Dog biting owners arm.

Some dogs offer a little nip in the arm at cuddle time, while others snarl and snap warnings before they lunge for an attack. Dogs that bite without warning put other dogs and strangers at risk, which can cause major problems from your family. The team at Arlington Animal Hospital wants to help you figure out why dogs bite, and what can you do to prevent your dog from attacking:

Nipping—Is Your Dog Sending a Message?

If you watch dogs play together, you’ll see they are “mouthy” with each other. Their mouths are open and sometimes they vocalize. Sometimes they nip each other. This is play, but there is a time and a place for this behavior. You might want to dissuade nipping in the following situations:

  • Nipping by herding dogs lets herd animals know to keep in line. This can be a problem when your sheltie has rounded up the neighborhood kids!
  • Nipping from your puppy during playtime is undesirable behavior.
  • If your adult dog still nips during play or cuddle time, it’s normal but should be discouraged.

Sometimes My Dog Acts Like It’s Going To Bite

If dogs intend to bite, they will. A dog that wants to hurt will not miss its mark. Well-socialized puppies will not show signs of aggression unless provoked (or there is a health issue). Remember, dogs will do what they must to protect themselves and their pack.

If you’ve adopted a rescue dog, they may be fearful of new people and surroundings. Start training right away to show your pet that you are in charge and will take care of any threats they feel coming their way. Leash training is an excellent way to show you are the protector-in-charge and your new pet has nothing to fear when they’re walking with you.

Train Your Puppy and Minimize the Risk of Bites

Puppy training means puppy manners! When you bring a new puppy into your home, schedule a wellness visit right away. The veterinarians and staff at Arlington Animal Hospital will get your puppy vaccinated so they’re ready to socialize with other puppies and dogs. We will offer resources for training and answer any questions you may have about the benefits of early training.

My Rescue Dog Isn’t Adjusting to Its New Home

Sometimes rescue dogs have trouble adjusting and continue biting. This might happen in the following situations:

  •  The dog barely tolerates petting and is protective of its food.
  • The dog growls when the kids come near.
  • The dog seems ready to bite.

You can’t know how your dog was treated before it came to live with you. Your new pup is reacting from experience and may need help adjusting to your loving home.

Professional Training Is the Answer To Most Doggie Behavior Issues

Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog with unwanted behaviors, now is the time for professional training. The primary cause of aggression in dogs is fear. A professional dog trainer will teach you how to handle your pet so they become more confident and less fearful. There are so many benefits to good dog training:

  • You will learn gentle training techniques so your pet will learn to trust you
  • You’ll learn how to address aggressive behaviors
  •  Good behavior will be rewarded, usually with extra tasty training treats
  •  Life with your puppy, youngster, or adult dog will be easier because your dog will be happier

We’re Here To Help You Have a Healthy, Happy Dog!

At Arlington Animal Hospital, our veterinarians and hospital staff are here to help you keep your pets healthy so they can live happy lives. Be sure to schedule a wellness check for your new family pet.
Call us at (703) 920-5300 with questions or concerns about your new puppy or dog. We’re here for you!