Dogs and biting seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s almost as if you can see their struggle for them to control their excitement when they’re playing. But those bites hurt. They’re also annoying to you and whoever else gets bitten.
You may think that biting is a behavior your dog will just grow out of. But, to get your dog to stop biting, identify the reason behind the behavior.
Why does my dog bite?
To the untrained eye, the biting behavior might come across as aggression. But it’s an expression of excitement. For instance, your dog may bite you because he’s trying to show his love. Still, if you don’t nip it in the bud, it can lead to more aggressive behavior. Behavior that will come out when your puppy gets overstimulated and frustrated.
Most dogs bite when they get excited. These dogs will also run around, jump and pan. They also have wide eyes and dilated pupils.
When they become more excited, biting keeps their mouths busy. It’s like a self-soothing mechanism. It works kind of like a pacifier does with a baby. When the arousal levels increase, biting helps soothe them.
How to stop my dog from biting
You expect some excitement from your pup when you’re just getting home or when you have guests. But too much excitement leads to stressed, overstimulated, and exhausted dogs.
It’s important to help dogs learn how to cope and relax with their emotions. Some become more adept at mastering the skills as they mature, but it’s still important to guide them. If we allow him to rehearse excited behaviors, they become the default response.
It’s tempting to correct a dog when it bites you by scolding, pushing it away, or acting like an alpha. But these methods are likely to backfire and add to your pet’s arousal. They may even turn the dog biting from a playful thing into something more serious.
There are several ways to get your dogs to stop biting. The best way is with a toy. When they nip at you, stay still. When they let go, wave around one of their favorite toys until he grabs it so they can go play instead.
Other ways to get your dog to stop biting it include:
Your dog has to learn that biting is unacceptable. Every time he jumps up and bites you, turn away from him, fold your arms across your chest, and say the word off. Your pup will still try to jump on you to get your attention. But keep turning away from them and keep repeating the word, “Off!”. When they finally obey this command, rub their belly and give them some praise.
Release some of that energy
A dog that is jumping up, biting, barking and otherwise being hyper needs a lot of attention. Make sure that he gets plenty of exercise. Take him for walks around the neighborhood or at your local park. These are good ways to get some of that excitement out and calm him down.
Let them know
When your dog bites you especially hard, don’t hold back. Scream and limp away as if you’re hurt. This action was to throw the pup and show him this behavior is unacceptable.
If you can, avoid putting your dog in situations that bring out bad behavior. Doing so before he’s ready sets them up for failure. This may mean that you keep the dog confined behind a pet gate when people come over with one of his favorite toys.
Teach him calming activities
Your dog may enjoy learning how good it feels to be calm. Chances to forage and clicker training are great ways to practice calming behaviors.
How do I stop my dog from getting excited when walking?
If your dog gets excited when he walks, there are several things he can do to help him heel. The most effective thing is to praise him and reward him when you walk by people and he doesn’t overreact.
Start off by walking him by them from a distance. You can even put some treats on the ground to make it fun for him to catch or to search for, like a treasure hunt.
Saying a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s isn’t saying much. Bites from both can cause serious infections. So it’s important to take some precautions if your dog bites you and draws blood:
- Wash the wounds and put antibiotic cream on it
- Head to the doctor so a professional can check it out
- Change your bandages several times a day until the wound heals
Dogs bite when they’re excited. Some of these behaviors may get better as they mature. But to help you start, the above tips will go a long way.
If you find this article helpful, you might also want to know How to stop your dog from barking at strangers.