No dog lover wants to believe that their dog would ever bite, and luckily, most dogs will never find themselves in the position they feel the need to be. However, every dog, regardless of breed, has the ability to bite, as biting is an effective way to protect yourself. For bite prevention, educating dog lovers about what their dogs need to live successfully in a home setting and what their dogs’ body signals mean is important.
Choose a positive workout
Dog lovers are understandably stressed and anxious when their dogs show aggressive behavior. You can turn to trainers who can guarantee that the aggression will stop when aversive devices or techniques are used to suppress behavior through pain and fear. However, this approach has a high failure rate because suppressed behavior does not change behavior. Dogs can hold on to them while wearing these aversive collars, but when they are removed the dogs often return to “normal” behavior, relying on their standard bite behavior to protect themselves.
This is where positive training exudes because the techniques that positive trainers use change behavior by modifying the dog’s need for aggressive behavior. Through the use of management and positive training techniques, dogs can be given the skills they need to deal with different situations, which will help build their confidence.
Keep under the stress threshold
Note that there are no guarantees of behavior, in both the human and canine worlds. You may have a better idea of how your dog will react in a variety of environments or situations, but you cannot guarantee their reaction, just as you can never know how you will feel or react tomorrow.
Every behavior depends on the biological responses an organism has to different experiences. Positive trainers understand the dog’s experience. They employ techniques that work in the real world, knowing that all dogs can bite when under pressure.
Remember, dogs have a hard time concentrating and learning when they are too stressed out. This is because their “emotional” brain is taking control, which makes them much harder to teach.
It’s important to keep your dog below the threshold: the point at which a dog goes from a state of calm (where he can learn and process new input) to a state of arousal (where his emotions gain the upper hand and he is less able) process information). Keeping dogs below their stress level and teaching them how to deal with various situations is key to preventing bites.
Aggression is vital for both humans and dogs, but it is much safer for either species to practice avoidance and move away from a situation they perceive as threatening. Abusive behavior such as fighting is detrimental to survival because the risk of harm is so high that most dogs choose not to fight unless there is no chance of escape.
I teach avoidance skills to all of the dogs I work with and help clients understand the value of choice and space. If a dog is given the choice of creating distance between themselves and the stimulus they find threatening, bites can be prevented. This is an incredibly powerful ability. Knowing when or not to put even slight pressure on your dog during the classroom process can also help build your dog’s confidence.
Strengthen by choice
All puppies and adult dogs should be given the opportunity to learn skills that will enable them to communicate and be successful. These range from learning basic pointers to understanding that leaving is better than reacting aggressively when they are uncomfortable. Choice is empowering, and its value is something we don’t focus enough on, especially when we’re working to prevent or treat aggressive behavior.
Take a dog who doesn’t like people coming into their house. Manage the situation by providing your dog with a hole or a human-free safety zone to go into if they are uncomfortable. By giving her the choice of staying or going to her hole, you are keeping your dog under the threshold and people’s safety. It is a very simple yet effective solution while working with a positive trainer to other ways to build your dog’s confidence.
The most important advice is to be your dog’s advocate and try not to put pressure on him to greet other people on walks or in other social situations. Understanding why dogs bite and using management and training techniques to help dogs thrive in our home world will create a more harmonious relationship and prevent bites from occurring.