Q & A: Dog Bites Owner
Question: My Dog Bites
“I have a major biting problem with my dog. He is a 3-year-old, scrappy terrier. When I purchased him he had a rather cranky disposition. You could only pick him up when he wanted you to, not the other way around. Otherwise, he would growl or snap at you. Now he doesn’t do it quite so often as before, but when I want to bathe him, or even pick him up, I still get bit. Can you help me figure out what is wrong, and more importantly, how to stop this aggressive biting behavior?”
When a dog bites its owner for any reason at all, there are several root causes involved. Foremost among these causes must be a lack of respect. That is, the dog lacks respect for the owner. The reason a dog will lack respect is that the owner has failed to establish himself as the dominant being in the dog’s life.
During one of the many critical periods of a puppy’s life, he will take steps to establish himself as the dominant being in the pack (family). Unless this attempt is met with swift and firm disciplinary measures, the dog then feels that he is the dominant being – the boss, so to speak.
Let’s use the perfect analogy of parenting a small child. What would you do if your child should take a poke at you with his fist for simply telling him to get ready for a bath?
It would indicate a spoiled child, lacking in parental respect. A small pat on the bottom would help the child attain the proper respect. Likewise, the same goes for your dog – as would a well-aimed cuff on the bridge of your dog’s nose indicate to him that you love him devotedly, but by all that’s holy, you are the parent, and you are the boss.
This method should NOT be applied to puppies.
Your dog is three years old, a scrappy terrier, and by your own admission, has a “cranky disposition.” It is up to you to show your dog that you will pick him up whenever you want to – that he will do the things that you want – and that you are the dominant being – not he.
If he bites you, cuff him sharply on the nose, but be equally quick to forgive him for his discretion when he’s ready to apologize.
The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.