Dear Dish-It: My Dog Bites!
My dog Ghighi keeps trying to bite people. She won't let any strangers near us or her without a fight. What should I do?
As the owner, it's up to you to make sure that other people and their pets are safe and comfortable around your dog. The first step you need to take to make sure that Ghighi doesn't hurt anyone is to put her through basic obedience training. That means signing her up for a dog-training course or program at your local community centre, pet store or other organization. Your dog may not be a puppy anymore, but she still needs to be trained and taught to obey basic commands so that she's not a danger or risk to other people or other dogs. You'll need to go through the training with her, to make sure you know how to control your dog and get her to obey you. Trust me, it'll be worth it.
At training, the instructor will probably tell you that socializing your dog - letting her meet and get comfortable around other dogs and other people, is an important part of her training. It means she will get used to staying calm and happy in any situation, and won't feel the need to attack or bite anyone. However, you should do exactly what the instructor at your training course tells you - it sounds like it would be too risky for you to have your dog around other people or dogs on your own!
The other important part of training your dog not to bit is to make sure you aren't punishing her in the wrong way when she does something she's not supposed to. Never hit or kick your dog, don't yell at her or be violent - it will only scare her and make her more nervous, which may cause her to act out in even worse ways.
In the meantime, whenever you are out in public places, you need to keep your dog on a leash and in your sight at all times. You may even want to get her a muzzle that goes over her nose and mouth, to make sure she can't bite anyone. If you have guests over to your house, it's your responsibility to make sure you warn them about her bad behavior, so that they can choose whether they feel safe or not.