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null How to Help Prevent Dog Bites

Canine owners can assist in restricting this behavior in young and old dogs by taking precautionary measures. To help prevent dog bites, teach our four-legged friends these constructive training methods.  

Puppy Socialization

One of the main parts of puppy training is socialization. Introducing your pup to people, places, objects and animals during their first 13 to 16 weeks of life can help develop good behavior and limit fear of the unfamiliar. For instance, taking your puppy on a walk to meet the neighbours on your street, including meeting any children or walking your puppy on a busy street to expose them to cars, trucks, cyclists and skateboards. Be sure to introduce your pup to sounds they most likely will hear daily like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.

Puppy socialization classes are also a good way to help introduce your puppy to other puppies and their owners. Learning from a certified instructor can make puppy training a little easier and identify playful puppy behavior and problematic puppy behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement as a dog training technique can be quite effective as it rewards good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Some of examples of positive reinforcement are praise, treats and extra petting. This type of training can help limit the likelihood of your dog biting humans.


If you see your dog becoming uncomfortable, fearful or aggressive towards other humans or dogs, you can work on basic obedience commands to get them to pay attention to you instead. The chances of a dog biting will decrease as they are trying to listen to you. Stand in front of your dog and say commands in a stern voice such as, “sit”, “touch”, and “watch me.”

The Yelp Method

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) recommends using the yelp method to teach your pet bite inhibition. When playing with your furry friend, let them mouth and nibble a bit on your hands. Continue doing this until or if they bite particularly hard. Immediately give a high-pitched yelp, as if you’re hurt and still your hand movements. The yelp should startle your dog and cause them to stop mouthing at you. Be sure to praise your dog after this and start to play again. If they bite you hard again, let out another yelp.

Toys and Bones

Puppies chew to learn about the world around them. To avoid having them chew on your favourite pair of shoes, provide plenty of toys and bones for them to nibble on instead. Kong products in particular are helpful to encourage proper chewing. Try filling a Kong with peanut butter and putting it in the freezer for a couple hours then taking it out for your pup to play with. This will provide them with plenty of entertainment while enjoying a delicious treat.


Pet parents can help monitor their dog’s aggression by trying to understand why they are acting out. Look for triggers such as growling, raised fur and stiff posture. If possible, try to lead your dog away from the scene before anything harmful happens. You can also let people know that your dog is skittish or doesn’t like to be approached by strangers.

If your dog does bite someone, remove your dog from the scene and check to see if the person requires medical attention. Call 9-1-1 if the paramedics are needed. Be sure to provide your name, address and information you can recall about your pet’s medical shots and health. Don’t forget to contact your insurance provider to let them know about the bite.

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dog snarling

It’s a well-known fact that dogs love to chew, especially puppies. While most chewing can be harmless to humans, it can possibly lead to aggressive biting in the future.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.

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