Overanalyzing Bit Me In The @**

Pinched between teeth

A pink welt on white skin

OW! scares us both

So it turns out Whiskey can be a shithead. She cozies up when I’m eating like she expects to be baby-birded.

Whiskey staring at my dinner plate

“You gonna finish chewing that?”

Her stubborn streak is …

Whiskey stubbornly pancaking to the floor in the vet's waiting room

“Not gonna do it. You can’t make me.”

… OK, I can’t blame her here. We were at the vet’s.

Don’t get me wrong—I love her to pieces. She makes me laugh every day and she treats Rico so well. But she can be bit of a shit.

A sweet-faced Whiskey peering over the blankets

Who, me?

Especially when she bites the shit out of all of us except Rico. (I guess I did ask for the best friend for him, not me.) It’s her play style. I hate it. I guess no one taught her differently growing up. And now I have a 50 pound pit bull terrier/boxer mix who bites people. For fun.

Making matters worse, Whiskey doesn’t seem to know how to accept affection. Contact means playtime. Good luck getting out of this unscathed.

Mouthing off

Whiskey’s really good at pricking your skin between her front teeth. Even on my shin. How does she do that?

I know puppies play using their mouths. To teach them better play habits, trainers recommend saying “ouch” loud enough to startle them when they mouth you. Don’t pull away because they need to learn to stop, not be enticed into chasing you. Just ouch, whether it actually hurts or not.

But I’ve also heard that many adult dogs love squeaky toys because the sound mimics the death squeals of their prey. The sound amps them up like an Imagine Dragons song.

I wonder how Whiskey interprets my yelps.

Whiskey peeking up over the side of the bed

I feel like somebody’s watching me.

Breaking both our habits

We’ve been at this for about a month now. By “this,” I mean my internal debate on as to how to handle her playful(ly painful) biting.

While my left brain busily analyzed how I should respond, my right brain spontaneously responded to every nip. Sometimes I yelped and jerked away (then chided myself for the wrong response). Other times, I just yelped (and feared I had just inspired her to attack me with gusto).

Then I suddenly realized I’d gone through a whole week without a new bruise. I can see now that my response usually cues her onto something wrong. And she’s almost totally stopped nipping. Almost.

Whiskey plopping around on her back

“Pet play… isn’t it all the same?”

Whiskey’s been here for only a short while and she already reminded me of some valuable lessons…

  1. I’m still putting too much energy into thinking instead of doing.
  2. The best responses spring up out of love, not fear.

Thank you for stopping by. – Christie

* After writing my first haiku about Rico just as a joke, I’ve developed a love for that style of poetry. I’ve even done a few coupled with photos honoring my dogs, which I’ll share later. Because I realize most of us, including me, don’t know much about haiku, I’ll explain what I’ve learned when I do share the finished pieces.

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About Christie Green

A student of martial arts since 1995, a writer since 1999, and an animal-lover for all of time
This entry was posted in A Mindful Life with Dogs, Mindful Dog Training Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Overanalyzing Bit Me In The @**

  1. Pingback: How To Live With Vultures | Dog and Dojo

  2. Pingback: Practice Makes Something Other Than Perfect | Dog and Dojo

  3. Oh my, this must be an APBT/Boxer mix thing because my rescue girl, Zue, has a similar biting tendency. We can’t beat ourselves up as we don’t know what life they had previously. However, being more aware may help “nip” any more biting in the butt. 🙂

    Bren

    • Hi Bren! Hopefully it’s more of a ” I didn’t get the chance to learn proper play etiquette as a puppy” thing. I suspect that happens a lot.Good luck avoiding the chompers! 😉

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