Andrea Arden

Q: How can I teach my puppy not to bite?

A: Several times daily for a few weeks, let your pup mouth/play bite until he exerts more pressure than usual. Then say, “Ouch!” loud enough that he’s surprised and stops biting. At the same time, you should stop playing for a few seconds so he associates the end of play with exerting too much pressure. Repeat until he plays with only soft mouthing. If he doesn’t get the idea, just stop playing or move away whenever he bites too hard. He’ll learn soon enough that mouthing too hard ends play.

Smiley & Co.

Q: I know I should groom my dog regularly, but I just don’t seem to get
around to it. Is it really that important if my dog isn’t a big shedder?

A: Actually, shedding is only one of many benefits of grooming. And yes, it is important to groom regularly. For one thing, regular brushing and combing helps remove dead hair and dirt, and prevents mats. Since mats can be painful for dogs, regular grooming keeps your dog from associating grooming with long, tedious, and painful experiences to be avoided. Plus, regular grooming gives dogs healthier and shinier coats stimulating the blood supply to their skin. And remember to pay attention to eyes, ears, nails, and teeth as well.

Last but never least, grooming time is bonding time. From a dog’s point of view, it’s like being petted. If you make grooming about getting attention and affection, what dog could resist that?

In the wild, canines groomed each other as a means of social interaction, reinforcing bonds and establishing pack hierarchies. Their front teeth served as combs, which effectively stimulated each other’s skin and had a calming effect on pack members!

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