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Dog Training To Prevent Bites & Attacks

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In accordance with the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, we want to talk about dog training and preventing biting incidents.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S. These bites range from a simple nip to serious injuries requiring emergency medical services.  In some extreme cases, these incidents lead to over a dozen deaths each year.  

In addition to protecting others, dog owners can help protect themselves, both physically and legally, by ensuring that their dog is properly trained.   Dog biting is not uncommon among most dogs. However,  an aggressive dog is most likely reacting out of fear or territorial dominance. In order to train dogs not to bite, owners must understand several things about their dog and their aggression. 

Determining the Cause

For some dogs, aggressive behavior begins as a part of rough play during puppyhood. According to animal behaviorists, bad behavior in adult dogs can originate in nibbling, nipping, and teething habits among littermates. Puppy biting can be taken care of by providing chew toys and enforcing time-outs outside or in a kennel when your puppy bites. This will help reinforce good behavior.

However, bad dog behavior may have more serious origins. It is important to rule out any outside factors, such as medical conditions or illnesses. If your dog was not a biter before but suddenly becomes aggressive when touched, it may be possible that there is an underlying injury or sensitivity that is causing the aggressive behavior. Lashing out due to pain is not uncommon, so make sure to take your dog to the vet for a checkup to rule out any possible medical issues that could be causing the aggressive activity.

If your dog’s body language is characterized by a submissive stance, tucking the tail, crouching, and lashing out to bite from an angle, then your dog is acting out due to fear. A dog that bites out of territorial aggression will most often hold a dominant stance, bark, and make eye contact.

For both cases of biting, this usually stems from a lack of socialization as a puppy. Puppies need to be exposed to a lot of different people at a young age in order to be adult dogs who trust in humans. This is especially important for breeds that are bred to be protective by nature. Giving puppies copious interactions with humans is the best preventative measure for biting out of fear and/or aggression. Lack of socialization can also occur in dogs who have been in shelters for long periods of time with limited human interaction, as well as in dogs who have been mistreated by previous owners.

Training Methods

Acclimate your dog to new people in your home. If your dog is older and is exhibiting aggression, it is best to consult a professional dog trainer, as this will ensure that the behavior is managed in the timeliest manner possible.

Establish Leadership

Making sure that your dog knows that you are in charge. This way, your dog views you as the dominant “pack leader