Sunday, August 30, 2009

5 Ways to Stop a Dog Biting

By Michael Marsden

If your dog won’t stop biting, it can be much more than a frustrating habit. A biting dog can become a huge problem and a liability. If your dog is still a puppy, you know that part of a puppy’s nature is to nip during play. Although puppies may nip and bite gently during play, you must train him not to do so, to avoid potentially larger issues when the dog is full grown. A grown dog that has not been trained to stop biting will likely use its mouth during rough play and end up hurting someone.

So, how to you stop your dog from biting? There are different techniques that you can use to train your puppy to stop biting. You can also use these techniques on your adult dog. Here are five effective ways to stop a dog from biting.

1 – Communication

Communication is a key element in learning for dogs just as it is with humans. When it comes time to train your dog to stop biting, communicate to your dog in its own language. Dogs understand more tone of voice rather than the meaning of the words you say. When the dog bites during play, instead of using a shout or angry voice, try yelping. The yelping is understood as a painful response and will encourage your dog to refrain from biting.

When you communicate to your dog using the yelp, a high-pitched “ouch” will do the trick. When you use this technique, be sure to stop all play immediately and turn your back on the dog. Tone and body language are important to a dog. The dog will eventually come around to you and when he does, reprimand him in a firm tone with a command such as “bad dog” or “no bite” and he will quickly get the idea.

2 – Divert Attention

Another way to stop your dog from biting is to divert his attention from biting you to something that he can chew on, like a toy. By replacing your flesh with a chew toy each time the dog turns to inappropriate biting, he will get the idea that your limbs are not meant for biting. Remember to quickly provide the chew toy if your dog resorts to biting during play again to reinforce the habit.

3 – Positive Reinforcement

A sneaky yet effective way of training your dog to stop biting is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a training technique that rewards good behavior with something positive. An example of positive reinforcement with a biting dog is to give him wonderful praise during play when he does not bite. The praise could be a pat on the head, a belly rub, a treat, or extra attention. Positive reinforcement is a great way to show your dog the type of behavior that you prefer.

4 – Tap the Nose

If your dog begins to bite or nip, quickly tell him to sit. Once he is seated, take your index finger, hold it in front of his nose, and then tap him on the nose as you say “bad dog” in a stern voice. Just remember, the tap itself is not the punishment, so it should not be particularly strong. It is just meant as a startling element to encourage him to stop the bad behavior. Don’t scream; just use a stern tone, which he will understand. Eventually, your dog will come to understand the raising of an index finger as an indication to stop a behavior.

5 – Avoid Biting and Nipping Games

A good way to stop a dog from biting is to avoid biting and nipping games in the first place. If you don’t encourage these types of games from the get-go, the dog will not be prone to biting and nipping at inopportune times. For example, a chasing game, while it may be exciting and provide plenty of exercise, will likely encourage your dog that you are prey. This is where his nipping and biting instincts will kick in.

Tug-of-War is a game that should also be avoided when playing with your dog. It will encourage him to think that humans are his equal and may promote biting as well. He won’t mean any harm with the biting, but he will want to win, so he will likely nip at your hands to make you lose grip on the toy. Replace Tug-of-War with fetch and retrieval games, and teach him the “drop and release” commands so that your authority is never questioned.

In Conclusion

Biting during play can quickly evolve into a serious problem, which is why consistency is a key way to stop this from happening. It is important that you stop the biting behavior as soon as it starts, and discipline for the bad behavior while reinforcing the good. Remember, dogs do not understand the meaning of “sometimes” so be sure to consistently train the dog until he knows that biting is never allowed.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Importance of Pet Toys

By Joseph Devine

Although you may give your pets toys because you just like to watch them play, providing your cats and dogs with toys is actually very important. Playing with a fun toy can provide your animal with both physical and mental exercise, and both of these are key to maintaining good overall health in your cat or dog. This article will provide an overview of cat and dog toys as well as show why this type of entertainment is a key component of your pet's well-being.

Perhaps you only see your cat when you feed him, because otherwise he's hiding underneath your bed. However, providing your kitty with a toy can help him come out of his shell a little bit and want to play. A device that you can use to get your cat's attention, such as a string with feathers on the end, may help her interact more with you as well, promoting a stronger bond between you and your pet.

Cats also tend to get bored at home alone. You might realize this when you see tufts of carpet pulled up or eaten while your kitty was playing while you were gone. Giving your cat a toy can provide a beneficial alternative that may distract your cat from eating carpet-saving both her stomach and your flooring. Also, kitty towers give your animal a place to scratch on, rather than destroying your possessions. Noisy toys that can move without your help, such as balls that roll around, can entertain your furry friend without you having to be there.

You might have heard someone complain about a puppy chewing up their entire house: the wiring for the internet or phone line, the siding or the moulding, the sofas or table legs. Sure, a puppy requires a ton of attention and time to train it into a well-mannered dog, but you can help it stay happy and entertained by providing it with toys other than your furniture.

Yes, it might annoy you to no end, but giving your dog a squeaky toy can make it so happy that it ceases its destruction of your loveseat. The squeak can give your dog mental stimulation, and it makes the pet feel like it is in control because it is the one causing the squeaking. It is easy for dogs to get bored at home alone, so you want to give them safe, fun alternatives to chew on.

If you have a retriever, you may want to invest some of your time and money in teaching your dog to fetch properly. Some dogs love frisbees, while others tend to gravitate towards tennis balls. If your companion is rough on his toys and goes through them fairly quickly, you may want to think about getting retrieval dummies used by actual dog trainers. They are usually thicker and able to withstand more playing time than a simple squeaky newspaper.

Of course, you probably can't be with your furry friend 24/7. However, giving them toys can provide mental stimulation as well as physical exercise as the pet chases its toy around. Another great way to make your pet happy is to give it delicious, 100% natural pet food. A wonderful source of this beneficial food can be found at Flint River Ranch today.

Joseph Devine

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