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A Small Dog Teething People

Today, I want to focus on one problem a survey responder has with his small dog. That problem is teething. He said his small dog does not really bite, but tends to mouth or nibble people. Some people call this behavior corn cobbing because it resembles nibbling an ear of corn.

Learned in Puppyhood

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In dogs, teething behavior is a carry-over from puppyhood. Puppies tend to explore their environment in two ways: via their noses, and via their mouths. Typically, a puppy will sniff an object first, then test further with it's mouth.

Puppies, like children do not inherently know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. They have to learn the rules of the house from the person in charge. If a puppy never learns that corn-cobbing people is inappropriate, it will continue this behavior right into adulthood.

Take Action:

So what's the solution? You can use the same technique you would use to teach a dog to not bite. And here it is.

1. Entice the dog to nibble your hand.

2. As soon as the dog begins to nibble, let out a loud yelp as though you are seriously injured, and quickly pull your hand away.

3. Next, go stand in the corner and face the wall. (I know this is going to feel foolish, but it's important to over-react so your dog clearly gets the message that teething is inappropriate.) If you do it correctly, it is likely your dog will come over to console you.

It's Silly and It Works

This bit of drama, which seems silly to humans, is something your dog will take very seriously. If you have any reservations, or sense of embarrassment about such intense play-acting, try to do it when no one is at home except you and your dog. I guarantee you, your dog will not laugh. He will probably feel pretty bad that he caused you pain. In fact, this technique is so reliable, you will probably only need to do it once or twice for your dog to stop teething permanently.

One last thought. Dogs are not generalists. Simply because they learn to stop teething you does not necessarily mean they will learn the rule applies to other people. You may need to have others in your household do the same routine in order for your dog to get the message that it is inappropriate to mouth anyone.

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Resources

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Posted in Home Post Date 07/12/2018


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