We have an ~6 month old Australian Shepherd / Yellow Lab mix. Around family, he...
according to our training experts:
any pet is liable to bite if he feels threatened or cornered. always approach him in a calm, measured way. talk quietly and reassuringly to him, and never grab or lunge for him. place a treat in your hand and let your dog come to you for it. then slowly reach toward him. the calm approach is especially important with a shy or timid dog or one with a history of abuse or neglect.
to keep your dog from biting a stranger, even if your dog's not a biter, set boundaries around your dog with other people. just as you wouldn't let a stranger walk up to you and pick up your child, step in when someone you don't know approaches your dog to pet him. ask the stranger to approach the dog quietly and calmly and to hold out her hand with the palm down and the fingers under the thumb in a fist (to protect the fingers). that way the dog can get a good whiff of the person right away.
note: for your safety and others, always consult your veterinarian or a pet trainer if your dog's biting is causing you to feel frightened or intimidated.
- jeff schultz, pet training expert