Since this is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, what would you say is the most common problem humans and dogs have when in contact with each other? Surprisingly it is receiving a nip or bite from the dog.
One thing each conscientious dog owner must remember is that YOU are legally responsible for the behavior of your dog. There have been numerous cases over the years where dog owners have had large judgments against them because of bites, and even have had the dog taken and put to sleep. So no matter how “sweet and gentle” your dog is, unless there are witnesses that can testify the dog was acting in self defense, chances are the court will decide in favor of the human involved in any biting incident. Fair? No, but this is a fact of life. As a matter of fact, the court may decide in favor of the human anyway, regardless of witnesses.
And don’t forget there are people, particularly children, who are terrified of ANY dog regardless of size, and sometimes their “fear response” can provoke the feared behavior. So prepare as best you can to head off any future problems by training your pup not to bite.
Stopping your dog’s biting and nipping of strangers and sometimes family members may require you do a few behavioral modification changes with the dog. Most of the time these nips and bites happen when playing with the dog while it’s a puppy, because this was common play behavior with other members of the litter.
This is perfectly normal behavior. But, it must be “unlearned”. It is still important to stop your dog’s biting and nipping so it does not escalate into a life threatening issue for other humans or your dog sometime in the future. Obviously this training won’t guarantee there won’t be an incident in the future, so you have to look at it as “an ounce of prevention”.
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