A biting puppy may seem innocent enough, but, if not brought under control, puppy nipping and biting can lead to a serious dog aggression problem in adult Weimaraners.
Puppy biting is a natural instinct, so if your puppy is nipping and licking, it’s not your fault. However, you will need to train your dog not to lick excessively and not to bite people, starting when your puppy is still little .
The good news is that you can easily learn why your puppy bites and how to get your biting puppy problem under control!
Biting is a natural defense in the wild. A wolf would just not survive if it did not learn to bite!
Dogs, of course, are close relatives of wolves. And your sweet little pet, in his early days and weeks, learned some of the “wild behaviors” of his ancestors—while “playing” with his mother and siblings.
Puppies learn who is dominant and who is submissive, by play fighting with their siblings. It is important that they establish a social order in their Pack.
How Did Your Puppy Get Started Biting?
Wolves and dogs establish their position within the pack, when they are very young. The dominant members of the pack are the biters. Submissive members let the others bite them!
When your puppy was 3-7 weeks old, he learned that there are certain acceptable ways of dominating the “pack”—which at this age, was his brothers and sisters.
The biting puppy who does the MOST biting, and the FIERCEST biting, will emerge as the leader of the Pack. Rough and tumble play events, eventually get rougher and rougher.
Later, after a pack leader has established his dominance, the pack leader won’t have to bite as much—a growl here and there will get everyone’s attention. And keep everyone in his place.
Biting in YOUR Pack
While biting activity for wild dogs is normal, it is absolutely not acceptable for your family pet. It puts your family, neighbors and friends at risk. Weimaraners are big dogs, and their adult bites can be pretty powerful!
In addition, your pet’s life may also be endangered if puppy biting turns into dog biting, because dogs who bite people are often euthanized.
It is important to understand that your puppy is NOT PLAYING when he nips or bites a family member. When he is mouthing your arm and hands, he does not consider this to be a game. He is vying for the position of leader in your family.
What Your Biting Puppy Thinks…
When your puppy bites or nips, she is testing a fellow pack member to see just how far she can push them. She is testing the water to see who is more dominant—you or her!
You see, while you think of your dog as a “family member”, he thinks of you as an “odd dog”, but still a member of his “pack”. And, he plays by pack rules. Individual members of a Pack must vie for the leadership position–by using force.
It is critical that you take control sooner than later–and show your biting puppy that YOU are the leader of your pack.
Your puppy must understand that biting the pack leader always results in a firm correction and that you are in charge—not your puppy!
Prevent Puppy Biting Behavior
Even though puppy biting is a natural behavior, we can teach our dogs that it is unacceptable.
In order to do this, we need to make sure that we are not encouraging—although innocently—the very biting puppy behavior that we are trying to stop!
- Don’t Rough House with Your Puppy – This is not a constructive way to use excess energy. For your dog, this is a CONTEST. Every contest is for leadership. And remember, the dog who bites the most, emerges as leader.
- Don’t Play Tug of War with your Puppy – Again, this is a contest for your dog, and it is very similar to the physical contests that a wolf faces in the wild, similar to tugging on a piece of meat. Your dog will not want to give in.
You may choose to quit, so that you don’t hurt your puppy. And you know that you could beat him. But, guess what? Your puppy now believes that he has won! He will feel that he can be dominant over you, and challenge you.
As time goes on, simple challenges can lead to jumping up on you, humping, ignoring commands, aggressive growling, dog biting, or even an attack on you or someone else.
- Do Not Give Your Puppy Family Clothing to Chew – Unfortunately this teaches your pup that it is OK to chew on clothing—whether it has a human occupant or not!
- Do Not Reward Any Kind of Oral Activity – This includes licking. Puppies are very oral fixated, and one little lick can lead to several. Several licks can lead to little nips and pretty soon your puppy is nipping away—at you!
You want to stop this puppy licking and puppy biting–while the activity is still fairly innocent. Do not reward your dog’s licking or nipping activity in any way. Don’t talk to your dog, pet him or even give him eye contact while he is engaging in this behavior.
If you teach your dog not to nip or bite when he is young, he will behave appropriately when he is grown, and he will know that a biting puppy is not using acceptable behavior in your pack!
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