How to Train Your Dog Not to Bite

Pug puppy biting finger with sharp teeth.

Any dog can bite. According to the Center for Disease Control, dogs bite around 4.5 million people each year. This number may seem frightening, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your dog doesn't contribute to this dog bite statistic.

When a dog bites a person, it is often out of fear or protectiveness, or when they aren't feeling well and want to be left alone.1 Training to prevent dog bites involves proper socialization, providing structure, and building your dog's confidence.

Socialize Your Dog

Puppy Socialization: How to Socialize a Puppy

If you've just brought home a puppy, the best thing you can do is introduce it to as many new places, people, and situations as possible. Keep things positive. This early exposure is referred to as socialization; a well-socialized puppy is far less likely to be fearful in new situations, and this lack of fear decreases the likelihood of aggression. If your dog is no longer a puppy, you can still work on adult socialization.

Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Choosing the Best Age to Spay or Neuter Your Dog - Buzzards Bay Blog

While having your dog spayed or neutered does not guarantee it'll never bite, there is some evidence that suggests that altered dogs tend to be less aggressive. There are a number of good reasons to spay or neuter your dog, and potentially preventing a dog bite is at the top of that list.

Don't Make Assumptions

Given the right circumstances, any dog has the potential to bite.1 Too often people are bitten by dogs because they assume their dog won't bite. Don't assume that because a dog is a certain breed or size, or because it has never shown aggression in the past, that a dog won't bite.

Work on Obedience Training

An obedient dog is easier to control. By working on obedience training, you can use basic commands to keep your dog focused on you in situations in which it is uncomfortable. If you are able to control your dog's behavior, it is less likely to bite. In addition, training provides a structure for your dog and boosts its confidence.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement dog training is a method of training that rewards good behavior rather than punishing inappropriate behavior.2 Positive reinforcement can include treats, extra playtime, verbal encouragement, petting, or any other activity your dog enjoys.

Punishment, by contrast, can be anything a dog finds unpleasant. Some common punishments include hitting, leash corrections, and physically rolling a dog over, a process referred to as alpha rolling.

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior found that dogs who are trained using punishment are 25 percent more likely to respond with aggression than other dogs. By using positive dog training methods, you can reduce the likelihood of your dog biting.

Be Aware of Body Language

Dogs use body language to communicate. Pay attention to what your dog's body language is telling you. A dog who is afraid or unhappy about having its territory invaded has the potential to bite. Behaviors such as bared teeth, raised hackles, a lowered head, or ears lying flat against the head are signs that a dog is uncomfortable and may bite.3 If you notice a dog displaying this type of body language, give it some space and advise others to do so as well. Remove your dog from the situation as soon as you feel safe to do so.

Don't Stop a Dog's Growls

Your dog growls to let you know it is uncomfortable with a person or situation. It is a warning signal that it may bite. Very often our impulse is to teach our dogs it is inappropriate to growl. The dog may learn this lesson so well that it stops growling in any situation. This is why we so often hear stories of dogs biting without warning. By preventing them from growling, we don't allow dogs to communicate their discomfort.

A better option is to pay attention to the circumstances that cause your dog to growl. Is it growling at someone approaching its food bowl, a child running past, a person cornering it? Once you know why your dog is growling, you can begin a dog training program to teach your dog to become more comfortable in those situations. In this way, you correct the problem that causes potential aggression rather than taking away your dog's ability to warn you it may bite. Once your dog is more comfortable in a given situation, it won't feel the need to growl.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

To proof your dog's new, more appropriate behavior you'll need to take the dog into new environments and introduce it to new people and animals.4 If it's able to maintain its behavior in a variety of settings, it has internalized the training; if not, you may need to take additional steps.

If you know when your dog is most likely to growl or bite, you'll want to be sure that the dog can now handle that situation without resorting to aggression. It's not a good idea to startle or frighten your dog, but it is helpful to slowly introduce challenges to be sure your dog can handle them. For example, if your dog is aggressive around food but has learned not to growl or bite at mealtime, have another person bring the dog's food to be sure that the new behavior is followed even with a new person in the room.

