My dog bit me, doesn’t he love me anymore?
“I was having a good time playing with my dog, and he suddenly bit me, why?” Don’t get upset too quickly, let’s look at the reason together.
A gentle bite is a way of communication
When playing with dogs, sometimes they would gently touch the dog owners fingers or toes with their teeth, don’t get anxious, it isn’t an attack, it’s just a way of how they play.
Dogs are usually very relaxed whilst playing, some like to act cutesy and would even lay their head or paws onto their owner, for example, the Golden Retriever. When they are overly joyous playing with other dogs, they might lose their self-restraint and gently bit their playmates, and this is just to show their wish for more contact and interaction with them. The same mentality applies when they’re playing with their owner.
Most of the time the bite would be very gentle during playtime, and owners need not worry about getting hurt. But the fact is human skin is much softer than that of dog’s, so if the bite is too forceful, the owners need to clearly instruct the dog to stop the behaviour and teach him/her to grasp the correct bite force.
Good ways of learning through playing
For the dogs to grasp the correct bite force, training can be through sound stimulation, game pause or time out from their owners.
If bitten by the dog, owners could scream and withdraw their hands and fake pain, show exaggerated bodily movement and facial expression, so the dog would know that they have hurt their owners because of their strong bites. Dogs usually would loosen their jaws when frightened by yellings.
If yelling does not lead to the desired effect, owners need to tell the dog strictly “No!” and resume the playing only after it has stopped the biting.
For stubborn dogs that show no improvement, owners need to stop playing and even leave the dogs alone as a way of punishment so they know they are in the wrong. If the dogs start biting again upon the owners’ return from a timeout, then leave them alone one more time so they get to slowly understand that the result of biting their owners is ceased of all playing. Repeat the process if necessary.
Snack as a reward for learning good behaviour
When the dogs have successfully learned of the proper bite force that they are required of during the playtime, don’t forget to reward them with toys or snacks, such as Kakato’s line of healthy snacks. This would help the dogs in developing good habits leading to more relaxed and enjoyable playtime shared with their owners.