ASK THE EX­PERT

When my four-month-old Sealy­ham Ter­rier plays with my other dogs, she al­ways goes for their legs or tails, of­ten caus­ing them to bruise. I’ve scolded her many times, but it doesn’t al­ways work. What can I do to make her stop?

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents -

Our es­teemed ex­perts of­fer their ad­vice.

When dogs play and in­ter­act with other ca­nines, they of­ten tar­get the neck, legs and tail. It is in­stinc­tual and not wrong for your puppy to do so. How­ever, if it causes bruis­ing to the other dogs, it means that your puppy is nip­ping a lit­tle too hard and does not know his own bite strength. I am also as­sum­ing your other furkids did not give the puppy a “tellingoff” for her hard bites. Typ­i­cally, when a young pup plays with other dogs, they will feed­back to the lit­tle one what is ac­cept­able and un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour. How­ever, should the other ca­nines not feed­back on this, paw-rents will have to step in with train­ing.

Four months is the per­fect age to start teach­ing soft mouth or bite in­hi­bi­tion. Play­ing with the same group of dogs in the same house­hold is not enough for your puppy to learn bite in­hi­bi­tion. Your young furkid should be meet­ing new dogs at this point (so­cial­i­sa­tion), es­pe­cially pup­pies of the same age. The more in­ter­ac­tion she gets with other dogs, the bet­ter she will learn—es­pe­cially if those dogs feed­back to her that she is nip­ping too hard. The pooch on the re­ceiv­ing end may in­di­cate to his overzeal­ous play­mate that she’s too rough by yelp­ing or snap­ping at her, or he may just lose in­ter­est in play­ing with her.

You can also step in when­ever the sit­u­a­tion re­quires you to. In the event you see that she is get­ting too bois­ter­ous with your other dogs, walk right up to them and firmly tell her, “That’s enough”, and iso­late her tem­po­rar­ily from the rest. It would be ideal if she’s placed away from your other dogs as this will teach her that should she play this rough, she will not get to play at all. When she calms down suf­fi­ciently, you can al­low her to re-join her pack. Re­peat if nec­es­sary.

Ex­pert: Mau­reen Tay Cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sional Dog Trainer – Knowl­edge As­sessedAVA-ac­cred­ited Dog TrainerAs­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Dog Train­ers Pet Pro­fes­sional GuildKasPup UniFURsity

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