If you've taught commands using positive reinforcement and worked hard to earn your dog's trust, you may still find that your dog is having a tough time learning not to growl or bite. If that's the case, you'll need to take additional steps.

Aggression is a tough behavior problem to overcome on your own. If you believe your dog may become aggressive, or if it has bitten someone already, it's time to call in a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. A professional dog trainer can help you to come up with a plan to manage your dog's aggression to ensure the safety of both you and your dog.

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It can be difficult to manage a misbehaving dog. No matter whether you generally have a good dog that needs to learn a few more manners, or you have a dog that regularly gets into trouble and needs some general etiquette and guidance, there are many other reasons as to why your dog would benefit from obedience training.

1. Closer bond with your dog

Statistics show that owners with behaviourally sound pets get more satisfaction and have a stronger bond with their pet. Having a dog that is well trained, obedient, happy, relaxed, responsive and easy for you to manage means you will get more pleasure from dog ownership and as a result, will be more likely to be closer with your dog.

2. Easy Management

Obedience schools teach basic commands (e.g. sit, drop, stay), which enable you to manage your dog more easily. Better management means they can be easily controlled and become a part of the family and events more, instead of being uncontrollable, misbehaving and having to be left at home or shut away from the party by themselves. Some things as simple as your dog greeting someone politely, coming back when they are called or walking safely and controllably on a leash are basic desirable behaviours that obedience classes teach.

3. Social, friendly dogs

Socialisation is a very important aspect of a dog’s life. Learning how to respond to other dogs, and what is acceptable and not acceptable in dog language is an essential life lesson they need to understand and know if they are to get along with other dogs. If your dog does not get out a great deal (with family and friends, or to events etc) this is still important. Your dog will encounter other dogs on everyday occasions such as walks, appointments at the veterinary clinic and if they go into a kennel or boarding.

4. Fun and knowledge

Obedience classes are quite fun - for both you and your dog. The exercises are stimulating and engaging, and the clubs and training schools often have other great things to offer, such as merchandise, agility, club meetings and seminars, social BBQs, annual dog exhibitions and competitions. Whether you have had dogs your whole life, or you are new to dog ownership, there are always new skills or information you can learn concerning canine training, techniques and methods. The opportunity to talk to other dog owners and consult your trainer is invaluable and can help resolve difficulties in training or problems with your dog or your own troubles with training. The best thing about it is they all understand what you are going through (e.g. for those with puppies that don’t seem to stop chewing the house down, or for those owners who cannot seem to get their dog to stop jumping) and consequently often have excellent tips and suggestions. If you have a puppy with a nipping or biting problem find out why it's such a common problem and how to encourage good chewing here and enrol in our Puppy Preschool classes to address the problem.

5. Pet ownership

Pet ownership will be a joy and take less time, energy and resources.

6. Safety

A well-trained dog, under supervision, is safer to have around family and friends, and is at a lower risk to himself than an uncontrollable dog. However, remember at the end of the day animals will be animals, and animals are sometimes unpredictable. A dog that comes back when it is called, in the face of dangerous situations (e.g. where they could get hit by a car) has an obviously positive impact on its own welfare.

7. Owner socialisation and community growth

Going to obedience training every week gets you out and about meeting people from your neighbourhood and community. It helps you connect with others, socialise and often provides a friendship outlet or avenue to be involved in activities and events. Statistics show that people who have dogs are at a lower risk of physical and psychological health problems including lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, loneliness and anxiety. Training can be time consuming, initially. It can mean getting up early on Sunday mornings for obedience school for a year or so in addition to daily training at home, but the benefits are spectacular and completely worth it. If your dog lives till they are 15 or 16 years of age, one year of training when they are young may not seem so much. Failure to properly train your dog on the other hand may mean 15 or 16 years of a difficult dog whose behaviour can be stressful for you and them. Do talk to your local veterinary clinic and their nurses and veterinarians who have a wealth of knowledge and can help refer you to correct information. Remember that whilst some people may have never taken their pet to obedience school, if their dog is well adjusted it is likely it did not happen by magic. They, or the previous owner would have put in copious hours of home training and daily obedience exercises over some time, often early in the dog’s life. But don’t forget, old dogs can still learn new tricks!

