How to Train a Chow Chow to Not Bite

Medium
3-10 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

A friend comes over to visit you. You're sitting together, having a good time, when she suddenly reaches out to pet your Chow Chow. Your normally sweet pup turns and gives your friend a warning nip. Your friend draws back, scared, and you scold your Chow Chow. But a few weeks later, it happens again. Chow Chows are big dogs. A bite from your dog could cause serious damage. All of the sudden, you're nervous. What if my dog really hurts someone?

Defining Tasks

Training your Chow Chow not to bite is very important. Chow Chows were originally bred to hunt and as guard dogs. Due to this background, Chow Chows are highly prone to aggression and can be very territorial of their home and their family. While your pup may be friendly with you, she is more likely to become aggressive with other dogs and unfamiliar visitors. Ideally, Chow Chows should be trained not to bite when they are puppies, but if you have issues with your adult dog biting, training can help.

Getting Started

Chow Chows tend to respond well to positive reinforcement. When training a Chow Chow, be sure to avoid punishment, as it can feed into the natural aggression of your dog. Instead, establish fair but consistent rules about biting and be patient with your pup as she learns the rules of the house.

The Walk Away Method

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Step
1
Dogs are social creatures
Dogs, like wolves, exist in a pack. They crave social interaction and a feeling of acceptance. One method of training your dog is by taking away something she wants: your attention.
Step
2
Play
Start a game with your dog. Play with her until she starts to get riled up. She will probably try to nip or bite your hands as you play. As soon as she causes discomfort, let your hand go limp and remove it from her mouth.
Step
3
Take the fun away
Get up and leave the room immediately. Don't make eye contact with your dog either. Go into another room and close the door. Stay in there for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Step
4
Try again
Start up the game again. Follow the same method as before. If after a few tries, your Chow Chow isn't getting the message, try saying "ouch" or yelping when she bites you to emphasize what behavior is causing you to leave the room.
Step
5
Be consistent
You should always have the same reaction to your Chow Chow biting you. Encourage others in your house or any visitors to do the same. Over time, your pup will learn that biting ends the game and isn't worth doing.
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The Alpha Method

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Step
1
Figure out when your Chow Chow is biting
If your dog tends to bite when you try to make her obey, she may believe she is the alpha of the family. In these cases, establishing yourself as dominant figure in the "pack" can help put an end to biting.
Step
2
Change your demeanor
Pack leaders are confident and don't answer to anyone. When you are around your Chow Chow, stand tall with your shoulders back. Use a deep, firm voice with your dog. Make sure to use a tone of command when you tell her what to do, rather than one that implies a question. Your Chow Chow can tell the difference.
Step
3
Teach your dog that she needs to earn her place in the family
If your dog is already biting, she will probably need more than a change in attitude to stop. Use the 'sit' command to show her that she needs to follow directions get good things, such as treats and praise from you. Do not use physical punishment with your Chow Chow.
Step
4
Make her sit for everything
Make your dog sit before she gets her dinner. Make your dog sit before she goes outside. Make your dog sit before you pet her. This consistency lets her know that there is no free ride and she needs to mind your directions.
Step
5
Keep working until her behavior changes
Over the next few weeks, you should start to see an improvement in the behavior of your Chow Chow. Make sure everyone in your dog's life is consistent with her and makes her sit before giving her treats and affection. Having an aggressive Chow Chow is dangerous to everyone around her. Asserting your place as alpha can help her understand her role in the family and improve her behavior.
Recommend training method?

