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Q: My one-year-old dog is still biting me. How can I stop this behaviour?

Communication is an act of conveying information between intended parties. In a canine world, non-verbal cues makes up most of the communication. This largely involves body language, eye contact, and the posture and movement of the ears, tails, and mouth.

A: Biting as behaviour needs to be addressed at an early stage in your dog’s life. When puppies are at two to three months of age, biting or mouthing occurs because of their burgeoning curiosity about their environment. Some puppies may choose to paw whilst others may use their mouths and teeth to explore.

Playtime for dogs involves a lot of biting or mouthing. Dogs instinctively pit their own strength, agility and tenacity through of use of its limbs and mouths. When doing this, owners should feedback to their pooches if they are using too much force. This will teach puppies to learn how to practice restraint. Subsequently, if your dog always mouths your hand or arm to get your attention, it may be exhibiting dominant tendencies.

First you need to be responsive when you are interacting with your dog. Keeping quiet and not expressing your displeasure will not help. For example, when you enter the room and your furkid is excitable, do not acknowledge him and keep your hands tucked away. You should remain still and look away until your pooch settles down. Once he is calm, call for him and make him sit still before petting him. If all else fails, remove yourself from the room without allowing your dog to follow you and re-enter the room 15 minutes later. Repeat this step until you can get your dog’s attention and get him to sit before petting.

On another note, if your dog decides to mouth your hand, you must respond firmly and reprimand its unwanted behaviour.  If mouthing persists, immediately manage your dog with a leash, bring it to a naughty corner for isolation and ignore it for 10 minutes.  Remember, it is important to consistently guide your dog to understand what is acceptable and what is not, by ignoring bad behaviour, you may be condoning the dog’s misbehaviour and allowing it to get out of control.