Dog Training

How To Become A Dog Trainer: Things To Know About Dog Training If you want to train your dog just contact us for more information.… Read More »

10 Training Tips for Your New Dog

Once you bring your new dog home, it’s smart to begin training immediately. But where should you start? What’s the best way to train a puppy? And how do you train an adult dog? There are a number of options for training your new pet. Whether you opt to train your puppy or dog yourself, take classes or hire a private trainer, you can implement the following basic training tips right away to make the process easier.

Top 10 Dog Training Tips

These top 10 tips from professional dog trainers will help get you and your new pal on the right track.  

Tip 1: Choose Your Dog's Name Wisely

Part of the fun of bringing home a new puppy or dog is finding the perfect name for them. But did you know certain names are better for training? It helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant that they can always hear clearly. A strong ending, like in the names “Jasper,” “Jack” and “Ginger,” perks up puppy ears — especially when you place emphasis at the end. If your new pet is an older dog, they’re probably used to their name at this point. However, changing it isn’t out of the question. And if your new pal is coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may even represent a fresh start. Dogs are extremely adaptable. If you decide to give them a new name, use it consistently and soon enough your pup will respond to it. Whatever their name, be sure to associate it with fun, pleasant experiences as much as possible, rather than negative ones. Ideally, your pup should think of their name in the same way they think of other fun stuff like walks or dinnertime.  

Tip 2: Decide on the House Rules

Before your new furry pal comes home, decide what they can and can’t do. Are they allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off-limits? Will they have their own chair at your dining table? If the rules are determined early, you can avoid confusion — for both of you.  

Tip 3: Set Up a Private Den

Like humans, dogs need their own space. As early as possible, give your pup their own private sleeping place, such as a crate. Your dog will benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of their den; it can also be a valuable tool for housetraining. Be sure to reward your puppy or dog if they remain relaxed and quiet in their den.  

Tip 4: Help Your Dog Relax

When your puppy gets home, give them a warm hot-water bottle and put a ticking clock near their sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of littermates and will soothe your puppy in its new environment. This tip maybe even more important for a new dog that previously lived in a busy, loud shelter, particularly if they’ve had a rough time early in life. Whatever you can do to help your new pet get comfortable in their forever home will be good for both of you.   owner playing with dog

Tip 5: Reward Good Behavior

Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use toys, love and lots of praise — and don’t forget the treats, such as DENTASTIX™ treats. Let them know when they’re getting it right. Along those same lines, never reward bad behavior, as it’ll only confuse them.  

Tip 6: Teach Your Pup to Come When Called

Come, Jasper! Good boy! The first command you teach your pet should be to come. Get down on their level and tell your pup to come using their name. When they do, get excited and use lots of positive reinforcement. Next time, try the “come” command when they’re distracted with food or a toy. As your puppy gets older, you’ll continue to see the benefits of perfecting this command.  

Tip 7: Train on "Dog Time"

Puppies and dogs live in the moment — two minutes after they’ve done something, they’ve already forgotten about it. So when your pup is doing something bad, use your chosen training technique right away so they have a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what they’ve learned.  

Tip 8: Discourage Jumping Right Away

Puppies love to jump up in greeting, and some adult dogs have learned bad habits. When your puppy or dog jumps on a person, don’t reprimand them; just turn your back on them, ignore the behavior and wait until they settle down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when they’re in a “jumping up” position.  

Tip 9: Say No to Biting and Nipping

Instead of scolding your new pet, a great way to discourage your mouthy canine is to pretend you’re in a lot of pain when they bite or nip you — a sharp, loud yell should work. Most dogs are so surprised that they stop immediately. If verbal cues don’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. This swap trick can also work when a puppy discovers the joys of chewing on your favorite shoes. They tend to prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, interrupt the biting behavior and respond by ignoring them.  

