You Taste Horrible; Aversive Dog/Puppy Training for Mouthing
I get lots of complaints about young dogs and puppies that have biting or mouthing problems! Whereas I have written a few articles on the subject, I thought it best to write another with yet another point of view and one I don’t normally tend toward; aversive training.
A good dog trainer should have limitless tricks of the trade to use when needed, and this one is especially good for mouthy puppies! And, it is important to note that it is not aversive in a painful or frightening way! I would never recommend true aversive training; this is simply a bit of a mind game.
Aversive training is defined by the online encyclopedia as a form of behavior training or modification in which a noxious event is used to punish or extinguish undesirable behavior. I hate the word punishment, because punishment comes after the fact and is not effective even on humans who understand it (dogs don’t understand punishment)! But I do embrace the idea of “noxious event” because that is what I am shooting for in this scenario.
The first step is to redirect a mouthy puppy by giving him appropriate toys, or other things to chew on.
If that doesn’t work, crying out like a littermate or another puppy and whining is often effective to stop the offensive behavior!
If neither of those work, removing yourself from the situation and stopping all play is usually especially effective! As a matter of fact, the reason most puppies mouth, bite and chew on us is because they want to play with us; so if you remove the motivating factor you often extinguish the behavior!
Biting or teeth coming out = no interaction is usually enough to stop most puppies from biting. But you MUST be consistent!!! You can’t remove yourself sometimes and not others. For example, I don’t care what dramatic event you are witnessing on TV (Superbowl, or “Say Yes to the Dress) , you must get up and leave the room when your pup begins to bite you!! Consistency is the key!
If all of these techniques fail; then I recommend this simple bit of aversive training:
You must teach your dog that you taste AWFUL and therefore putting his mouth on you is the LAST thing he wants to do! If your puppy thinks you are simply grotesque in the tasty department, he won’t put his mouth on you anymore = problem solved.
How Do You Achieve Total Nastiness in the Taste Department?
You use a bitter spray or lotion on your skin or clothing. Lotion is better and lasts longer but the bitter sprays can be quite effective as well, you must just reapply more often. Not all bitter sprays are created equal and some dogs don’t mind some but hate others…you may have to shop around. My favorite is the true “Bitter Apple” spray and lotion.
If you are consistent about applying your dog should stop mouthing you in a matter of days, however if you are inconsistent you will continue to have problems because your dog will never know when you taste bad and when you taste good! So, be consistent and apply often.
This is extremely simple and usually incredibly effective! Remember to redirect and praise your pup when his teeth are not on your skin.
Exercise and dog obedience training is also crucial to curb any bad behavior, a tired dog is a good dog! And, a dog that is use to obedience is less likely to put his teeth on you!
Last but not least….WASH YOUR HANDS before eating or you too will experience some aversive tastes!
For more information check out one of my older blogs on the subject Help For Your Land Shark
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.