YOUR DOGUE DE BORDEAUX & PLAY BITING
Did you know that boys between the ages of 5 to 9 are bitten by dogs more than any other group of people? 5 times more, to be exact. Why? Because they’re boisterous, aggressive, and seething with energy. In other words, they act a lot like young dogs, and young dogs bite each other when they play.
As we all know, animals play much rougher than people do. This isn’t so much of a problem when they’re playing among themselves. They have thick fur that protects them from each other’s teeth. People, on the other hand, have vulnerable, hairless, soft skin. Adult dogs seem to understand this, but puppies don’t. It is easy for them to get carried away and forget who they are playing with.
Dogues de Bordeaux from 6 months to 2 years old do the most play biting. Like humans teenagers, they have more energy and A LOT more strength than judgment. Plus, they’re constantly testing boundaries. Even if you Dogue de Bordeaux knows he isnot supposed to bite, he will still try just to see what happens.
Typically, a Dogue de Bordeaux pup will play bite when there are people running around and getting worked up. Once he is sufficiently stimulated, caught up in the camaraderie and competition, he can forget all good manners and do naughty things like jumping on people, knocking over lamps, and biting.
That’s How My Mama Raised Me
Puppies begin their good manners training while still inthe whelping box. Mom and the other puppies in the litter have a very effective way of discouraging bites. They bite back! And harder! It doesn’t take the pup long to learn that biting invariably invites stronger bites in return. By the time they are 8 weeks old, most pups have learned that biting their elders and playmates is a bad idea, even when playing.Most of them carry this knowledge into their human families.
This isn’t always easy to do, mainly because of instinct: Puppies have an instinct to bite and people have an instinct to swat the offending muzzle. This teaches dogs two things, says Dr. John Wright, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist; professor of psychology at Mercer University in Macon, GA. “They find they can stop someone from swatting them by biting their hands and holding them. Second, they may decide that any hands coming toward them are fair game for biting.”
Any training your Dogue de Bordeaux puppy receives while he is with us can easily be reversed if you allow him to get away with bad behaviors such as:
Mouthing ANY part of your body at ANY time (even if he is being gentle)
Biting your clothes during play
Playing with your puppy when he is being aggressive, growling, or when he’s too excited
Giving affection (physical or verbal) when your puppy is overexcited
Playing rough with your puppy
These behaviors left unchecked WILL lead to big problems down the road. The number one thing you can do to prevent play biting and subsequent behavior problems is to TEACH YOUR DOGUE DE BORDEAUX TO BE GENTLE!
Most dogs give signals before they bite someone, says Dr. Wright. However, most people are not observant enough to catch the hints their pooch is giving.
During play, if your Dogue de Bordeaux gets progressively mouthier and mouthier, he will eventually clamp down. More often, bites occur when dogs are sick of playing. You may see him look away from whoever is trying to engage them. Or they’ll turn their backs or lie down and try to ignore what’s going on. Do NOT ignore these not-so-subtle hints! Your Dogue de Bordeaux is DONE.
Dr. Wright goes on to explain that some dogs bite because they do not like the way someone is playing. For example, people have the absurd inclination to pull dogs’ ears or to roll them over and pin them down when they’re wrestling. Some dogs will NOT stand for this. “Dogs are smart enough to figure out that biting is a quick and easy way to stop games that aren’t fun,” says Dr. Wright.
Additionally, parents of young children should teach their young ones the appropriate way to play with their Dogue de Bordeaux. And young children should not be left alone with their Dogue de Bordeaux. This is for the dog’s protection. Never allow your child to be rough and heavy handed, which in effect is abuse. Your Dogue de Bordeaux may bite if he is tired of being “abused.”
Talk like Mom.
Since Dogues de Bordeaux tend to bite when they’re acting childish, you can often stop them by acting motherish. Give a low, authoritative GRRRR. Dogs hear this sound a lot when they’re puppies. They take Mom’s threats seriously, and memories of her warnings stay with them. Growls get their attention and make them think twice about what they’re doing. his method works especially well with young Dogues.
Turn your back.
If you want to communicate to your Dogue de Bordeaux that you don’t approve of the way he is playing, STOP MOVING, extricate whatever part of you he has in his mouth, and turn your back to him. This signal is read loud and clear by your dog that you are unhappy and will not play if he continues that behavior.
To teach your puppy that his mouth on human skin is not okay at all, use redirection. When he tries to mouth you, pull your hand away before contact, then wave around a chewy toy until he bites that.
Play at your level.
Dogs love it when humans crouch down on the ground to play with them on their level. They go absolutely bonkers for it! However, a word of caution, Dogues de Bordeaux are a dominant breed, even as puppies. Seeing a person on all fours may make them think they’re dealing with a doglike equal, one whom it’s perfectly acceptable to play bite.
On the other hand, dogs have a natural respect for height. Keeping your head and shoulders higher than your Dogue’s will help him understand YOU are the one he needs to respect, not the one he’s allowed to bite.