Many people have a dog who will bite them when excited. This is annoying and can be a huge problem for some dog owners. Why does my dog want to bite me or others when excited? Can I even stop this behavior? Today we will answer both questions. First, we will give you a few reasons why a dog does this. Then, we are going to reveal methods you can use to stop this behavior.
Understanding the Behavior
When your furry friend tries to bite you or others during their excitement, it can be a baffling and sometimes worrying experience. This behavior is often rooted in their innate communication styles and instinctive reactions rather than aggression. Dogs, especially puppies, use their mouths as a primary means of exploring and interacting with the world around them. This behavior, often termed ‘mouthing,’ is a normal part of their developmental process.
When a dog gets excited, its energy levels spike, and it might not always know the appropriate way to channel this sudden burst of energy. The excitement can be triggered by various factors – the arrival of a guest, playtime, or the anticipation of a walk. In these heightened states, dogs can occasionally nip or bite as a way to express their exhilaration or to seek attention.
For some breeds, herding instincts can also play a significant role. Breeds like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds are genetically predisposed to nip and bite as a way of herding. Although they are not herding sheep in a domestic setting, the instinct can be redirected towards humans during moments of excitement.
Another contributing factor can be the lack of adequate training or socialization. Dogs who are not well-socialized might not have learned the appropriate limits of play and interaction, leading to uninhibited biting. It is also linked to their teething phase for puppies, where the discomfort in their gums makes them want to bite on objects or people.
Understanding that this behavior is not a sign of aggression but rather an impulsive reaction or an untrained response is the first step in addressing it.
4 Reasons My Dog Want To Bite Me Or Others When Excited
There are several reasons for that. In a nutshell, your dog is extremely happy and excited. He is probably too excited and he will jump around you and bite you. Why does my dog want to bite me or others when excited? Here are the reasons why.
1. He Doesn’t Know How To Control His Energy
Your dog has too much energy and he doesn’t know how to control it. He will jump around, bite you and do so much more. In simple terms, your dog is so happy and so excited that he doesn’t know what to do. He likes to bite and play so he will try to combine these two. It is not pleasant behavior but rather annoying. You can see the same thing in puppies and actually, it is more common in this case scenario.
2. He Wants To Play
Your dog wants to play. He will bite you so he can pull your hand or your foot. These are closest to him and usually the first things he can reach. This is he trying to tell you ‘’let’s play’’. Of course, it is not acceptable behavior and you should try to stop it as soon as possible.
3. Your Dog Wants To Jaw Wrestle
Dogs like to jaw wrestle with other dogs. When there are no other dogs you are there. In general, he thinks that you like it and he wants to play in this way. He doesn’t know that for you, this is painful and problematic.
4. It Has A Calming Effect
Dogs love to chew and bite almost everything around them. When they do this, dopamine and also serotonin hormones increase their levels. What this means is that the dog will be happier and feel better. Sadly for you, this is a painful experience and you don’t like it. It is a more common issue if your dog doesn’t have toys for chewing or similar things.
Here’s How You Can End This Behavior
Yes, you can put an end to this behavior. It is not a fast process you can complete within minutes but it is possible. Below are the things you should do. Try all of these and you will probably get a positive result within days. But, some dogs may need more time so you will have to stay persistent.
Toss some food on the ground
This is an excellent way and the one that we like the most. When your dog starts biting you, just toss some food on the floor. You can use multiple treats so he will need time to find all of them. Once he is done with this, he will stop with this behavior.
When a dog is jumping around and biting you, he won’t be able to learn a new command or obey you. Hence, it is a mistake trying to teach him something at that very moment. Wait a few minutes and then you are good to go.
Try to be boring
Believe it or not, this does work. When you are bored, your dog won’t see you as something interesting. He will be more interested in toys and other objects. You can use this method all the time. Basically, you have to do nothing and you have to stay still in place and enjoy.
Make a step towards the dog
When your pet starts jumping around you, biting you, and more, you can step close to him and stay still. You will have to be in an upright position and you will have to stay calm. With most dogs, this will work well. After a few times, your pet will stop biting you.
You must not do this if your dog is scared of you or he is aggressive. In these cases, you can provoke him or scare him even more which are bad things. Some dogs can be scared of their owners. If you yell all the time or you are aggressive towards him, he will be scared.
Leave the room immediately
If nothing works, you will have to leave the room. Sadly, your dog is too excited at this point and too happy. You cannot do anything. Leave the room and leave him alone. After a few minutes, he will calm down.
In this case scenario, you will tell your dog to do something else, something better. For instance, you can teach him to sit down when you issue the command. The goal is to help him do this when the situation is tough (when he is trying to bite you). You will need to practice and you will need a lot of time to make this possible.
Use hand target
This is a simple trick. Basically, you will teach your dog to touch your hand with his nose on a cue. When he is jumping around and biting you, issue the command. This means that he will refocus his attention on something else and he will calm down at the same time. You can use this trick for all kinds of purposes.
This method is even more beneficial. You will point the mouth of your dog to something specific. You will redirect his energy and his attention to something different. He won’t be able to sit when excited. He may be able to focus his energy on something else.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does my dog try to bite when playing?
Dogs, especially puppies, may try to bite during play as a form of social interaction. It can also stem from their natural hunting or herding instincts. Proper training and socialization can help manage and mitigate this behavior.
2. How can I stop my dog from biting when excited?
Positive reinforcement, consistent training, and providing alternative behaviors like sit or stay commands can be effective. Avoid negative punishment as it can exacerbate the issue.
3. Is biting a sign of aggression in dogs?
Not always. Puppies often bite to explore their environment or play. However, if the biting is accompanied by other signs of aggression, it’s essential to address it immediately.
4. Can training and socialization help in controlling biting?
Yes, training and socialization are critical. Exposing your dog to various environments and situations, and teaching them appropriate behaviors can significantly reduce biting incidents.
5. Should I be worried if my dog nips or bites me during play?
Occasional nipping can be a normal part of dog play, but it’s important to teach your dog boundaries. If the behavior escalates or becomes aggressive, consider seeking professional help.
6. What are some safe ways for my dog to express excitement without biting?
Providing chew toys, engaging in controlled play, and teaching specific commands can offer safe outlets for your dog’s excitement and energy.
7. How should I respond if my dog tries to bite others when excited?
Stay calm and remove your dog from the situation if necessary. Avoid negative reactions and focus on positive reinforcement for non-biting behaviors.
8. Can certain breeds be more prone to biting when excited?
Breeds with high energy levels or herding instincts might be more prone to this behavior. Each dog is individual, and training is key to managing these tendencies.
9. What if my adult dog suddenly starts biting when excited?
Consider any changes in the environment, health issues, or stress that might be contributing to this change in behavior. Consult a vet or a professional trainer for assessment and guidance.
10. Can medical issues cause increased biting behaviors in dogs?
Yes, pain or discomfort can sometimes result in increased biting. If there’s a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, a vet check-up is advisable to rule out health concerns.
The Final Word
Why does my dog want to bite me or others when excited? The answer is in the question. He is excited, too much probably. You should try to stop this as soon as possible. Luckily now you know a few methods that are approved by vets and trainers hence you can use a successful and safe method with no downsides.