In the past, whenever I got home to greet my pup, my dog used to bite and nip at me when she got too excited. This is especially true for owners with a new puppy. I had to learn how to stop my dog from biting when excited.
By the end of this article you will know
- Is it normal for a puppy to bite a human
- Why do dogs bite when excited or happy
- How to tell if your dog is being excited or playful
- How to teach your dog gentle behavior
- How to teach your dog to NEVER break human skin
Are you thinking about getting a new puppy for your family? If so, then you’ll need to learn ways to stop it from nipping and mouthing at you and your loved ones.
In this guide, I will cover all the steps you’ll need to follow to keep your dog from nipping at you. I will also outline the things you should avoid when training your dog to stop biting. Now, let’s get started!
It’s Normal for Puppies to Nip at Humans
Before I figured out how to stop my dog from biting when excited, I spoke with a dog trainer who explained how it’s normal for puppies to nip at their owners and other humans. Puppies and young canines nipping at you are normal expressions of excitement and happiness.
It can even be a way to show affection. Dogs tend to use their nose and mouth to explore the world around them, which is why nipping at people can be a perfectly ordinary behavior for pups. Even though nipping is a normal reaction in puppies, you will need to train them to stop before the biting becomes more aggressive and painful as they grow older.
Why Do Dogs Bite You When They are Happy and Excited
Dogs tend to find out more about their environment through the use of their mouth. So, your dog may nip or bite at you when they are happy and excited because:
- The pup wants to play with you by putting something in their mouth, and your hands are the closest thing.
- Your dog thinks you are playing with them when you move your hands away quickly or make a noise.
- Your canine play wrestles with other dogs using their mouth, which they will think you enjoy, as well.
- Your puppy may be soothing themselves by putting something in their mouth.
This type of dog might be easily excited and may also bark more and spin around to play with you.
How to Figure Out If Your Dog is Being Aggressive or Playful
Are you concerned that your dog isn’t being playful and could just be acting aggressively? Does your dog get easily frustrated or afraid? If so, then your pup may be getting aggressive due to its fears and annoyances.
I find that a dog’s body indicates whether they are being playful or aggressive. A playful canine has a relaxed body and face, while an aggressive dog has a more stiff and tense body. This type of dog might even start showing its teeth. This dog’s type of biting is also likely to be more painful than a playful pup’s nipping.
Talk to your veterinarian if you believe your dog is getting too aggressive.
Key Steps to Take to Keep Your Dog From Biting When Excited
To keep your dog from biting you or your friends and family when excited, you should follow the steps below.
- Create a better environment (put your dog in a crate, on a leash, or behind a doggy gate when visitors come over).
- Put some dog treats on the ground to distract your canine.
- Leave the room and leave the dog by itself for a few minutes.
- Tire out your dog with a game of fetch or make your pup run and jump.
- Avoid showing too much excitement or waving your hands (have calm and dull movements/positions, which your dog may copy).
- Train your dog with treats and rewards when the pup stops nipping at you.
Teach Your Dog Gentle Behavior
If your dog hasn’t learned that biting human skin can hurt, then they may tend to bite too hard, even when they are playing. You may need a dog trainer to help teach your dog more gentle behavior.
Teaching your dog to use his mouth more gently can be an essential strategy to ensure the pup never bites too hard, even in bad situations. This will help keep your dog from biting hard when they are afraid or in pain.
Often, dogs may learn bite inhibition and more gentle behavior when playing and roughhousing with other pups. In such a situation, your dog may bite another too hard, hear them yelp, and stop playing for a while. This teaches your dog to be more gentle.
Teach Your Dog That Teeth Shouldn’t Touch Human Skin
Once your dog has learned to be more gentle when nipping at you, it’s time to teach them that touching and biting human skin is a bad idea. The way you can keep your dog from putting their teeth on your skin is through the following steps.
- Give your canine a chew toy whenever their teeth come out and touch your fingers.
- Distract your dog from biting when you are petting them by giving them treats from your other hand.
- Play noncontact games with your dog, such as tug-of-war and fetch.
- Train your dog and teach them impulse control by telling them to sit and stay.
What to Avoid When Training Your Dog to Stop Biting
There are certain training methods that you should avoid when teaching your dog to stop biting. For example, do not make any squealing noises even if the bite hurts you. Your playful dog may think you’re having fun by yelling.
Holding your dog’s mouth closed is also problematic. Your dog will only get nervous when you do this and won’t learn to stop nipping. Another outdated trick that doesn’t work is to roll your dog onto its back and pin them down. Even if this teaches your pup to stop biting, your dog will be scared of you and won’t want to play. This will only spread fear in your canine.
To go along with this, avoid spraying your dog with water or vinegar as it might hurt the pup emotionally or physically. Shaking pennies or throwing anything at the canine is also a bad idea. Anything that can be considered somewhat violent will only cause your dog to be afraid. This won’t help your dog learn appropriate behavior.
If you follow the steps in this guide, your puppy will stop biting you and will be more gentle, even when they are overly excited. Before you know it, you’ll be playing a game of fetch with your dog at the local park, and the nipping will be a problem of the past.