1932) popularized it. Your book, 'Introduction to clicker training' (Author-Editor, 2000) is considered the basic manual essential for anyone who wants to enter the world of dog training at the click of a button. To deepen, specialists recommend continuing with 'Don't kill him. teach him!', also from Pryor, with about 11,000 copies sold only in Spain (KNS editions, 2006).
1. The soft mouth game
The dogs must learn that a bite of theirs can hurt, something important when there are children nearby. The next exercise called "soft mouth" educates the dog so that it does not bite and can be practiced with the animal since it meets the three months. This game pursues that the puppy understands that he cannot clench his jaw tightly Because it hurts.
"To get the dog to understand that his bite hurts, you have to let it bite our hand, but only up to the level of pressure we want. When you reach that bite, you have to give a little shout, "explains Davinia González, dog educator. The signal can be a "oh, oh" mild, never scream. This voice will be the sign so that the puppy does not exert more force. Once the child stops his bite, you have to reward him with an edible reward, such as tasty homemade cookies.
The bite pressure allowed for the puppy should be gradually reduced until the dog learns to play "with a soft mouth."
2. The "leave" and "loose" guidelines
A dog or puppy that bites should learn the "leave" and "loose" guidelines, which they will help you release the bitten objects in your mouth.
To teach him to release them, and not to bite, you can use his favorite toy. First let the little one grab it with his mouth. Y How to get him to release it? You have to invite him to release him with the help of a prize that is more attractive than biting his fetish toy. An edible reward, caresses and other games will be enough stimuli for the puppy.
A instrument that is very useful To learn these simple guidelines, but stimulating for your intelligence, is the clicker to educate the dog. The sound emitted by this canine education device will be the signal that marks the offspring that, if you obey, will get a good reward.
3. Toys so that the dog does not bite
The puppies, in addition, they bite from discomfort with teething. And in the market there are toys for it. So the dog can focus his desire to bite on these objects, when he needs to relieve the pain of his mouth.
The toys or objects that you can bite should be clear. It is a mistake to offer you an old shoe or a sock that is not used, since he will assimilate that these are his toys and, when he is an adult, he will take them to nibble on them. It is difficult to correct an animal that has been allowed certain behaviors since childhood. Therefore, we must set some basic rules since arriving home.
4. Do not play with your hands
Letting the puppy nibble on the hands of his human partner is a mistake Often to avoid, if you want to get the dog to learn not to bite. Further, the tug-of-war games don't help either. In these games a person pulls on one side of a rope and the animal on the other end.
Experts warn, however, that these games stimulate the puppy's biting behavior. With this type of activity, you enter the field of competition and when the dog wins, it reinforces its behavior and will even growl as soon as it gets the opposite.
5. And so you don't bite when you're home alone?
The dog needs to learn to face the absence of his humans during certain hours of the day. Separation anxiety explains many cases of destruction at home and dogs that bite furniture for pure stress. And it is that a dog can translate his rejection into loneliness with stripes at home.
Therefore, a puppy that has walked and performed physical activity (games and walks) You will be more relaxed before being alone. In addition, you must leave it provided with food and water enough as well as accompanied by their nibbling toys, to be entertained during the absence of their humans.
On the other hand, dogs that share housing with other animals, dogs or cats, they feel more accompanied and spend more time in playing with their partner than in biting what they should not.
Why do dogs bite?
The infant stage of any species is important in learning behaviors. When he is a puppy, the dog learns to relate to the world. It is important that it happens his first stage with his mother and siblings, since the behavior he will learn will be fundamental in his later life. A balanced mother provides the puppy with the keys to learning social norms and their integration into the group in a natural way. It is very interesting to observe a mother with her puppies and act in a similar way.
For example, a mother will not allow a puppy to take away its food. Instead, it will never stop you from exploring. Thus, it is important that you do not let him steal your food, but if you play, throw away your mobile and break it, it is unnatural to punish him because he will not understand it. If the puppy gets exceeds in your exploration, the mother takes him by the neck and takes it to a safe place. It is what you should do. Have your things in a safe place and when your puppy is not in the right place, take it as your mother would do and take it to another place.
Puppies need to nibble on objects to develop teeth and gums. Thus, as they develop, they learn to bite. When they are in a pack, it is adults who teach them not to do so, rebuking them. You must do the same. Now you are the leader of his pack and you must teach him what he should and should not do.
It is important that you provide your puppy with an object so that nibble and satisfy your need. Make sure it is a suitable toy for him, does not contain toxic products and is of adequate size to prevent drowning. Every time you bite something else, say NO firmly, take away what you are biting and give her toy. You will have to repeat the process several times, until you learn it.
As well you can use a growl, as would another adult dog. Your puppy will understand the message quickly. Don't yell at him, because he will interpret it as barking of anxiety and you will make the problem worse.
If you watch dogs when they play, when one is thrown over another, it emits short howls. The dog understands that its action is painful and slows. So, if you bite your hand, you can emit several short howls. The puppy will pay attention and will stop the bite. Then give her teether object and reward. You must learn what that object is and not something else to nibble on.
Speaking to them in their language is a good way to establish effective communication. Therefore, although at first it may seem strange, you will see that Short grunts and howls are very suitable for the dog to brake when you are performing an incorrect action or that can be painful.
In case you don't stop biting, stop the game and hold it firmly by the chest, without harming it. You can too grab the puppy by the back of the neck. It's what your mother does when she teaches you that a behavior is inappropriate. Immobilize him a few seconds, saying "no" in a low voice. When the puppy relaxes, release it.
