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Your larger-than-life Pomeranian has a huge personality, despite their small stature. They have more energy than your young children and that’s saying something! You love having your little fuzzball around, however, they are developing a rather concerning habit, they bite during play. Now, this appears to be just playful mouthing, but you know it could well develop into something more serious.
Therefore, training your Pom to stop biting during play is essential. You want to be able to play fetch, tug of war and roll around with them without coming away with bite marks. If the biting continues they could end up becoming aggressive in other scenarios and provoking a reaction from a bigger, stronger dog, which could at the very least result in expensive vet bills. But because they are small, a fight with another dog could even result in them losing their life.
Training a Pomeranian to stop play biting isn’t always as easy as you’d hope. For example, if the habit has developed over many years then breaking it can take time. The first thing you will need to do is enforce a number of deterrence measures. Secondly, you will need to introduce play where the dog's energy is channeled safely. Finally, you will need to get them associating gentle play with positive consequences.
If your Pomeranian is a puppy they should still be learning the rules and be fairly receptive. You could see results in just a week. However, if they are older with years of bite play under their collar, then you may need several weeks. Get training right and you won’t have to worry about your kids being nipped while playing with the family pooch. Nor will you have to stress about the biting developing into more serious and consistent aggression.
Before you start work, you will need to gather a few things. Stock up on treats and have handy a water spray bottle or a deterrence collar. Some toys and food puzzles will also be required.
Set aside a few minutes each day for training and try to be as vigilant as possible the rest of the time. You may also want to invest in a muzzle until training yields results.
Once you have the above, just bring patience and a can-do attitude, then you can get to work!
The Deterrence Method
Cut out play
As soon as the dog bites or get aggressive, stop playing. They need to know that if they act like this they will not get what they want. It’s also important you do not laugh or giggle. This will confuse them and set back the end result.
Whenever your Pom bites, give a firm ‘NO’ near their face. Be stern but don’t terrify them Scaring them may only make them more aggressive.
Carry a water spray bottle with you at all times. If the stern ‘NO’ doesn’t do the job, give a quick spray of water near the face. This will soon get them associating biting with negative consequences.
For a remote option, fit your dog with a deterrent collar. Simply hit the button whenever they bite, growl or look like they are about to play bite. An unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted that will certainly make them think twice next time.
Remove the toy
If it is a particular toy that gets them worked up and aggressive, remove it as soon as they bite. Over time this will teach them that such behavior will only cause them to lose their beloved toy.
The Safe Play Method
Your Pomeranian may be play biting because they are getting wound up and frustrated. So make sure they have a secure place they can escape to. A bed or crate with three walls around it is ideal. This is particularly important if the dog is just a puppy and you have young children around who may pester them.
Try not to get too worked up when you play with the dog. Stay calm and quiet and try to keep things relaxed. If you get too animated you will only get them overly excited which may lead to biting.
Whenever they play without biting, give the dog a reward. You can also quietly give them some verbal praise. It’s important they start to associate gentle play with positive treats and rewards.
It may seem disconnected, but your Pom may be biting because they simply have so much energy to get rid of when they play. So try taking them out for a longer walk or playing fetch for a few minutes each day. If they are tired they should remain a bit calmer and less likely to bite.
Don’t terrify the dog
It’s also important you don’t frighten them. Shouting too loudly may only make them more aggressive and potentially dangerous. So try to stay calm and control yourself, even if you’re in a lot of pain.
The Time Out Method
Remove the dog
As soon as your Pomeranian bites when you’re playing, take them by the collar and lead them out of the room. Put them in a quiet room where there aren’t any toys.
Leave the dog in the time out space for 30 seconds. Make sure you don’t play with them or talk to them during this time. Also ensure it isn’t the room that their bed or toys are normally in.
Once the 30 seconds is up, let the dog m out. You can then go back to playing with them. Stay calm and quiet as you play, you don’t want to get them too worked up. However, be ready to react if they bite again.
Add another 30 seconds
If the dog bites again, calmly take them back out of the room and into the time out space. However, this time add another 30 seconds onto the time-out sentence. Continue to add 30 seconds on each time until they get the message, which shouldn’t take long.
Consider a muzzle
Try fitting your dog in a muzzle when you are out in public. This will prevent any biting taking place until training has finished. Any incidents with strangers or pets could only make the problem worse.
By James Barra
Published: 03/15/2018, edited: 01/08/2021