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Some people will say mouthing is different than nipping and nipping is different than biting and while I understand and agree with most of what they are saying the problem is that puppy teeth are going on human skin or clothing! Although it is normal for a puppy to explore its environment using its teeth and mouth, it is inappropriate for them to put their teeth on humans and they must be taught not to do this under any circumstances or for any reason, EVER! 95% of new puppy owners think this behavior is cute at first, and therefore they allow it to continue until it gets out of control to where the the puppy is biting hard or maybe even biting kids.
Each puppy is different some puppies will innocently mouth for months and never escalate to a bloodletting but some puppies realize very early on that their human not only tolerates but likes this behavior and things quickly escalate to harder and harder bites.
Figure out what type or reward or payoff your puppy is getting out of mouthing, nipping, or biting. Breed Tendencies - The type of breed of dog you have may be a reason why nipping and biting are causing a problem. Biting to Seek Attention - Finally, there are some dogs that nip to show that they are there. Nipping and biting can be aggressive or non-aggressive, and it can be hard to tell the difference. After housebreaking issues, nipping and mouthing are the behaviors new puppy owners most often complain about. Indeed, nipping and mouthing are natural, usually non-aggressive behaviors that dogs use to communicate during play and normal interaction with other pets and people. Everyone knows what nipping and biting looks like, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between nonaggressive and aggressive nipping and mouthing. Dogs can also learn bite inhibition from people: First, play with your dog, letting him or her nip and mouth your hands. We have been videotaping dog-dog play for more than 10 years and, together with our colleagues, have analyzed hundreds of hours of data to test hypotheses about play. In the field of animal behavior, researchers often refer to social play as “play fighting” because it includes many of the behaviors seen during real fights. Even though play fighting is very different from real fighting, people often feel the need to intervene. Our research shows that for many dogs, play fighting is the primary method used to negotiate new relationships and develop lasting friendships. First, when we talk about play fighting, we mean play between two dogs rather than play between many dogs (we will address multi-dog play in a future article).
Second, we are referring to play fighting that doesn’t involve toys, which can become the object of guarding and aggression. In fact, mouthing is a natural tendency in puppies as they lose their baby teeth and grow into adulthood.


In order to have a dog that is well mannered and welcome around people and other dogs, biting behavior must be curbed. They are giving out a signal to owners or other things that they are there and either pay attention or leave their surroundings. You can also use a reward system of a treat when they listen to you, showing them that they are doing well by not biting or nipping. Some dogs use their mouths out of fear or frustration, which can indicate a problem with aggression.
Time-outs are often effective for reducing nipping and mouthing in adolescent and adult dogs. Owners of dogs who might be nipping, mouthing, or biting as an aggressive behavior would do well to consult a qualified professional, such as a veterinarian, a certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB), or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (DACVB). For example, during play, one dog might chase and tackle another, or use a neck bite to force a partner to the ground. Anthropologist Gregory Bateson called play signals meta-communication, meaning communication about communication.
Meta-communication allows humans and dogs to pretend — that is, to perform actions that appear to be one thing but actually mean something completely different.
Sometimes it is obvious at the beginning of a bout that two dogs are playing, but once the dogs start growling or their arousal intensifies, observers may no longer be sure that the dogs are still playing.
Although play is fun, it also offers serious opportunities to communicate with another dog. Although multi-dog play can be fine, sometimes it involves ganging up, and then it’s time to intervene. If traumatized by other dogs early on (for example, in a poorly run puppy class), a puppy may grow into a dog who is fearful, defensive or even aggressive with other dogs. Dogs who play together a lot often develop play rituals, such as S afi and O sa’s mutual snarling, that may not be appropriate between dogs who don’t know each other well. However, adult dog teeth can cause a lot more damage to humans and other animals than puppy teeth.
Biting can cause serious injury to people or other dogs, and can lead to lawsuits and even the forced euthanasia of the offending dog. The dog’s reaction is to bite first to let the person or other animal know that this is their toy or space, and that touching or coming near them is not good. There are some dogs that may nip only as a warning to show it does not like the situation it is in.
Though most nippy, mouthy dogs are engaging in a non-aggressive form of the behavior, some take a decidedly aggressive approach to nipping and mouthing.


Playful dogs have a pliant, relaxed body posture, and their tails may be held low and wagging.
Some behaviorists and trainers believe that dogs who have learned bite inhibition are less likely to bite hard and break the skin if they bite someone due to fear or pain. Occasionally, a dog nips his or her playmate too hard, causing the victim to yelp and, usually, stop playing.
If your dog mouths you, stop moving and wait for him to react to the bad taste of the deterrent.
To people unfamiliar with the notion that some nonhuman animals have this ability, play that includes archetypal aggressive behaviors, like snarling and growling, can be quite confusing. After all, humans instinctively avoid a dog who is snarling or baring his teeth, and it is natural to think that our dogs should do the same. Finally, work with your dog until she reliably comes when you call her for a brief play pause. Your puppy will be happy to be playing and you will be able to reduce them from chewing on other things. However, despite the overlap in behaviors, some clear differences exist between play fighting and real fighting. Close attention to the context, however, can help us differentiate between play aggression and real aggression. When people interrupt really rowdy play, they assume that they are “playing it safe,” that is, doing no harm.
More recently, she has been studying social relationships among domestic dogs and is working on a book on this subject. When playing, dogs inhibit the force of their bites and sometimes voluntarily give their partner a competitive advantage (self-handicap) by, for example, rolling on their backs or letting themselves be caught during a chase — behaviors that would never happen during real fighting. Marc Bekoff, while at the University of Colorado, did a study1 showing that dogs are most likely to play bow just before or immediately after performing an especially assertive behavior, such as a bite accompanied by a head shake. As you continue to play, require your dog to become gentler: Yelp and stop play in response to increasingly softer nipping and mouthing until your dog uses little or no pressure with his or her mouth.



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