The Yelping Method

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Step
1
Use nature as a guide
If your Chow Chow was still with his mother and littermates, they would use signals to let each other know when play fighting goes too far. Dogs typically make a yelping nose when something hurts them. You can use a similar noise to indicate to your dog that she is playing too rough.
Step
2
Play
While you are playing with your dog, she may nip at your fingers as part of the game. As soon as she causes you discomfort, yelp loudly and let your hand go limp.
Step
3
Stop the game
Don't pull your hand away immediately, as this action may make your Chow Chow bite down harder. Instead, leave your hand limp until she lets go and then stop playing with her for thirty seconds or so.
Step
4
Return to the game
Go back to playing with your Chow Chow and repeat the same routine again. Be consistent and always react the same way when she nips you. She should start to realize that biting stops the game.
Step
5
No teeth on me
As your dog makes progress, start yelping as soon as her teeth touch you, even if it is gentle. Follow the same routine as before, stopping the game for a set length of time.
Step
6
Reward the behavior you want
Your Chow Chow may begin bringing you a toy in exchange. Reward this behavior with play, but be sure to maintain your boundaries so your dog doesn't get confused about the rules.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Mocha
Chow Chow
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mocha
Chow Chow
1 Year

My sister 's chow had bitten my niece and newphew . The wound was quite bad all have to undergo stitches. Mocha is only 1 yr. He is friendly towards the family. Just don understand why he suddenly attack the kids. He is fine with my sister and brother in law. They just sat beside him and mocha just bitten them

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
419 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jane, It was likely a respect, tolerance issue...put simply he doesn't have any respect for he kids (opposed to adults), he felt uncomfortable next to them, so he decided to respond with aggression to make them move. Chows are unfortunately known to not always give a warning before a bite - that could be behavioral or it might be that the signs they do give are just harder to see with their fur. Either way pup probably lacks respect, impulse control, and tolerance. I wouldn't trust him around kids in the future and would hire professional help to deal with his lack of tolerance, impulse control, and respect around people. It's also possible that there was a toy, object, or person he was guarding at the time that no body saw, and this is a case of resource guarding. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mocha
Chow Chow
1 Year
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Question
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Mocha
Chow Chow
1 Year

Hi Caitlin Crittenden,May I ask How
To bring mocha awareness that bitting is not right ? And also will neutered helps to reduce aggressions. Also say mocha usually slept with me at night and in the day he slept in children’s room at times. Is it best to let him Sleep in living hall ? Will beating worsen for his aggression

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
419 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jane, First, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training, Sean O Shea from the Good Dog, and Thomas from the Canine Educator on YouTube. Aggression is a complex topic that takes a lot of experience and a comprehensive approach. The trainers I have listed have hundreds of videos on the topic if you want to learn more about aggression yourself. Second, whether neutering will help or not depends on the type of aggression. Neutering can decrease testosterone - which can add to aggression, it can decrease competitiveness with other dogs, and generally make training easier, but it will not eliminate the aggression - behavior modification training is what's really needed - neutering might make that training easier though. Third, I don't recommend letting Mocha sleep in the bed with people with aggression going on. My general rule of thumb is that it's only okay to let a dog sleep in your bed if there are no aggression or respect issues and the dog will get off the bed at soon as you say off at all times - since pup has a history of people aggression - no bed. The hallway or in a crate are both fine as long as he won't get into anything out there. Fourth, beating will worsen the aggression. It's important to let pup know that aggression is not acceptable and to have a fair consequence for it, but doing it via beating typically causes human fear aggression and will almost always result in an aggressive dog redirecting their aggression toward you - resulting in a severe bite. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube to see examples of how he (an aggression expert) very calmly corrects dogs in a clear, calm, and safe way without using his hands on the dog. Also, note that Jeff and other experts use positive reinforcement too to teach pup to respond correctly to situations. The corrections are only to stop the unwanted behavior long enough to have the opportunity to teach something better instead, positive reinforcement makes up 50%-90% of the training typically. Good dog training should be proactive and not just reactive - with situations set up to practice the dog's reactions around people in a controlled setting, with safety measures and the ability to correct the dog from a safe place - using things like e-collars or muzzles, then rewarding the dog for all the good reactions - which should out number the bad reactions if the training is done correction. Before you do any of this, typically a foundation of respect is laid out through obedience exercises and strict household rules. The best way to earn a dog's respect is through structure, boundaries, consistency, and training that challenges their minds to think and choose to listen - not physical coercion. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Loki
Chow Chow
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Loki
Chow Chow
4 Months

