Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists
Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

The Urge to Bite


Canine puppies are born with a natural biting instinct. By nine weeks of age they race around the house carrying socks, shoes, or whatever they can grab. They pull plants from the garden, chew on hot tub covers, and use their teeth to play tag with their canine and human buddies. The canine mouth is a remarkable tool, and by directing its use, we can help our dogs to learn to use their mouthing instinct in appropriate ways.

Dogs need to be encouraged to focus on "approved" objects. A simple piece of rope can become an exciting toy for your dog. Wiggle the rope on the grass in front of your dog. Animate the rope, make it mimic the motions of a snake as it slithers away. Increase the play and challenge by moving the rope just as the dog lunges for it. When your dog grabs the rope, tug back gently. After a brief game of "Tug-of-War", release the rope. Your dog will prance around the yard with the rope toy in its mouth. Watch and enjoy as they hold their tail erect and their head high. In their minds they have vanquished their prey. In a short while they will return to you, so the game can be started again.

Try tying an old hand towel to a piece of cord. Make the rag exciting by whirling it slowly around. As you "fly" the rag more quickly, you mimic the motions of a bird. Allow the dog to lunge and miss a few times. Your dog's interest and excitement will build. When the dog grabs the rag, tug back gently before releasing.

After playing these short lunge and tug games with your dog, calmly encourage them to return the object so they can play again. When your dog returns to play with you, they are recognizing that you are the leader.

A good teacher makes learning fun and rewarding. Make your dog an eager learner by taking the time to play games with them. They will love you for it!

Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists