What is Bite Inhibition?

This is one of the most important aspects of socializing your dog.

Puppies spend a lot time biting and grabbing at each other.  It is how they "play" with their siblings. This is normal behavior, but also behavior that needs to be modified.

Bite inhibition begins with the nursing mother.  If the puppy bites her when nursing, the mother dog will stand up and walk away.  The same is true when a pup plays with it's siblings.  If he bites too hard, the sibling will yelp and stop playing.  He soon learns that biting too hard means an end to play time or food.

Bite inhibition involves teaching your puppy to consciously control the force of his biting ability.  Ideally this should be achieved by the age of three to four months of age.

The best way to approach teaching bite inhibition is to sit and play with your puppy.  If he gets too nippy during play, make a loud yelp and immediately stop the play.  Turn away from your puppy and ignore him.  You will need to do this repeatedly until he learns.  Your initial goal should be to reduce the force of his bite and then work towards reducing the frequency of biting.

You should never hit your puppy while teaching bite inhibition as his intent is play and not to do you harm.  Hitting him will only confuse him and he may become defensive and react by biting with intent to harm.

You must understand that most dogs will bite under certain circumstances. If a  child falls on your dog and startles or hurts him do not be surprised if he reacts by biting.  However if he is trained in bite inhibition, you should get a grab and release response without damage. If no training is in place, the result may be a hard bite with significant damage.


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