Stopping dogs biting

dog bite likelihoodBefore we look at remedies to dogs bitting here are the major causes

  • Territorial behaviour (fighting over property or land)
  • FEAR (not socialised and finding everything scary)
  • Hidden pain (dogs don’t complain, but the bite)
  • Maternal instinct
  • Prey drive

While these are all common reasons I will look at the two major ones in off lead dog parks.

Assuming your dog is not pregnant and its not guarding a ball or treat or owner … the two most common causes I see are FEAR and prey drive.

DOG FEAR usually means a dog is not sufficiently socialised. They probably didn’t get being social at the critical 3-5 month window as a puppy, and their owners might have gotten them from a rescue place.

A dog that has not learned that all other dogs are not threats, that some dogs can be fun to play with will consider every moving thing as an object that can cause it pain. If it doesn’t run then it has to stand its ground and fight and bite.

This is a very bad problem for big dogs, but even small dogs an cause a nasty bite. You will need to discuss with a dog behaviourist or take lots of walks on lead in parks until your dog gets from you, that life is not scary. walk on muzzle if need be.

Dogs prey drive causing biting

While hunting dogs are most prone to this, every dog started life as a hunter. Dogs evolved from wolves and they hunt for a living. A pack walk is a way of socially re-enacting a hunt, in slow motion and making a pack stronger and dogs more confident.

The problem is when you have a dog breed with VERY STRONG prey instinct, left to their own devices they can easily bite another dog without thinking there is anything wrong.

You will see this with many hounds, and I have seen it with many lurchers and sight hounds like greyhounds. I am not against these breeds, I find them noble and fascinating, but a greyhound that has been blooded can be a difficult dog to convince the whole adrenalin thing of the high speed chase then bite and kill at the end is not a good thing in an urban environment.

In fact some councils will ban certain breeds such as retired greyhounds from being in parks off lead without muzzles – they find it easier than trusting owners to have sufficient training skills.

It is much easier to start such dogs in small backyards or enclosed dog parks with muzzles on and very tempting other dogs around, to see that a dog can listen to your commands and is comfortable with just playing or being with you or the pack and not wanting to kill (the whole reason it evolved). Not always an easy task to train out of a dog, but you can work your way up from this to walking on lead to walking off lead with muzzle and maybe one day off lead no muzzle and excellent recall.

Some dogs will have high prey drive and aggression that may have behaviourists suggest stun collars. These should only be used as last resort. take more time and cause less pain to you and your dog than going for a quick fix.