Don’t let their cuteness fool you – dogs have one of the most formidable sets of teeth in the animal kingdom. Although these teeth can certainly be used as a weapon if need be, most dogs are not inclined to do so unless threatened. However, some dogs may easily get into the habit of play-biting when riled up. Luckily, there are ways of conditioning your dog to not use his or her teeth.

1. React to Your Dog With Consistency

Dogs are incredibly intuitive. They can read facial expressions, hand gestures, and understand voice commands. Help your dog differentiate between serious time and playtime by using consistent expressions and gestures. If your dog happens to bite you, it’s okay to give a high-pitched vocalization to let your dog know that you did not like it. It is important that you always refrain from physical measures such as hitting your dog.

2. Redirect Your Dog’s Attention Using Toys

The moment you feel that your dog is about to turn aggressive either towards you or another person, try using distraction tactics to shift your dog’s focus. If your dog snarls at someone, do not shout at them as it could escalate the situation. Use squeaky toys or bouncing balls, throwing them at a far distance for them to fetch.

3. Remember to Reward Good Behavior

Positive reinforcement works like a charm on dogs. When you are teaching commands to your dog, be sure to reward them with a treat for every time they are obedient. The reward should be consistent enough that they can be able to associate some of their actions.

4. Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Playtime

Sometimes dogs have a lot of pent-up energy that may turn into aggression if not directed somewhere else. As a pet owner, you should do your best to play with your dog every chance you get. Playtime lifts your dog’s mood and gives them the opportunity to vent out some the energy. Playtime may look different for every dog. Figure out what is fun for your dog and give them an ample opportunity to engage. Not only is it fun for your dog, but it will be fun for you, too!