Tips for Bad Dog Behaviors – Nipping Your Hands

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A puppy protected with Pets Best Pet Insurance nips his owners hand.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Dogs are not born with owner’s manuals. Sometimes they have naughty behaviors and they rely on us to teach them what is acceptable and what is not. Let’s discuss your puppy’s nipping of your hands and ankles and some solutions to help nip this behavior in the bud!

Problem – Mouthing and Nipping Your Hands and Ankles. Puppies use their mouths to explore their environments and to grab your attention. But ouch! Their sharp, tiny teeth can puncture your skin.

Solution. Teach your puppy the proper play rules from day 1 that he needs to sit on cue before any interactions with people: greeting visitors to the home, engaging in fetch, or getting ready to go for a leashed walk. If your puppy’s teeth contact your skin, make a high-pitched yelp to let him know it hurt. This will help teach him to inhibit his bite. Don’t quickly yank your hand from his mouth because this rapid movement can trigger his play drive. Instead, let your hand go limp as you move it away from his mouth. Finally, offer him a suitable substitute to satisfy his teething needs like a chew toy.

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