Ask the Trainer: Help! My Dog Tries to Bite People - The Dogington Post
Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: Help! My Dog Tries to Bite People

Dear Kevin,
Browinie is a Yorkie – and he bites people! What is a good way to train him not to without making him afraid of being around people?
-Brenda

 

Hey Brenda,

This is kind of a tough one to answer due to lack of information but I am going to generalize to try to give you the best answer that I can. If Brownie is biting people it is either because he is afraid of them, or just doesn’t like them. Regardless of the reason never punish him for it. The reason is because punishing him isn’t going to make him unafraid of people, or help him to like them.

The best answer I can give you is that he needs to get a lot of good things from a lot of different people. Without knowing the severity of this issue and many details, it could be a good idea to contact a local trainer or behaviorist for help with this. What we need to do is reassure him that people are good. Lots of repetition needs to happen of him meeting people and receiving good things from them.

In the beginning have the people toss him things that he likes. It can be food or a toy. Make it extremely high value e.g. string cheese, hot dog or turkey. Make sure that everyone stays at a safe distance. The idea with this is that he stays comfortable and they stay safe. If people invade his space it can make him uncomfortable which is what you want to avoid, and they could potentially be on the receiving end of a bite.

After a lot of repetition when he is finally feeling more comfortable around people, you can start to add in some hand targeting. Put the reward in-between your fingers and present it to him with your palm facing him. Tell him to “touch.” Switch hands so he gets repetition “touching” both. After a few repetitions with having the reward in-between your fingers remove it and just do it with an empty hand. If done properly he will touch your hand with his nose. Incorporate this with the other people and what you can have is a dog that touches people, instead of biting them.

This process will take time, but this is how you can actually modify the behavior and change the way Brownie feels about people. Once again I highly recommend hiring a trainer or behaviorist to help with this depending on the severity of the issue.

Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

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