If your dog shows signs of aggressive behavior like nipping, it's important to correct it before someone gets seriously bitten. An out-of-control pet is definitely not the environment you want for your children. While some breeds are deliberately bred for protection, it's still possible to train them.
Why Dogs Bite
There is almost always a reason why your dog nips or bites. Some dogs are simply reacting out of fear or anxiety, so biting is a defensive reflex. If a dog has a medical condition, it can also be in pain and doesn't want to be touched. When it comes to small children, some dogs can have an overpowering prey instinct, while young dogs may be trying to establish a pecking order. With strangers, it's usually because a dog is defending its territory or family.
Boredom and frustration can also lead to anxiety. Dogs are social animals and it's important to encourage human-animal interaction from an early age. They need to be part of the family. If you don't have time for a dog, you shouldn't own one. Allow your pet plenty of exercise and playtime to burn off pent-up energy. Teach the animal important commands like 'sit' or 'stay'. Give them chew toys to focus their nervous energy on.
Train Firmly and Consistently
Physical punishment will tend to make them fearful and more anxious. A stern, assertive warning or loud noise at the first hint of bad behavior is usually enough. Dogs can tell your emotion from your tone. It's important to be consistent. Overlooking incorrect behavior, or giving them treats to distract them, will only encourage them to act inappropriately. Don't allow children to wrestle with larger dogs or play tug-of-war games that could lead to dominance issues.
Some dogs are aggressive by nature, or may bond excessively with a single person. If your dog shows warning signs, consider having them spayed or neutered. Be sure to keep the animal on a chain when there are visitors, and never leave them alone with small children or small animals. Make sure that family members and guests know to give the dog some space and privacy if it seems stressed. If anyone in your home is bitten, have them seek medical attention and file a police report in case legal issues result. In that case, you should also consider talking your situation over with a legal representative, like those from Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC.
Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year in the US, often resulting in injury and lawsuits. Your dog's behavior is your responsibility.