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It's pretty common for Akitas to nip and bite, especially when they are puppies and still teething. While Bowser might not think much more of biting than as a normal part of play, his sharp teeth can, in fact, be quite painful. If you don't break this habit while he is a puppy, by the time he gets to be an adult, his bites can cause serious injury. Bear in mind, while teething puppies will chew on just about anything they can get their teeth on. The chewing helps to relieve his pain in much the same way it helps a teething baby.
Your first job is to discover why Bowser is biting. In young pups, it is usually because they are teething or playing. In the wild, they cut their teeth biting and chewing on anything they can find and will learn to control play biting with the help of their litter mates. But in your home, this is just not acceptable behavior. In an older dog, biting is part of the hunt and survival, but again this is not necessary in a domesticated situation. Bear in mind, you are trying to train your dog to do something that is completely against his nature. Be patient, stay calm and keep working with him until he finally stops this unpleasant behavior.
While you will need a few supplies to use during training, the most important of them you cannot buy. These are time and patience. You need to make sure you set aside time every day for at least one training session until Bowser finally learns not to bite. It will help to have a few supplies handy as well:
- Treats – For rewards
- Chew toys – Chew toys, bones, or a combination of both
- Quiet room – This training is best done in a nice quiet room or corner of your yard
Keep working with Bowser, don't give up if he seems like he isn't getting the idea. This is the time to try a little harder--he will figure out, it just might take a little extra time.
The Good Dog Method
Treats go in your palm
Palm one of Bowser's favorite smelly treats and call him over. Let him get a good whiff of the treat before you close it in your fist.
Give it your best shot
Bowser is going to do just about anything he can to get at the treat, including nipping at your hand. But, do not let him get it.
After a while, Bowser is going to get tired of trying and will simply give up and walk away.
When he does, tell him what a good boy he is and then let him have the treat.
Repeat the lesson
The rest is all about repeating the training until he figures out he only gets a reward when he doesn't bite. This may take some time, but stick with it Bowser will eventually figure it out and stop biting.
The Hey, You Bit Me Method
Choose a training time
Choose a time every day that you can set aside specifically for training Bowser.
Time to play
Start your training time playing with Bowser. You need to get him good and excited.
And now the bite
It shouldn't be long before Bowser gets so excited he starts nipping or biting you. Keep in mind tiny nips may not hurt, but they turn into bites that can be extremely painful.
Time for your cue
The next time Bowser bites, say "Ouch!" in a firm voice. Do not sound angry, just firm enough to establish your place as the Alpha in your pack.
Redirect his attention
Each time Bowser goes to bite you during play, redirect his attention using a chew toy or bone. This will help Bowser learn his boundaries with biting and he will eventually limit his biting and chewing to his toys and bones.
The Understanding Method
Start by observing Bowser to help you understand why he is biting you in the first place. Puppies bite as they teethe, adult dogs may bite if they become overexcited or if they have been backed into a corner they will bite out of fear or anger.
Just say no!
There are a couple of ways you can let Bowser know you are not happy with being bitten. You can talk to him in his own language and "Yelp!" or you can speak to him in English and simply tell him "No!" in a firm voice.
I don't want to play
Once you do this, turn away from Bowser to let him know you don't want to play anymore. Wait for him to calm down and then give him a treat.
I can't calm down
If Bowser seems to be having a problem calming down, put a baby gate across the doorway and go into another room where he can't see you. Wait there until he calms down.
Back at it
Return to working with Bower, repeating the training again and again until he finally learns that biting is not acceptable.
By PB Getz
Published: 04/12/2018, edited: 01/08/2021