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Suppressing a behaviour by force - a good idea or not?

Suppressing a behaviour by force - such as when vets and vet nurses recommend holding a puppy's nose and telling him 'No bite' is likely quite painful.

Although a puppy may have temporarily stopped biting to avoid being hurt by his owner in the future, he will have no idea why he is being treated so roughly.

Simultaneously uttering a guttural command or threat (i.e."No biting" = If you bite again I'll hurt you again, and this time for longer ) in English - or Swahili - mistakenly assumes a puppy is a mind reader or can miraculously understand a particular human language.

There is no guarantee that the biting won’t happen later in life if, for instance, somebody accidentally steps on his tail.

What many people don't realise is that biting is an invitation to play and when littermates continuously do so they mouth and bite each other all the time. If one puppy bites another too hard the game ends as the bitten puppy yelps and moves away; so if the biter wants to play again he needs to solve the problem himself by modifying the force of the bite and not to do it so hard the next time. This is a continuous and VERY necessary learning process throughout puppyhood, adolescence and adulthood. 

When a puppy leaves his mother and siblings he sees humans as his only playmates. We have sensitive skins and so need to teach our puppies that biting people is not acceptable. But for it to be a self taught lesson, and therefore one remembered for the rest of life, this is best done if taught without force or fear. And it should taught from eight weeks of age - really good breeders do so even younger - in little steps while puppies still have sharp little teeth but weak jaws that can’t yet do serious damage.
 
So step one in teaching proper bite inhibition is that hard bights end the game. Owners who yelp indignantly, like another puppy would, and walk away without saying a single word simply end the fun. The 'punishment' for the puppy is the removal of any attention and the game ending. Step two is that moderate bites end the game, step three is that light bites end the game and the final step is that touching human skin, even if accidentally as when puppies get overexcited, ends the game.

A shouted command ‘NO Biting’ might well startle a puppy so that he stops doing it but, no matter whether it is said in English or any other language, it doesn't teach him what else to DO instead.
 
Any well intentioned person who advocates the use of force or shouting to prevent perfectly natural behaviours could get you and your dog into great trouble!
 
A puppy, with his needle sharp teeth but weak jaws, will not be adequately educated in relation to having in-built good bite inhibition. He will soon become an adult dog with blunter teeth but much stronger jaws that are capable of inflicting serious damage.
 
If he bites it will be probably be a hard one hard because his owner followed incorrect advice that inadvertently prevented him from having the opportunity to learn to give an inhibited bite. Puppies that have not learned bite inhibition often grow into adult dogs who one day, years away sometimes, attack somebody and end up on the evening TV news and are generally destroyed the next day.

 DogbitesAug1