Play Biting

Dogs play with their mouths.  That’s the first thing to remember.  From your dog’s point of view, chomping on your arm or giving a few good yanks to your pant leg may seem like the perfect way to get the playtime started! And often it works.  We almost always respond. So the first thing that has to change is our response to the bites, nips and tugs. Your dog has learned that biting you gets your attention.  This can be confusing because many of us have tried scolding or punishing the dog for the bites, yet they persist.  All this means is that your dog finds your response to be good for him.  Any attention is better than no attention.

Zero tolerance means ending all the fun with no warning every time your dog uses his mouth with humans in play.  Every Time!  If you are playing retrieve and your dog accidentally bites your hand instead of the toy – end the game and leave the room or yard.  If he chomps on your sleeve during a walk – end the game by stepping on the leash so that he’s instantly unable to jump and bite (but not pinned to the ground).

Playing rough with a dog who play bites is not okay.  Many dogs who play bite have learned to play rough with another human being.  Please instruct everyone who has interaction with your dog not to wrestle with, bat at, tease or otherwise rough house with him.

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