One bad stereotype that occurs with poodles that sometimes comes true is that these dogs bite. In fact, run a quick Google search of “poodle bite,” and you will see many photos of these otherwise adorable dogs looking rather aggressive.
Granted, the Standard poodle is great at hunting and retrieving, but the toy and mini varieties of this breed are not so good at this. However, the ability to bite and pick up things and hold them in their mouths still remains.
In this article, we will discuss How to train A Poodle Not to Bite.
The Reason Behind Poodles Biting
The first step in knowing How to Train A Poodle Not to Bite is to understand why they bite in the first place.
Poodles tend to bite a lot more than other dog breeds do. They love to bite toys, and the love of doing this is innate. If you do not correct this behavior during the puppy years, they will continue to do it even when they reach adulthood.
It should be noted that a dog of any breed, age or size can bite. It all depends on the situation the dog is in-if they are pushed to the limit and feel threatened, they will bite.
How to Train A Poodle Not to Bite. Are they stressed?
A bite is largely due to a reaction over something. If your dog is stressed, it may bite as a means of defense. If a dog is started or has been scared, they may bite because their security and safety are threatened. If somebody or something comes near an object or being they care about, like puppies or a toy, they may bite.
biting during play is common, too. nipping during the act of play might be fun for your pup, but it is dangerous to people, especially children who play with the dog. Try to stay away from play such as wrestling or tug o’ war with your poodle, as they may get way too excited and accidentally bite you.
Poodles are stubborn but very smart. You must bring your patience and your consistency when you work on training these dogs. After all, these are not aggressive dogs by any means, but they can learn to be aggressive if not socialized properly.
Biting Due To Medical Issues
Is your dog biting himself, or maybe biting at the air for no reason?
This could be a sign of a bigger problem that you need to address.
So long as your dog has normal vision, the act of “fly biting behavior” or when a dog snaps at the air as if attempting to grab a flying insect is likely the reason behind a partial seizure in dogs.
This is caused by abnormal activity within a small part of the dog’s brain. Partial seizures are not the only reason behind the act of fly biting, but they are a common one. Seven dogs studied at the University of Montreal that demonstrated fly biting behavior were all diagnosed with some sort of GI (gastrointestinal) disease, such as inflammation of the GI tract, a distended or flaccid stomach, and gastro-esophageal reflux to name just a few issues.
When the dogs were treated, five of them stopped fly biting altogether. One of the two that did not was diagnosed with a disease of the neurological variety, and had to be given seizure medication. GI treatment drugs did yield a favorable response. Meanwhile, the seventh dog’s owners opted out of all treatments, and his behavior remained unchanged.
Therefore, if your dog is biting but not in the sense you might think, do get him to a vet right away for help.
Meanwhile, dogs that bite themselves might be suffering from anything from allergies all the way to boredom to simply feeling pain. Parasites may also be the reasoning behind a dog biting at himself, trying to achieve some sort of relief.
Make sure your poodle is not bored or anxious. Humans with anxiety may bite nails, drum their fingers or tug at their clothing when they feel this way. Dogs can deal with this by excessively licking or scratching, and sometimes chewing.
As a poodle-owner, you will get to know your dog inside and out. Be sure to watch them as you feed them, play with them, and walk them to see if anything seems “off” and call the vet for an appointment if you feel anything is not right.
Socialization: The Way To Train A Poodle Not To Bite
Socialisation of your poodle is going to be the number one way that you can keep your dog. By socializing them in many different situations, you can teach them to be comfortable in any kind of setting. It is best to do this during the puppy years, but we do have a section for people who have an older poodle. Always be sure your dog is on a leash when out in public for safe socialization.
So, how exactly do you go about socializing a dog?
- Daily Walks-Always make sure you are taking your pup out for a daily walk or jaunt at the dog park. By doing this, your pup will get used to seeing cars, people, kids, even birds, and cats walking around. Everybody from a UPS driver going about his work to a child who wishes to pet the dog will not be a pain point for your poodle, and this is a big step in ensuring they don’t bite.
- All Kinds Of People-Part of making sure your poodle doesn’t bite is showing him around all kinds of people of varying sizes and genders. If your dog only is around your family or just yourself, they may think others are something to be avoided. Therefore, set up puppy play dates and see if you can bring your dog to family functions or other places dogs are welcome. Gently introduce them to new people and only allow pats where hands can be visible, such as the top of the head.
- Start Early. Socialize your poodle puppy around ages 3 to 12 weeks. Have them experience people that are unfamiliar to them, dressed wearing different clothing like hoods, sunglasses or hats. Allow them to be gently petted on their ears and tail. Have them experience water such as a lake or pool. Take them to new spots, like the woods. Get them familiar with vehicles and car rides. Cats should also be introduced, as many people allow their cats outdoors, and your poodle should learn that they are not prey.
Keep in mind that after 18 weeks of age, it becomes markedly more difficult to socialize your dog. It is not impossible, but it does get harder. Therefore, start early and have your pup go wherever possible.
I Have An Older Poodle. How Can I Teach Them Not to Bite?
Older poodles that we adopt later in their lives may be trained to stop biting, but this requires you to be the “alpha” dog and show your dominance.
Older poodles will already see you as the alpha, so use this to your advantage. Begin by laying down the law about feeding, potty, and walking times. Schedule these out, so your dog always knows what to expect.
Next, make sure that you teach your poodle basic manners. Be sure that you avoid play that encourages biting, such as tug of war. Allowing your poodle to chase you around is also not recommended, as the poodle may see this as hunting and take the opportunity to bite.
For some older dogs, asking for help from a professional trainer may be the way to go. In some situations, dogs may need therapy to help them overcome a harsh past and lack of proper socialization. You should also see a vet be sure that medical reasons are not the cause of your older poodle’s biting.
If you find for any reason you are having trouble socializing your puppy, or feel you do not have the time to do so due to family or work circumstances, it is highly advised you hire a dog sitter or specialist, or have a friend or family member help with socializing your dog.
Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered. This is healthier for your dog and will lower their aggression. Never let your dog off his lead in public. And if you start to notice your dog is stressed, be sure to get them out of the situation and to a safe space where you can reassure them.
Lastly, always reward your dog for good behavior. As you socialize, offer a treat and tell her how good she is being.
Training your poodle not to bite is not hard, but you will need to be patient and start early. With enough training, your dog will be gentle around everybody.