What keeps dogs from talking to us
Mouthing can look a lot like biting, except that it's not meant to hurt. Instead, the mouthfeel is more of a grasping and chewing behavior than when Doggie snaps his mouth at fingers, arms, or clothing - but not so much his teeth. Mouthing starts out as a game but can develop into destructive behavior as Doggie gets older. Hence, it is important that you stop it as soon as possible.
Tip # 1 - Buy Doggie some soft chew toys. When he's young - 6 months or less - he could have teething problems. Just like for a human baby, teething is bothersome and painful, so dogs will try to chew things to relieve the anger. Soft chew toys feel great on the gums and encourage the pup to bite anything other than their fingers and toes.
Tip # 2 - Create a distraction rather than punishing the behavior. When Doggie starts mouting, remove your hand - or your feet or clothes - from his mouth and offer a chew instead. He will learn that he has better things to chew on and eventually focus on.
Tip # 3 - Let him know it hurts. If he tries to chew on your arm - no matter how gentle the bite is - say "Ouch!" or make a quick whimpering noise just like any other puppy would. This is how dogs learn by playing with playmates - the sound lets them know they've gone too far.
Tip # 4 - Give him the cold shoulder as soon as he bites. Once you've made some noise, go away and ignore it for a while. If the room the two of you are in has a ton of fun toys everywhere or another dog to play with, move him to another room or put him in his crate. A break of just a few minutes can be enough to send the message that biting is not wanted.
By Tammy Dray
Animal Humane Society: Managing Mouthing and Chewing in Young DogsDog Training Central: How to Stop a Puppy From BitingVeterinarian Street: How do I keep my dog from polluting people?
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