Some dogs tend to bite and grab the owner’s hand or leg when they feel excited. Most people find it funny and harmless while puppies do that, without thinking of the future. If you are one of these people, keep in mind that your family members and guests don’t share your attitude about the matter.
Unfortunately, such bad behavior will probably become aggressive and destructive over time. The best option is to teach your puppy that nipping is unacceptable. If you haven’t done it on time, and this dog behavior started to bother you, it is a moment to ask yourself – how to stop my dog from biting when excited. Let’s see.
Why Your Dog Bites?
No matter how much you don’t like it, mouthing and nipping are normal behavior in canines. That way, your dog wants to show you how excited and affectionate it is. In most cases, your dog uses biting because:
- Your hand is available when it wants to catch something and hold it in its mouth
- It asks for attention
- It makes it feel a bit calmer
- It is a way of self-soothing when suffering from teeth or mouth pain
- Puppies taken away from a litter before turning two months have no opportunity to learn bite inhibition while playing with brothers and sisters
- Excessive energy as a result of insufficient mental stimulation and exercise
Remember that your furry friend doesn’t intend to hurt you but wants to connect with you. Unfortunately, its attention can be painful sometimes, so you should teach it not to repeat such behavior.
The Most Effective Ways To Stop Your Dog From Biting
1. Manage The Environment
When your dog still learns that biting is inappropriate behavior or you are not sure about its reactions, the best way of prevention is putting it on a leash before guests come over.
Other options include placing your furry friend behind a gate, locking it in the dog house, and putting a muzzle on its nose. Always reward it with treats when behaving calmly and try to avoid keeping it isolated for long.
2. Differential Reinforcement
One of the most effective methods to teach your pet not to bite is DRI (differential reinforcement of an incompatible). Basically, that means you should reward it whenever it does something else instead of nipping you.
For example, train the dog to sit when you greet other people. Be prepared that such a practice will take time and patience, but it will pay off eventually.
3. Hand Target
The goal of the hand target method is to teach your furry friend to press its nose to your hand when you give a cue. To do that, it needs to stay calm and point the mouth away from other parts of your body.
4. Treat Scattering
Tossing or scattering food on the ground once your dog starts biting is a short-term solution to calm it down. Don’t confuse this with rewarding because it is actually a distraction from undesirable activity. After doing this, excitement will pass, and it is time for a lesson about behaving appropriately.
5. Be Calm
Waving and yelling will be an invitation to action. On the contrary, the absence of your reaction will make you boring in your dog’s eyes, and it will probably stop biting. Stay calm, and there is a big chance that your furry friend decides to imitate you.
6. Make A Trade
It is a tricky and sometimes painful solution but highly successful in the long run. Once your dog bites you, stay calm, don’t react, but offer it a treat. Give it the treat as soon as it drops your hand or leg. This method is also useful as a way to teach a new puppy how to behave.
7. Chew Toys
Providing appropriate chew toys will divert your dog’s attention from your hand to the toy. Always praise it with a treat when it does that. Offer it a toy and ask it back, but immediately stop the game when feeling teeth on your skin.
8. Greeting With A Toy
Teach your dog to grab a toy as soon as someone steps into your home and greet people while keeping it in the mouth.
9. Step In Its Direction
When your dog tries to bite you, you should step forward into its space without pushing or shouting. It won’t expect such a reaction and will stop biting in most cases. Never try this with aggressive dogs, especially if you are scared of them.
10. Leave The Room
As a last option, use negative punishment and leave your dog as soon as it bites you. Go out and close the door behind you, but come back after a few moments and ask the dog to sit.
Repeat the procedure until it understands the lesson. Believe it or not, it may seem like a cruel method, but it is highly efficient.
11. Never Teach The Puppy To Nip
Prevent future problems with nipping by avoiding playing with your puppy that way. Never encourage such behavior since it will grow up, and biting will become painful.
Any punishment will be confusing because your dog won’t understand why something desirable until recently is suddenly forbidden. Also, never allow your dog to use biting as a method to attract your attention. It will be hard to eliminate that habit.
Let your dog run around a backyard when noticing its unusual excitement. If you don’t have it, take your buddy to the park and throw it a stick. It won’t prevent biting directly but will redirect its attention.
What To Avoid
Never punish your dog when nipping you. Biting is in canine’s nature, and you should teach your furry friend that you don’t like such behavior. Otherwise, punishment may provoke aggression in the overexcited animal.
You can also injure your pet that way, provoke the occurrence of fear and anxiety, and ruin your mutual relationship. Always keep in mind that your goal is to correct the problem, not to make it worse.
Nipping is typical puppy behavior, but it may develop into a severe problem if it is not appropriately directed. Give your dog boundaries and teach it that biting is not an adequate answer to the excitement. Bribe your furry friend to reach your goal, but never punish it because of its nature.
My name is Jovanka Panic. I am a writer, translator, veterinarian, humanitarian, and a passionate traveler. After playing with white bears and elephants in the Belgrade ZOO and dealing with Rabies virus in the Institute Pasteur, I enjoy writing. My five beasts are my ultimate love, including three cats (Clementine, Josephine, and Sophia) and their ‘mom’ American Staffordshire terrier (Malena).