Wow! Today, I want to cover a super important topic to me right now, bite inhibition. This is something I’m going through with Luna at the moment.
But first, the Luna update!
Luna is growing and is a bit less clumsy this week. She’s had her first bath here and her puppy bumps are going away. Luna is also eating solid food and has been switched over to a quality puppy kibble from Purina Puppy Chow, which is crap. Luna plays with Copper at full speed and their play styles are similar, minus Copper’s herding abilities.
Here are this week’s pics:
Pardon the “Mo chunks” on the floor. He is shedding and there are now boxes in front of my vacuum cleaner. Notice Smudge is watching over Luna, yet still out of the way of those rambunctious puppy paws!
Size comparison with Copper. He is knee high and 45 lbs or so.
(Copper just bowls her over when she gets out of hand)
Now that you’ve had your weekly dose of puppy cuteness, let’s get down to business!
Bite Inhibition is an important skill for every pup to learn. It teaches them how to control the power of their jaws so they don’t hurt anyone or anything. Without this important skill, any potential offense created by a child to the dog can result in a powerful bite. Puppy must learn to control and restrain the power of her teeth on skin. Merely teaching Puppy to keep her teeth off human skin isn’t good enough, because she’ll miss out on this very crucial lesson. Bite inhibition is the first step to bite prevention. Every puppy, everywhere should learn this.
Puppies begin learning bite inhibition usually before they ever leave the litter. The mother and siblings play an important role in teaching Puppy how much is too much when biting. This is one reason why it’s so important for Puppy to stay with her litter and mother until she’s at least 8 weeks old. So much is taught about behavior and social interaction during this time. Ideally, Puppy won’t come home with you until 10-12 weeks of age. However, that’s not always the case or always possible. (For instance, Luna’s mom quit nursing and dried up when Luna was 3 weeks old and she has a lower than average frustration tolerance as she didn’t have to compete for food, she was bottle fed all she wanted, whenever she wanted- we’re working on that).
So, here’s how we’re going to tackle this issue. Every time Puppy puts her teeth on your skin with any pressure, I want you to yelp out an “OUCH!” and quit playing with Puppy for a couple seconds. This *should* cause Puppy to be startled, stop and look at you. Go ahead and resume play. If Puppy starts “sharking” (biting) again, stand up and walk away. End play. Right. Now! Wait a few minutes and try again. If Puppy bites again, end play for several minutes, give Puppy a bit of a rest and try again later.
The average puppy will learn to not shark sooner rather than later. However, if you have a pup like Luna, it will take longer. Also, never leave your pup in an area that is not puppy proofed. If necessary, put her in a crate when you end play time.
Once Puppy has learned to not put any pressure in her jaws when her teeth are on People skin, we can move on to teaching Puppy to keep her mouth off of you, which is another lesson for later.
Luckily, the major shark phase doesn’t last as long as teething and Puppy will be over the worst of her chewing offenses in a few months. In the mean time, remember to yelp “Ouch!” and end play for any biting behavior with any pressure to it and hold your temper. Puppy doesn’t mean to hurt you. It’s up to you to teach her better.
P.S. This also works with any age dog!