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  1. Play biting in puppies is a very common behaviour, so don't panic. 

    Puppies Like to explore with their mouths, and won't quite realise when they are biting too
    hard. For this reason, the way we react to play biting
    is very important. We want to help our
    Puppies realise what is and isn't appropriate. There are 101 different theories surrounding play biting and how best to react to it in order to
    get your puppy to stop. Ultimately though a lot of
    these theories are misguided and some may
    even encourage further biting. Ranging from yelping out loud after a bite, to sticking a toy in
    their
    mouth as fast as possible, it is important to understand the way your puppy interoperates
    these responses. Bare in mind everything puppies do is for attention and all attention is good attention. By this
    we mean everything! Telling them off, pushing
    them away, making a loud noise, giving them
    a toy ect. All of these responses to biting are rewarding your puppy with attention and
    therefore
    reinforcing that biting gets them everything they want. So, what is the best way to correct inappropriate biting? As we know attention is crucial, we want to make sure the puppies get no attention what so
    ever after mouthing occurs. As soon as teeth touch
    skin, walk away from puppy so they learn
    that biting means they lose out! If the biting can't be ignored or walked away from, the next step would be to perform what we
    call a timeout. For more information on timeouts
    please see our blog titled 'The Timeout
    Technique'. As a general rule with Puppies we want to reward the good, ignore the bad and for anything
    we can't ignore we use timeouts. This basic set of
    rules, along with a little bit of consistency
    and perseverance will teach your puppy its basic manners and reduce the chances of
    rewarding
    inappropriate behaviour. If you feel your puppy or even older dog is mouthing more than the normal amount, it is
    always best to consult a qualified behaviourist for further
    advice.

    George Rooke - Head Behaviour Counsellor
  2. Dogs and puppies get a lot of enjoyment out of getting into things 
    that they shouldn't. I was asked by a client recently -
    “why does my dog always run away with my socks”. The socks themselves
    provide only a little entertainment, to be chewed or thrown around,
    but certainly no more than their favourite toy.
    What does excite Fido however, is that it is not theirs'....
    and because of this (and here is where the massive reward comes) the
    attention a dog will get when he picks up a sock rather than their own
    toy is considerably more. “What have you got Fido!” which is generally
    followed by -
     
    Shouting – all very exciting or a reason to hide.
    A fun game of chase – what dog doesn't love chase!
    Laughing - “my people have noticed me and are making a fun sound”
    Handling – we rush over to grab our dog and you guessed it...handling is attention too.
     
    Where this attention seeking game can go wrong for a dog is that the source of all this 
    entertainment is taken away by us. Of course, it is – after all, our dog should not be playing
    with our socks! However, over time, in our dogs mind that simple, self-rewarding behaviour
    turns into how do I stop the consequence – always having the sock taken away.
     
    And, of course we don't just do this with things that dogs shouldn't be picking up. We expect 
    them to share all of their worldly goods with us without question – bones, toys, even their
    meals if we so desire. How would you feel if you were asked to accept somebody taking your
    prized mobile phone or your favourite chocolate bar from under your nose whenever they
    pleased with no explanation?! I imagine you would not be very happy at all and would
    certainly find some way of this not happening to you again. As our dogs cannot speak our
    language and gain this explanation of sharing from us, they will go through a very similar
    thought process. They process may go a little something like this:
     
    Fido finds that running away and that fun game of chase always ends in him being caught 
    and the attention-grabbing sock gets taken away. So, he tries a new tactic. What if I play hide
    and seek and squeeze myself into this little corner behind the furniture. Surely, they won't be
    able to get to me and my special sock here! Or maybe if I stay really still and keep my eyes
    on my crafty owners and then dart out of the way at the last minute socky will be saved.
    But of course, these new games only work for a short time too as we seek Fido out from
    his hiding spots and block him from returning there, or consistently outfox him in his games
    of stealth and chase. The battle of the sock has now reached new levels of excitement and
    importance in Fido's eyes. So, what next. This time he may try a little bark or a growl to warn
    his parents how important the sock has become to him. It may surprise dad at first, but little
    Fido is too cute and cuddly really and he still manages to take back his sock and then give
    him a little telling off for the silly growl (over a sock no less!). Hmm...so now Fido thinks that
    he best not do the barks and growls, maybe a snap of the air in mum or dads direction will
    be the right answer. No, in fact that gets exactly the same reaction – after all, Fido isn't
    scary, and dad knows he didn't mean anything by it as it was only a little snap.
     
    So, what is left for Fido to show his parents that this lovely sock really is something he wants 
    to keep now.......unfortunately the only logical thing for our dogs to do is to increase the
    aggression to something that can't be ignored – nipping or biting. After all, nothing else
    worked to win the accolade of the attention grabbing, oh so desirable sock! And the more
    that our dog learns that this behaviour works – the more it will be practised. Fido has learnt
    the behaviour we call Resource Guarding. As I said earlier, this behaviour can be learnt with
    anything we choose to take from them
     
    without their cooperation and acceptance that they see as a resource: something that 
    provides fun and entertainment, nourishment or attention for our dog.
     
    The key things to remember from this tale of one dog and his sock are:
     
    If your dog gets hold of something that they shouldn't, don't give it special value with your 
    attention. Ignoring is boring! And if you can't (because your dog has hold of something
    dangerous or expensive) then give all of your excitement and attention to something more
    appropriate (one of their toys for example) and praise them for choosing that instead.
     
    Teach your dog self-control and obedience commands, with the help of a fun training class, 
    so that they see the value in dropping items, leaving even the most tempting of things and
    generally teaching them the good manners of sharing.
     
    If you recognise any of Fido’s' behaviours in your own dog, seek advice from a qualified 
    trainer on how to put some simple techniques into your routine so that your dog can start to
    see that sharing even the most exciting of “socks” can be the best sort of prize for all.

    Kerry Walker - Behaviour Counsellor