Canine Behavior/dog bitting
hey, this is Rishab Sharma. I have an American pitbull(black). can you tell me some ways to make his personality calm . he even has a habit of chewing the hands . he even gets ove-excited some times . his age is just 1.5 months .
Thank you for your question and the very cute picture of your pup. He is just 6 weeks old. He's a puppy and puppies have several bursts of energy every day. Usually in the first 1-2 hours of being awake and at some point between dinner and bedtime. They will often have 1 or more bursts of energy throughout the day, though these tend to last a shorter amount of time than the morning and evening one.
These are normal and expected for puppies. Your best option there is to manage these high energy bursts by having scheduled play time, walk time, training time, etc. so that you can direct his energy. If you do not provide any structure for that energy, he will find ways to expend it himself - running, pulling, playing tug, digging, chewing, etc. These are normal dog activities and so he will entertain himself with these if you do not engage him in play that suits your preference.
Puppies explore their environment with their mouth the way babies grab hold of things. He will continue to learn how to use his mouth and how to control the force of his bite over the next few months. We can help him learn that biting too hard ends play time by being consistent in our response. This does not require striking him or confining him away. But it does require that you stop the game (bring your hands to your chest, turn your head away from him so you're not looking him in the face, possibly turning your back on him or even leaving the room and putting a closed door between you and the puppy) for 10-30 seconds before starting a game again. Make sure you always have appropriate options (toys) that he is allowed to put his mouth on, and when he bites you, interrupt the game and then when you start again, make sure the toy is the focus of his mouthing. Don't just give him the toy and walk away. You have to play with him with the toy so that the toy is interesting and exciting for him to bite at - then praise him for choosing to bite the toy rather than you. It won't always work. There will be moments when your puppy is determined that your hand or ankle or arm is the best tug toy in the world! Quietly interrupt that game and redirect him to something else. This is not a quick fix - he's just a baby. it will take many weeks of being consistent in that process. But, once you create the routine of how you are going to respond, it will be second nature to you and you won't feel like you're going out of your way to do this.
You have a bit of a long road ahead with such a young puppy. Puppy-hood lasts until the dog is about 3 years old. His behavior will change over that time, just as a toddler's behavior is different from a teenager's, and the teen's behavior is different than that of a young adult.
I strongly, strongly encourage you to read some books on raising puppies to help guide you to the best practices to teach your pup how you'd like him to behave while creating a strong bond of trust between you.
Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy and Well Behaved Dog
, by Dr. Ian Dunbar (world renowned veterinary behaviorist and founder of the American Association for Professional Dog Trainers).
Or you can get the shorter version that is just for the After You Get Your Puppy
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy off Right
, Dr. Sophia Yin - world renowned veterinary behaviorst
These are excellent resources that will explain your puppy's behavior and walk you through various training exercises and management options to help your puppy learn how to be the best puppy he can be.
If there are any group puppy classes that focus on using force free and fear free training methods - and that are held indoors in a sterilized environment (to prevent diseases your pup has not yet been vaccinated against), I strongly encourage you to attend as having some in-person assistance for how to respond appropriately to certain behaviors will go a long way to help you feel a little more in charge of how puppy plays, without resorting to harsh methods that may cause pain or fear in your puppy.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
1. Every interaction is a training interaction. This means that each time you interact with your puppy, you are telling him how he's allowed to interact with you. So, if you don't want him jumping on you or guests, then you can not allow him to do so some of the time and expect him to not do it other times. The options are to teach him to Sit for greetings and physical contact, or to put the jumping up behavior on cue and only engage with him when he does it on request - removing your physical contact and attention if he jumps at any time without first being invited.
2. Teaching your dog what you WANT him to do is far easier than correcting him each time he does something you don't want him to do.
3. Using force free and fear free methods to set your dog up for success and rewarding him for doing things you like will build a strong bond with a foundation in trust. Your dog will respond to you because he enjoys the interaction and because he has learned that doing so is rewarding. Conversely, using corrections and punishment creates a dog who responds out of fear of consequences, not because he trusts you or enjoys your relationship with him.
Puppyhood can be a stressful time because the puppy is just learning how to be a dog, and also how he needs to act in a world for a different species. We're asking him to learn a culture far different from his own and to ignore many of his own species appropriate behaviors. But, it can also be a very rewarding time when approached from a place of love and patience. I hope you are able to use the above mentioned books to begin your journey of helping this dog learn to be a great dog for you.
Please feel free to followup if I can be of any further assistance.
Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behavior Specialist