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What Can You Do about Dogs that Bite?

Once a dog bites a human, it’s highly likely that the dog could bite again.

Biting is one of many natural defense tools for a dog. Depending on the situation it finds itself in, any dog will either fight, flee or freeze to protect itself. Dogs with higher natural prey drives can be more likely to opt for biting. Regardless of the breed, if biting achieves the dog’s need to protect itself, it will remember this as being an effective survival tool. Even if the dog is not in danger, if it perceives there is a threat, it will quickly draw upon its arsenal of survival mechanisms and use the one that has proven to be most effective at warding off danger.

How Professional Dog Training Can Help

I got a call one day from a woman whose Newfoundland would chase down runners and bite them.  This is not normal behavior for Newfies, because the breed is generally a gentle but strong working dog that does not have a high prey drive. The owner was devastated because of her concerns for her children as well as anyone she might encounter when out walking with the dog. She wanted to be able to exercise her dog off leash in the woods to run and enjoy its natural behavior of seeking and playing with other dogs.

After talking with the owner, I learned that the dog’s defensive behavior was due to an encounter in which a runner had responded aggressively to the dog. This incident imprinted itself on the Newfie, bringing out its natural defensive and protective response whenever it saw other joggers and runners. Because the owner had done basic training when the dog was younger, after a brief evaluation I decided we should move into advanced off leash training with an e-collar.  It was our last resort because, except for when the Newfie’s prey drive kicked in for runners, the owner was able to control her.

We did the training through the winter months, and the dog changed from the worst Newfie they ever owned to their best-trained Newfie ever. I’m so glad the owner contacted me about Atlantic K9 training! All too often, when owners encounter this kind of inappropriate behavior, they either ignore it (thereby making the situation worse), or they put the pet up for adoption because they assume the problem is irrevocable. It’s never too late for a dog to receive training. Adult dog training is not only effective, but it’s also very useful to help refresh skills in a dog that was trained as a pup.

The Commitment of Dog Owners is Key

I always like to say that good owners make good pets. The loving commitment of this Newfie’s owners—including their decision to seek professional dog training assistance—made it possible for everyone in the family to stop fearing the worst, and to give this beautiful dog a chance to enjoy life and its surroundings to the max.

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