Tip 10: End Training Sessions on a Positive Note

Your puppy or dog has worked hard to please you throughout their training. Leave them with lots of praise, a treat, some petting or five minutes of play. This almost guarantees they’ll show up at their next class or training session with their tail wagging, ready to work! Bonus tip: When your puppy is old enough, think about getting them neutered or spayed. The same goes if you adopt a dog. A neutered or spayed dog might be more docile, less aggressive and more open to successful training.… Read More »

10 Of The Smartest Dog Breeds

Pack Leaders always want to believe that their dog is the smartest on the block, and while this may be true, a smart dog can come in many forms. Of course, a smart dog is just potential without a human willing to put in the time and effort to train and channel the dog’s intelligence. While all dogs are trainable, it’s important to understand your dog’s inherent abilities in order to know how to motivate him and bring out his natural intelligence. Here is a list of the 10 smartest dog breeds. Is your dog one of them?

Border Collie

Border Collie Dog Breed | BeChewy The Border collie is energetic, affectionate, and — of course — smart. A Border collie dog is a true working dog excelling in sheep herding, athleticism, agility, and cuddling. Border collies are also known for their “herding eye,” an intense gaze used to stare down and herd other animals.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Poodles | Pet Health Insurance & Tips The poodle is the seventh most popular dog breed and for good reason. Poodles not only are very smart, but they’re also proud, active dogs, with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. Because of their high intelligence, poodles can be easily trained to track, hunt, retrieve, and obey. In fact, poodles are the national dog of France where they were first used as retrievers.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Personality and Trainability – Inside Dogs World It’s no surprise that a German shepherd is the second most popular dog breed because they’re courageous, confident, and smart. They are excellent all-purpose workers and are used in a number of specialized situations as police dogs or service dogs. German shepherds don’t always give affection lightly, but they are fiercely loyal family dogs that are great with kids.

Golden Retriever

Common Golden Retriever Health Issues | Lucy Pet Golden retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and devoted sporting dogs. Goldens take their jobs to heart and try to be the best at what they do, whether it’s hunting, serving as a seeing-eye dog, working in search-and-rescue, or simply being a loving companion.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher – Fun Facts and Crate Size – Pet Crates Direct Besides strength, endurance, and speed, Doberman pinschers have the smarts necessary to retain training in order to be an in-demand police dog or war dog. There is even a bronze Doberman pinscher statue titled “Always Faithful” at the National War Dog Cemetery in Guam to honor the dogs — mostly Dobermans — that were killed in service during the Second Battle of Guam in 1944.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog - All About Dogs | Orvis The Shetland sheepdog is basically a miniature working Collie. They are playful and intelligent herding dogs that love to learn new tricks and play with kids. Shelties are affectionate and loyal to their families. But they’re also great watchdogs because they are reserved towards strangers and have a tendency to bark at people.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever - Wikipedia Besides being intelligent, gentle, and family-friendly, Labrador retrievers are also the most popular dog breed in the United States. Because Labs want to please their Pack Leader, they are excellent guide dogs and rescue dogs.


Papillon Dog Information Center - A Complete Guide To A Beautiful Breed The papillon is an alert, friendly, and happy dog. Papillon means “butterfly” in French, and the papillon was given this name because of its butterfly-like ears. Papillons aren’t shy or aggressive and are especially fast and versatile little athletes that can be trained to do all kinds of tricks.


Bloodhound - Wikipedia Bloodhounds are known for their long wrinkled faces and big droopy ears, but they’re also known for being independent, inquisitive, and friendly. As far as intelligence, bloodhounds have been recognized for their determination and scenting power as far back as the third century.


Rottweiler - Wikipedia The Rottweiler is a loyal, loving, confident guard dog who wants to work. Because of this, Rottweilers are best suited to be service dogs, police dogs, herders, therapy dogs, devoted companions, or obedience competitors. Whether your dog is one of the smartest breeds or not, remember that every Pack Leader can teach and train their dog with patience, consistency, and the right energy regardless of that dog’s breed or age. If your dog is on the list, do they seem to live up to the “intelligent” reputation of their breed? If they’re not on the list, is your dog an Einstein of another kind? Let us know in the comments!
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Walk Walking Tips

Dogs are extremely good human companions and taking them on outdoor excursions is the least we can do. Dog walking benefits the dog and also the owner. Taking your dog to parks or even exploring other areas with your dog further away from home may require some training or tips. Train or learn how to handle your dog when walking it. Learn how to manage your dog around other people walking their dogs, pedestrians, and motorists. Below are vital tips to help walk your dog. First-time dog walkers make sure the area has less traffic, and "make sure your dog stays on their leash say Queen City Pet Sitting of Charlotte, expert pet sitters.

