My American bulldog is 8 weeks old. How can I get him to stop biting when he plays? I would rather do positive reinforcement than negative. Any suggestions?
By miahenderson from IN
They all like to do that. Sometimes we play a little too rough and crazy with them and then they get too excited. Some of them are just wired to jump up and bite at your face, hands and ankles, without any extra stimulation. It is a way the pup learned to play with its litter mates. If it was taken before 11 weeks it probably will do this quite often if not all the time. Nothing drastic needs to be done.
Here is the scenario: The pup bites and possibly pricks your skin with its teeth: Say, "Ouch!" in a loud and shocked like voice. This mimics its momma's response to rough play. At this point give the pup a toy and gently place it where the pup will most likely take it. When he does, praise him or her SOFTLY. Don't get all wild and play so crazy that he gets back in the mood to play rough too. When nothing else works, lift him gently off the floor and look at him and say in a firm and slow voice "nooo." Make eye contact until the pup looks away.
When the pup calms down, then start playing softly. Only let the toys be out when you are playing with the pup. (06/17/2009)
By Robyn Fed
Biting is a natural form of playing for dogs and cats alike. You are smart to try and curb it at this age rather than later, though. Here's what I have always done with all my dogs and cats and it's never failed me in all the 50+ yrs I've had them.
Any time they bite me, I don't jerk my hand (or whatever) away. I leave it in their mouth and in a firm tone of voice say "Don't bite!" and lightly tap the dog's nose. Not hard, just a light tap. I do this over and over till he releases, then I love the heck out of him.
It doesn't take long using this method, and also there's no "abuse" to it. The light tap on the nose helps to re-enforce that you mean business. But they don't need to feel physical pain to learn that. Just enough of a tap so that they know what you are talking about when you say "Don't bite!" Tap as if you were spanking a canary. That lightly.
Like I said, it's always worked with every dog I've ever had, and believe me I've had lots! Good luck! (06/17/2009)
This is normal play for them, just don't use your hand when playing. I use a stuffed animal or sock with rags in it. If you do this, they won't bite you, only the object. As they grow older they will get the toy to play with you. This works even with a pit bull dog. How you raise them is how they will play. It works. I have three dogs; one hyper, one very laid back, and one who might lick you to death. That is the older pit bull, she has known nothing but love and will go and get the sock to play with you or the other dogs. If puppy bites on you, just take the sock and play with it. It works. The puppy will turn loose of your hand and go for the sock. (06/19/2009)
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