Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Jo, ao pleased you are taking your little one to puppy class, gives them such an excellant start in life. If at all possible do continue to the next group as the more socializing the dog gets at a young age the better.
I have put some notes on bite inhibition below for you to look through and on my friendsofthedog site there are 38 articles on pups, so you can read to your hearts content!
Be very watchful of your own body language when offering a treat. If you start to pull your hand away, the pup will be more likely to grab. Rather bring your hand out from the side, holding a soft treat such as a vienna sausage and right at the beginning start saying 'gently, gently'. It does take a lot of practice but is well worth the effort put in. Remember that this exercise is always taught on its own and not incorporated with any other interactions with the dog.
a. Bite/Snatch Inhibition
The last thing that anybody wants is to have a dog that snatches food out of our hands, especially if we have children. So often when we offer a dog a treat, you are lucky to come avow with your fingers intact! By teaching this exercise the puppy learns to have control over his jaws. This does not mean that he will never bite, but he does learn to control the force of the bite thus reducing the chance of serious damage. This exercise must ALWAYS be taught on its own. In training we train with a lure in our hand to entice the dog into the heel position and if you started shouting at a dog for snatching you would simply destroy the training side and your relationship. If your pup snatches at your fingers when training, just hit yourself over the head with the newspaper for not practising this exercise enough!
a. A soft treat here is preferable, something along the lines of a chicken Vienna sausage.
b. Hold the treat in your hand and offer the end of the sausage to the puppy offering it to him from the side, rather than above which will encourage him to snatch and jump up at the treat..
c. Allow him to nibble and lick it and praise him quietly while he is doing this saying 'gently, softly'.
d. If he snatches at the sausages or bites down hard, shout OUCH! in the loudest voice you can muster and storm away from him with your arms folded. It doesn’t matter if it did not hurt; it is the effect we are going for. This is a similar behaviour that a mother dog would perform if her puppies were biting at her teats, she would yelp, stand up and walk away.
e. Your dog may look totally amazed and try to follow you. Turn away a few times ignoring him. Then ask him to sit and once again offer the treat, repeating the sequence over and over if he snatches or bites hard and praising him quietly if he takes it gently, by saying ‘good gently’ or similar.
Another method to assist with snatching, which you can do simultaneously to the above, is to sit next to your pup every time you feed him. Hold onto the collar and make him wait a few seconds (gradually building up the time to about a minute). When he stops straining, tell him to “eat it’, ‘take it’, ‘get it’ etc, whichever cue you decide on. What you are doing is giving your puppy permission to actually eat the food.
Good luck, hope this helps, Scotty
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