When I got my puppy home, during the first few days itself I trained it to gently mouth my fingers and hands. Little did I realize at that time that this was one of biggest mistakes I was making!
If you think logically it makes sense- in our initial enthusiasm to bond with our pet we encourage it to mouth, chew and bite our hands. Over a period of time when the chewing becomes more frequent, we start telling them they are doing it too hard and eventually we teach them not to do it at all. I went to the extent of explaining to my pup that it was the worst thing it could possibly do to harm me…
Needless to say my puppy was totally confused.
It was only when I started dog training did I realize that there was a much easier way which worked best for my pup and me. . Here it is for those of you who are interested in knowing about it in detail…
• From the beginning encourage your dog to chew toys, things like piece of wood or anything else which you think is safe. In animal pet stores you can easily find chew toys which you must clean regularly and keep in a place which is easy for your pet to find
• Encourage your puppy not to chew your fingers and clothes from the beginning itself.
• Despite your trying if our pup mouths you, be calm and redirect it to
some thing else like a chewing toy
• If your pup continues to mouth you despite your best efforts to divert its attention, place it calmly on the floor and give a little yelp sound to indicate that its sharp teeth can hurt. Thereafter move away
• If this too doesn’t work take it calmly, quietly and place into timeout for a minute or so.
A few other things to bear in mind while training your pup not to bite or chew are
1. A pup is just like a child. When it is say 8 weeks old, it would be unreasonable to expect it to be implicitly obedient. You must excuse and give it a chance if it accidentally mouths you. Keep trying and talking to your pet about what and how he should chew bite etc all the time. When should you start enforcing no mouthing rule?- the time when you pup is around 5 months old you should aim to put a complete stop to mouthing.
2. Humans can show affection by use of hands. Puppies on the other hand make use of their mouth to display love and affection. So make sure that every time you call your puppy you have something in your hand to put in its mouth. If you don’t do this you can be sure that you are setting them up to fail. Yes always bear in mind the fact that puppies need something to mouth when they are being cuddled!
3. Finally when your puppy prefers to mouth you and ignores the chew toy, it is important to stay calm. Gently place it on the floor without screaming out any orders like “No!” “No Bite”. When you give orders of this kind your dog will get excited and in its enthusiasm to please you try harder at mouthing you!
Understanding my puppy took me some time. However when I look back I can confidently say it was the single most important fact that helped me develop an amazing relationship with my pet. It was only when I started seeing things through my pets eyes did I realize how my actions made it feel.
I took the help of Doggy Dan’s video website which had over 250 fantastic videos to help me understand my dog and see things from my puppy’s point of view. It helped me bring up my pup in a kind and gentle way that eventually lead to an amazing relationship over time. If you want to check out Doggy Dan’s site which includes a video and separate section on mouthing then it may be worthwhile for you to subscribe to the $1 (that’s right Dollar 1) , 3 day trial which is being offered presently.