By Gary Walker
A dog’s teeth are an awe-inspiring set of weapons designed for ripping, tearing and crushing flesh and bone.
Luckily for us, dogs hardly ever attack humans. Dogs would quickly lose their favored position as ‘man’s best friend’, if that were not the case. But, it would be foolish to deny that dog attacks do happen. And when they do, the outcome is very often tragic for both the victim and the attacker.
As a dog guardian you are responsible for the safety of your dog and also for ensuring that your dog is not a threat to the public. So, if you have a dog that bites you need to address the behavior right away, even if your dog is only a puppy.
Why Dogs Bite
There are a number reasons for canine aggression, ranging from dominance to abuse.
The dog may bite if he is protecting his food or a favorite toy. Or he may snap to defend himself, for example, if he is being pestered by a child pulling his ears or tail. The dog may also be in pain as a result of an illness or injury.
Or the aggression may stem from a need to find his place in the pack hierarchy. The dog may growl, show his teeth and posture aggressively, and if he feels the need to press home his point, he may bite.
However, the most common cause of aggressive canine behavior is environmental. A dog that lives in poor conditions, is chained and treated harshly, and has little or no training and socialization, is always likely to bite.
How To Stop A Dog Biting
Biting problems often start in puppyhood. Many dog owners think a puppy that bites is being cute, but actually he is displaying dominance. Get the puppy to release by giving a gentle pinch to the back of the neck, then give him a chew toy to sink his teeth into instead.
As the pup reaches sexual maturity at about 14 months, he may make a bid for pack leadership – especially if he hasn’t been neutered, and hasn’t had obedience training and socialization.
it is vital that your dog accepts your position as pack leader. This can be achieved without harsh treatment. By controlling walks and feeding, providing training, socialization and grooming, by consistency, you will automatically achieve this in most cases.
It is also sensible to exercise care if you are uncertain of your dog’s temperament. Never for example leave an aggressive dog unsupervised around children. And always keep an aggressive dog on a leash, and preferably muzzled, when you are in a public place.
A dog that bites is a big challenge and may take considerable work to correct. If you feel unqualified to address the behavior I would urge you to consult a professional trainer, as one careless moment could have tragic consequences.