Only had him for 4 days and he wants to bite and be aggressive when u get to put it on help!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
419 Dog owners recommended

Hello Yvonne, First, I suggest desensitizing him to being touched and handled. Use his daily meal kibble at least once per day to reward him for tolerating being touched. Measure his food out into a Sandwich baggie instead of grabbing it out of his bowl. Gently touch an area of his body that he tolerates best, like his shoulder and while you are touching him, feed him a treat with your other hand. As soon as he finishes the treat, stop touching him. For example: Touch his shoulder and feed a treat. Touch his paw and feed a treat. Touch his ear and feed a treat. Touch his tail and feed a treat. Touch his belly and feed a treat. Repeat touching him all of his body gently, one area at a time while you feed the treats. Be gentle and go slow with this to that he isn't overwhelmed. If he seems nervous about an area, make that area more fun and focus on that area carefully for longer with more treats until he is comfortable with it after several training sessions. Continue to practice this even into adulthood. Practice often until he tolerates touch well, and periodically after that to maintain his tolerance. Also, work on the Leave It command for general biting. If after reading the article linked below, you feel like the biting is not normal puppy biting, but something more severe, hire a professional trainer who is very experienced with different types of aggression to help you. Puppy biting is very normal, but true aggression at this age needs to be addressed as soon as possible because the potential outcome is far better if it is addressed early, and a lot less dangerous to work on before 6 months of age - since dogs' jaws get stronger starting at 5-8 months of age generally. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Thank you very much Caitlin I will try all that and let you know how he gets on

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Question
Sim
Chow Pei
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sim
Chow Pei
3 Years

My dog has currently bitten 4 people one , when he was a pup. And two within the last month. I have treated my dog like a king, and maybe that’s where I screwed up. I took him to training when he was little, and kept doing other training things at home as in sit, stay and come. Etc.. me and my husband are currently thinking of putting him down.. but I feel like I failure if I do so. I know he will continue to bite, after everything I have read. He also is not neutered . My goal was eventually to find him a girl friend and sell the pups since he is AKC registered. Anyways. I need major help. I don’t know who to go to .. I don’t Know what I should do... simply HELP! He’s a great chow!! One of the best chows you’d ever meet! Guaranteed!!! But lately he’s just been very aggressive not to me and my husband but to everyone else around.. I don’t know what to do!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
419 Dog owners recommended

Hello Valerie, I suggest checking out solidk9training.com. See if there is a weekend workshop within any nearby states happening that you could attend with your dog. The trainer, Jeff Gellman does board and train, Skype sessions, and weekend workshops in a few states that he travels to. I would find a trainer like that who specializes in aggression. He may not be beyond help but it will be a lot of work and you need the right person to work with him and you - most trainers are not experienced with multiple types of aggression. You will also need to continue a lot of structure in his life once the aggression is addressed. He probably can't be given as much freedom to do whatever he wants - he needs to be told how to respond in situations, but with the right management it might be something you could address. Without evaluating him in person I can't really say one way or the other though. Even if the aggression improves with help, I do NOT suggest breeding him - temperament is inherited and he may produce aggressive puppies who tend to be suspicious of strangers also. Sean O Shea from the Good Dog may also be closer to you, or Thomas from America's Canine Educator www.SolidK9training.com - Jeff Gellman https://thegooddog.net/ - Sean O'Shea https://www.americascanineeducator.com/ - Thomas All three of these trainers have Youtube channels showing their work also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Hi Caitlin,
I’ve recently got a chow pup who’s very loving, loyal and affectionate already. He follows me wherever he goes and always looks to me for reassurance. If I stop walling when my partner has him on the lead he will refuse to move until I’m by him. However, over the last couple of days he’s began biting. It’s only soft play biting at the moment but it’s becoming more frequent. I’ve started yelping when he does so and moving myself onto the sofa out of his reach and ignoring him. Is there anything else we can do? Thanks

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