How to Train a Chow Chow to Not Bite

How to Train a Chow Chow to Not Bite
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-10 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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?

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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.

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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.

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The Walk Away Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Alpha Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Yelping Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Christina Gunning

Published: 03/05/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Snickers

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Golden Retriver Chow

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7

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Question

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He bites without warning. He has bitten my 4 teen/adult sons, me and today my wife who has always seemed to be his favorite. We had him on Fluoxetine but due to cost and vet bills have not had him on it for a couple months. His demanding and frequency of asking for treats has risen and my wife has obliged. I was in the laundry room (where his kennel is) doing laundry and she was in the next room raising the blinds when he came from behind and bit her hand pretty badly. I fear we are at a point of some permanent actions, nit seeing any courses for change.

March 28, 2023

Snickers's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, With unprovoked aggression from behind can be related to a genetic issue. I would contact a behaviorist, who is someone who not only understands training but actually went to school to study how an animal's brain works - they are sort of like the in between of your vet and a trainer. Someone who is very experienced with aggression and has a degree as an animal behaviorist would be a good person to evaluate him in person, to determine whether this is something like possessiveness, resource guarding, anxiety or fear, ect... or something that's more rooted in physiology, and what can be done based on what they learn. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 28, 2023

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Archie

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chow/golden retiever

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Nine Years

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Question

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We rescued a 9 year old golden retriever/chow mix who had to be removed from a home with 37 other dogs. He doesn't like abrupt movements or feet. Unprovoked he has bitten our 9 year old niece in the back of the leg and just now as I was walking him he jumped up an nipped a 15 year old girl who was coming at us just walking down the street, also unprovoked. Obviously he is great with my husband and I. We both work from home and are home all day. Please help!

Feb. 2, 2023

Archie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, using measures like crating and desensitizing him to the muzzle are important first steps - the kids are first priority and need to be kept safe, and being allowed to act aggressive toward them will make the behavior in him worse also. Get him used to a crate and muzzle so those things can be used when kids around around and during training, as safety measures. If introduced properly neither the crate or muzzle have to be super stressful for pup. Check out the videos linked below on desensitizing aggressive dogs to kids. Notice the safety measures always taken though and be sure to implement similar measures - crates, back tie leash, lines for the kids not to cross, constant adult supervision anytime there is an interaction between the kids and dog, and a basket muzzle. You can work on teaching pup to respect the kids and be more comfortable around them via desensitizing and their respect for you and your rules. Once pup is doing well, I still would not allow him to be around the kids without a lot of structure and precautions in case since pup does have a history of biting - but training needs to be in place so that bites are no longer the norm. Just know that even when pup does well, they shouldn't be completely trusted still since they have shown a lack of impulse control around kids and could bite. I would find a trainer who is able to do such training with very careful safety measures for any kids' present's safety sake. Explanation of why dogs often bite kids (the dog in this video who is closer to the kids doesn't have aggression issues - which is why you don't see the extra precautions taken, like in the rest of the videos I have linked - extra safety measures will be needed when practicing with a known biter - such as a muzzle, back tie leash, crate, and greater distance between pup and kid): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7_0ZqiJ1zE&t=122s Use of crate, Place and tether leash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 The dog is attached to the pole with a secure leash while on Place - notice the tape on the ground the kid knows not to cross - to keep the kid out of the dog's reach in case the dog lunges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gblDgIkyAKU Teaching dog to move away from kids when uncomfortable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYs76puesAE Later stage, up close desensitization - even though kids are close, there is still a line and pup is still on a back-tie leash so that pup can't actually get to kids to bite if they tried...This is a later stage exercise for pup once they can do well with the other above scenarios, and I do not recommend doing this now in your case. This is just an example to see the progression of improvement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 3, 2023


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