Our last article looked at the main reasons for dogs mouthing. Often it begins in puppy-hood but unless checked can continue into adult life when the teeth and jaw are too strong for dogs or humans to consider it fun anymore.
When fun dog biting comes from aggression.
They say (dog behaviour experts) that most dog biting in social dogs stems from fear. Its the main protection mechanism that a dog has on offer. It can bark, it can run away, but when forced to defend the mouth and teeth are the only resort.
Dogs with separation anxiety, dogs not walked enough, bored dogs, all of these dogs can be candidates for over puppy mouthing and leading to genuine bites.
When a dog is frustrated and has no release for its energy, it can get over excited and resort to more powerful puppy mouthing than it would in a relaxed state, If it doesn’t know what being social is because it is not regularly off lead playing it can also nip and bite. Many of these dogs kinds of biting can be resolved through various channels (discussed in the next blog). The thing you need to be mroe concerned about is biting from AGGRESSION.
Dog aggression and bites
Some breeds are more predisposed to using their mouth as a weapon, as an aggressive tool. Many of these are big powerful breeds but they can also be classes of dogs like hunting dogs bred to kill and main animals or guard and watch type dogs. For centuries these breeds have been selectively bred to show aggression. They have been fine tuned to have a large aggressive and dominant nature for the job humans have wanted. Would you expect anything different than potential aggression leading to bites form these breeds?
Then there are the dog breeds that are bred often illegally for illegal dog fights. These dogs are selected for innate aggression, for power, for large gaping jaws. I don’t need to spell specific breeds out here and get hate mail, but most people who pick up a paper or visit blogs will have an inkling.
HERE is the biggest trick of all for humans. if you buy a dog that has had an aggressive past or a breed often bred for doing aggressive things … don’t automatically expect them to be a pacifist. You will be working against their nature all of the time.
I will review techniques for reducing dog bites through play getting out of hand in the next article, but here is some sage advice. If you have a big powerful breed, a dog bred to kill and maul other animals and you think that keeping it at home, treating it with all the affection in the world will make a difference the OPPOSTITE IS TRUE.
Big powerful breeds need to be treated nicely but they need firm discipline as well. Positive reinforcement of course, but they need to know what is and isn’t acceptable, and training them to play tug of war or any game that increases excitement, using the jaws or aggression is plain stupid.
ALSO hiding your dog away in the house is the last thing y9ou should do. if your dog doesn’t learn to be social off lead, doesn’t play nicely with other dogs, you need to get it to that level or give it away. Because the first time it does escape, it will cause harm and you will be liable. It is calm in your home with the pack it trusts.
It doesn’t bite the people that feed it and protect it, or it protects. However if it doesn’t know how to be social, how to respect other dogs and humans, its just a lit fuse waiting to explode. The responsible thing is to regularly socialize ALL dogs or face the consequences.