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How to Correct Problematic Dog Behavior

How to Correct Problematic Dog Behavior

I’m Ed Smith, a Rancho Cordova Dog Bite Lawyer. There are some dog behavior habits that you want to get rid of while the dog is still a puppy. However, in some cases this may not always be possible. Let’s say you decide to adopt an older dog, or maybe you rescue a dog from a family member or friend who can no longer take care of them. Regardless of how you ended up with an adult dog that has some bad habits, most pet owners would like to train their dog to avoid mouthing, nipping, and play-biting.

Problematic Dog Behavior

Adult dogs have jaws that are much stronger than those of a puppy, so they can cause increased levels of pain. Problematic dog behavior is also much more challenging to correct in an adult dog, as they become less sensitized to our reactions. It’s imperative to train your dog to inhibit his/her mouthy behavior. The first lesson that a dog needs to understand is that humans have very sensitive skin. When your dog learns about the sensitivity of human skin, they will learn to be more gentle in their human interactions. This will go along way in preventing dog bite injuries.

Training Your Pet Dog

Dogs usually learn to control the force of their mouthing through play with other dogs. It is thought that if dogs can learn from interaction with each other, the same thing can be done with humans. Using extreme caution, while you interact with your dog, let him/her mouth at your hands for a while. You may want to use a glove of some sort to protect your hand. Once the dog bites hard at your hand, shout out with a high-pitched squeal (pretending you’re hurt), and make your hand go limp. If your dog responds by stopping or licking your hand, reward them with some love. Then you can continue to play and let the cycle repeat itself. Again, use extreme caution if your dog is new to your home and does not know you very well.

Time Out

Sometimes a high-pitched squeal won’t have any long-lasting effect on a dog’s behavior. If that happens to be the case, you can try to initiate a time-out for your dog. When your dog bites at your hand in a painful manner, yell loudly, remove your hand, and ignore him for about 15 seconds. If he continue to nip at your hand, stand up and walk away from him for another 15 seconds. If that approach doesn’t work out successfully, leave the room while he/she has a short time out. Afterwards, walk back in and continue to play with him. It is important for your dog to learn that gentle play is good, but painful play is bad.

Aggressive Behavior

If you are worried that your dog may be too aggressive to control, please reach out to a licensed professional. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist would work well. In addition, you may also consider consulting with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer that has been successful in working with dog aggression.

Other topics by Rancho Cordova Dog Bite Lawyer, Ed Smith:

Rancho Cordova Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Rancho Cordova Dog Bite Lawyer. Dog bite injuries can permanently change a person’s life, leaving them physically and emotionally scarred. If you know anyone who has suffered traumatic injuries from a dog bite wound, you can reach me by dialing or call the toll free number at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.

I have been a personal injury lawyer for Northern California, including Rancho Cordova, since 1982. I have represented innumerable claims of traumatic injuries and/orĀ wrongful death.

You can find a comprehensive list of my client reviews on:

I also belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which represents some of the top United States trial attorneys with verdicts that reached a million dollars or more.

Check out my website,, where you can review my past verdicts and settlements. You can also look at my Dog Bite FAQ if you would like to learn more.

Image Attribution: Author Kelly via Wikimedia Commons

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