Biting or to be more accurate, mouthing is a normal play behavior that will be exhibited by just about every new puppy we take into our home. This is not a dominance or alpha issue, as some people would have you believe. Dogs and puppies like to play rough, this is something that gives them great joy and happiness.
I know everything you’ve ever read or have been told, has said that this is a dominance issue, and that if you don’t learn to teach your new puppy to stop that behavior, your asking for big trouble down the road. I will tell you right now that any person , dog trainer or behaviorist that subscribes and teaches that inaccurate information is doing more harm than good for their dog training clients.
Mouthing is an important developmental stage in the mental well being of a dog. This is a dog, this is how they play, if you care about your animals happiness you will learn to encourage this play behavior in an acceptable way. Just like the puppies mommy, brothers and sisters would have.
How anybody in their right mind would teach and say, that ” playing rough with puppies or dogs, teaches them to be aggressive”. Just shows how little they actually know about canine behavior, and I would suggest they learn a little about the early stages of protection training for dogs.
I’ll just touch base for a second here, on one of the early training methods for instilling confidence in a young dog going through protection training. It has to do with tug of war which teaches the puppy how to stay on the bite.
Usually you start to play tug of war with a towel or any fabric that’s easy for the puppy to get a good hold off. You entice the puppy to begin playing by getting happy with the him, and hopefully the little guy grabs the towel and starts holding on, the tugs will come latter.
During this beginning stage of the protection training your instilling confidence in the young puppy. What that means is you let him win all the time during tug of war. The truly gifted protection trainers, and they are few and far between. Will know precisely when to let go before the puppy does. This builds confidence.
Conversely, if you play tug of war with your puppy and you win more times than you let him win. Now your teaching him that you are the more dominant animal. So you see contrary to popular dog training lore, playing tug of war does not make your dog aggressive.
And it’s just one of the best ways to play with your dog and build a solid bond with him.
THE SPIRIT DOG
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Filed under: About Dog Trainers, Breaking our bad teachings, Dog Training Myths, pets, dog behavior, The Mind Of a Dog Tagged: | building confidence, dog behavior, dog tug of war, dogs play fighting, play biting, playing rough, playing with your dog, protection dog training, puppy