Tips to Stop a Dog From Tugging on Clothing

Question: My dog occasionally pulls her pants and sleeves on. I suspect she’s been playing since we allowed her to do it as a puppy. However, she won’t stop. What could I do to prevent this behavior?

Puppy dogs frequently play with their mouths and pull at clothing. The behavior may seem funny and cute; however, as the puppy develops into a larger, stronger, and more focused adult dog, it could become a source of anxiety or risk. Preventing can be the ideal option to keep the play focused on toys, not human skin, hair, or clothes.

It’s good news for you that older dogs can be taught new techniques and re-learn undesirable behaviors. To effectively stop your dog’s mouthing behavior, it’s best to comprehend why the behavior is occurring and what you can do to provide substitute behaviors that satisfy you and your dog.

Why Puppy Mouthing Is Not Ok

One of the things that a puppy must learn is how to be safe in his bite — however, letting a puppy chew the hands of people or their clothes is not a way to teach this. Inducing a dog to play by chewing on human hands, hair, skin, or clothes isn’t advised. This kind of game teaches your dog that human beings and their clothing make good chewing and tug toys.

Every mouthful of skin, hands, or clothing should lead to immediately removing the body or hand part. It should take a few minutes of social interaction only for the dog. This will teach the puppy that biting an individual is the game’s final act.

Most dog owners think their dog can discriminate between situations where mouth or roughhousing is acceptable and those that are not. It’s a lot to ask most dogs. Your dog will likely engage in this type of play during inappropriate times, like on walks or with those particularly troubling, such as children. It’s much easier for everyone, especially your dog if uncertainty and doubt are eliminated by having a consistent set of rules for interactions and play.

Put a Stop to Puppy Mouthing

Consistency is critical to the prevention of any undesirable behavior. If a harmful habit has already been established and you cannot stop it, limit the options your dog has to practice the behavior in the future and provide beneficial alternatives to your dog.

Here are four easy methods to put an end to mouthing clothing for a puppy or an adult dog:

Do not respond to the sound of mouthing. The fun for dogs who jump up is witnessing the person’s reaction. The pulling back and towards the pet can create resistance to a tug-toy-like experience, especially if the dog is grabbing clothes. The screaming and screams, as well as pushing the pet to the side or away, are all other actions that feed energy into the dog’s exuberant nature. Instead, trying to restrain and stay clear of the possibility of a reaction to the extent feasible (standing still while looking down and away from the dog, not moving, and tucking the hands into an arm cross-armed pose) will more often lead to an end of interest.

Learn “leave it” and “drop it.”Training your dog to focus his focus before picking something up by the teeth (” leave it“) or letting go of something that he should not put inside the mouth (” drop it“) can assist in helping to stop mouthing harmful objects. When it comes to both commands, start by training using items that are not valuable for your pet — things that he is willing to leave or drop, then move on to more valuable items (in this instance, clothing).

Be sure to reward any success by giving the reward of a treat with a high value and then follow up by redirecting the child to another task, for example, an up stay or getting another toy. When the dog has learned to use the “leave it” or “drop it” command, alter the reward to ensure that it follows the replaced behavior. This will help strengthen the desired behavior and reduce the mouthing behaviors.

Replace mouthing with something more acceptable. I had the Pit Bull who greeted her family members upon returning to their home with a frenzied grab of their clothing. Her owners began an excellent alternative game to stop this behavior when they entered the house. They played “find it” with tossed treats, rapid repeated sit and touch, and told the pet to return to her bed for a bite or to retrieve a favorite toy.

Keep your dog busy. Mouthy behavior and other undesirable behaviors indicate a dog isn’t challenged enough. Utilize enrichment tools such as Food puzzles and games that channel your physical and mental energy into appropriate outlets.

In certain circumstances, mouthing may result from other emotional issues, such as separation anxiety or fear of noise. If you’re worried that your dog’s behavior is more than just playing and could be a sign of aggression or concern, you should seek assistance, beginning with your vet.

About the author


Leave a Comment