Remember that the learning process takes time. Little by little, you will observe that your dog begins to understand the orders and signals. Always reward your good behavior with sweets or caresses and affection. If you are constant, your puppy will learn quickly.
Teach your children to interact with your dog
It is important that you teach your children how dogs communicate so they understand each other, and benefit from your company as some studies show. What is it what bothers them or bothers them and when they want you to leave them alone. Do not panic when a dog comes running to them, since the dog consider a dam and run after them, and that they know how to react properly.
Likewise, don't leave your dog alone with children, more if they are unknown, because every dog is likely to bite at some point, although there are some races very suitable for children. Learn what behaviors are normal in the dog and what behavior problems you should solve (you can learn to train your dog with a book of these)
How to eliminate a dog's aggressiveness
The aggressiveness of a dog can be due to different causes and it is important to establish them before acting, since the way to treat the problem is different.
The aggressiveness between two male dogs usually obey hierarchy rules. You must see which is the dominant male and give access to resources, including your petting, to that animal, to offer it to the second most submissive. Thus, you will help establish the hierarchy. If they fight, you should have sufficient authority to prevent it. Leave the dogs separated during your absence.
In the case of two femalesThis aggressiveness is also due to hierarchy issues, although the behavior is different from that of the males, and may even appear docile in your presence. Keep them apart in your absence.
Aggressiveness towards people It is also a consequence of the hierarchical relationships established in your society. In the case of being aggressive with a family member, it is because he is gaining hierarchy in front of him. Dogs always try to access positions and from time to time you have to show them that they are below. If the problem is consolidated, it will be much more difficult to remedy it.
It is important that the affected person initiate actions that show their dominance. For example,:
- Obedience Training. It is good that to demonstrate your superior> Conclusions
All puppies bite
We will start by making it clear that all puppies bite and this it's something normal and understandable. Puppies use their mouth to "explore" the world. When they frolic with other dogs or with their littermates, they play to nibble and entertain them "tear and tear apart" everything they consider a toy.
It is important that puppies bite, so we can teach them more easily to control the strength of your bites. But we must distinguish between a puppy nibble, playing and even trying to get your attention, of anibble"potentially dangerous".
There is even a scale of the level of severity of the bite, depending on the injuries caused.
"To puppies, we must not forbid them to bite,
but we must teach them, progressively,
to decrease the strength of their bites ”
Prevention as a remedy
As in almost all behavior problems, Prevention is the best remedy. Starting from this idea, we will expose a few tips to avoid possible conflicts with your puppy.
The first thing we will do is teachEncourage our dog not to hurt us when he plays nibblingor. When the dog stops being a puppy and continues to bite hard, we can use the same exercises that we will explain below for the little ones.
Although, if you believe in young and adult dogs, the Causes of bites are not based on the game, the best thing you can do is seek the help and guidance of an ethocanine logo.
Biting Puppy Exercises
This is an exercise that you can easily do with your dog to educate him and prevent him from biting you.
- Take a small amount of feed in your hand.
- Offer her a little ball, between her fingers, without releasing it.
- If when you try to catch it, it bites you, do not give it to it, say “ay” and wait, your puppy will have removed the snout, say “very well”.
- He offers another feed ball again, if he takes it carefully, without biting you, give it to him.
- In case I bite you again, repeat the exercise from the beginning.
You can apply one variant of this exercise when playing with your puppy:
- Every time you play with your puppy and it bites you hard, say "oh" and stop the game.
- Ask him to sit down before continuing to play.
- If it bites you again, do the same.
- If you continue to bite for the third time, say “oh,” stop playing with him and leave the game room.
With these simple exercises, our puppy You will learn that if you eat too much food or play, you bite too hard, you will lose the opportunity to do things you like and therefore try to eat or play more moderately.
Adult dogs, puppy teachers
The adult dogs alsoen ensethey breed the puppies when their bites are too strong, if they go rough, they stop playing with them. Is important that your puppy play freely with other dogs, As soon as you have the full vaccination, take it often to the street and look for a group of "educated" dogs with whom you can play and learn.
Don't hit your dog for biting you
If you hit him, do you think he will learn that he should not bite you? Nothing of that. You probably understand that your hands are dangerous, that you can harm him and, therefore, tryto defend himself and he will bite harder yet.
It's more, you shouldn't hit your dog when it growls. Think the growl It is a form of communication. With this gesture, he tells us clearly that something is not going well. Thus, If the dog suppresses this "warning", it is possible that the next time he feels threatened, he will bite you directly, without notifying you in advance.
How do dogs learn?
It is essential that we have clear two ways of learning of the dogs:
By association: the dog understands that something is safe or insecure.
As a consequence: the dog understands that something works or doesn't work To get what you want.
With this, we must understand that the world is for dogs safe or dangerous, that it works or does not work. The dogs they don't understand the meaning of right or wrong, or good or bad.
Dogs they don't do things that bother us to get revenge of us for leaving them alone, for scolding them or because they believe they are dominant. They only do what is safe for them or what works for them.. As simple as that.
Positive dog education
To ensure that our dogs do not bite or cause damage, and have proper behavior, the key is in positive dog education. These are some of the fundamentals of positive education:
- Habituate the dog to accept with pleasure our indications.
- Teach him, by associating with food, that our hands and our movements are safe and you don't have to be scared.
- Give them clear guidelines and rules for family living.
- We will take into account the nature of the animal, we will read its body language and its signs of calm.
- We will try to keep your stress level to a minimum.
Thus, we will prevent our dog from becoming aggressive or learning to bite to solve conflicts. You see that, approaching canine language and applying simple rules, bites will no longer be your hairy's preferred strategy.
Happy, fun and, of course, safe games, with your faithful friend!