1. Use the correct gear

Have your dog on the correct leash. This is the most important thing to remember. There are leashes that are recommended for their ease of use with the dog. The Front Clip Harness, for example, helps you train the dog on the leash while you are still in control. Shop for a perfect harness that will work great with how you want to carry out the walk.

Avoid using the leashes that are retractable. Retractable leashes may not be safe for your dog and those around. You can easily lose control. The retractable leashes can also cause dog injuries. They may be convenient in some cases but for normal daily dog walks, avoid the retractable leashes. Everything else you require is about you. A good pair of sneakers probably.


2. Give your dog freedom to sniff around

Apart from physical exercise, dog walks are a perfect way to help your dog get the best out of nature for themselves. Let them explore the environment by sniffing around. This will require you to get appropriate areas like parks and loosening of the dog leash. Make sure it is safe for the dog and you do not lose control of the dog.

Sniffing around helps your dog to engage with the environment, get stimulated and gather information through those smells. This way they keep track and familiarize with the environment. This can help in case they ever get lost. This is important even for their health and well-being, let them enrich their mental sensors by sniff around during walks.

3. Never forget to pick up the dogs poop

This tip may not be beneficial to the dog or to you but always pick up your dog’s poop. This is being environmentally friendly and it observes the law in some places.

Health concerns may also be an issue if you leave the poop. These concerns may be to humans or other pets. This is the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner. Buy poop bags and carry some with you before going out with your dog. 

4. Use a dog tag or proper identification

This is a precautionary tip. When you leave your home make sure that the dog is wearing a proper tag that can be used to identify it. Losing control of your dog can be an unfortunate event and proper tagging will help get your dog back in case it is lost.

Use a collar with the name of the dog and your contacts. They can get loose and get lost during walks so keep checking. The use of a microchip for your dog is also a thing. Register it with your information.

5. Approaching other dogs

Your dog may be friendly but that doesn’t guarantee that the other dogs you meet are friendly. Your dog may also be the one that is reactive to other dogs. Learn how to handle reactive dogs from a professional. Always ask the owners before approaching other dogs to avoid risks that are unnecessary. 
Keeping your dog safe is the most important thing to remember but also the safety of other dogs and people is vital.

6. Walking dogs at night or in the evening

If you are the day time working type and always walk your dog at night, always wear or carry a reflective gear. This helps other motorists to notice you when it’s dark and avoid accidents.

There are reflective collars for dogs that can be used. You can also get a reflective leash.


There are many tips including walking in the woods rather than pavements and carrying treats for your dog. The listed ones are the most important when it comes to safety and health. Your dog needs to be obedient and well-behaved for easy walks. Training your dog on behavior may need professional training but walking your dog is an easy task. 

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Get Dog Smart With Diggity The Dog!

Despite the fact that more than half of the seriously injured dog bite victims are children and that statistics report that more than half of all children will be bitten by age 12, schools do not teach dog safety. The experts agree that the solution is education. Author Lisa LeLeu made it her mission to educate children and parents after her son survived a horrifying dog attack leaving him with over 300 stitches in his face causing facial paralysis and permanent scarring. Lisa believes that this incident was totally preventable through education. Diggity the Dog’s story encompasses the number one cure for the dog bite epidemic. The story takes children on a fun walk through the neighborhood. Along the way, children encounter a whole lot of dogs in different situations. Diggity tells the "do's" and "don'ts" - right from the doggie's mouth. It is up to parents to teach their children what they can do and must not do around dogs. Children need to know how to read the danger signs from a dog and what situations must always be avoided, like going into a neighbor's backyard where there is a dog.

Here's how to make the lessons fun!

Teach Dog Safety with Diggity the Dog’s Puppet Show Book, one of Lisa LeLeu's award winning books -- a book that you read while using the attached puppet to make the story come alive. The puppet is actually part of the story, and part of every drawing in the book. The book comes with a free “Get Dog Smart” coloring book and makes a great reward for a child who has learned the rules on dog safety.… Read More »