Dog Snapped and Bit Me
by Sherri Gruber
I have a rednose male pitbull who is 6 yrs old. My dog snapped and bit me on the finger. When he eats he throws his food all over the place so I smacked him on his nose and told him 'no'. That's when he bit me.
We have tried everything for him to stop that. Please tell me what am I doing wrong. Other than that he is a great dog I also have a female brindle pit which has never been aggressive unlike him.Gale's Reply:
Smacking a dog for misbehaving isn't helpful. For one thing, it erodes trust. For another, it doesn't really teach your dog anything other than perhaps to be wary of you--especially when he's eating.
Let's rewind this scenario and look at it in a slightly different context. Imagine you are a youngster sitting at a dinner table with a family who speaks a foreign language. In between bites of food, you're playing with your mashed potatoes and making a bit of a mess.
Suddenly, a hand smacks you in the nose while someone at the table yells at you. Now, would it be immediately apparent to you that the smack on the nose was related to the mess next to your plate? Further, would it be crystal clear that the key to avoiding future smacks is to keep all your food neatly on your plate?
It's more likely that you would conclude that these people are unpredictable at best and crazy or mean at worst. And, you'd probably resolve to keep an eye on them if they're around the next time you're eating.
It sounds like you smacked your dog out of frustration. And he reflexively snapped and bit you for the same reason. Assuming this is an isolated incident, I wouldn't label him aggressive. I would chalk it up to handler error and move on.
Most dogs prefer to eat their food rather than throw it around. So, I think it would be worthwhile to try and figure out why playing with his food is more interesting to him than eating it. Is he not hungry? Is he getting too many between meal treats? Does he not like the food? Is he getting enough exercise?
I suspect that if you start feeding him a bite at a time he'll be less inclined to throw it around. If you don't want to hand feed, get a Dog Treat Dispenser
--one that will make him "work" for each bite he gets. The dispenser would have the added benefit of letting him play without making a so much of a mess.
Once you get him out of the habit of throwing his food around, you can start feeding him from a dish again increasing the amounts you put down for him at a time slowly until he is eating a meal sized portion without incident. However, there's nothing wrong with continuing to feed him with the treat dispenser or by hand if you want.
I would also encourage you to begin educating yourself about positive training methods that build the bond between dog and owner. Clicker training
is my personal favorite. But there are others. Do a Google search and find a method that works for you. Good luck.