We all know that dogs bite when they feel scared, or threatened, or if they want to assert dominance (Oakhurst, 2020). But, aside from those, some dog breeds bite when they are excited. This behavior can cause trouble, especially if the bite led to an injury.
With that, in this article, we will talk about the reasons why some dogs bite when excited, how to address the behavior, and the things pet owners should avoid when their dog bites them.
Do Dogs Bite When Excited?
Yes, there are tendencies where dogs bite or nibble when they feel excited. Dogs often use their mouth to communicate. Thus, when they feel extremely overwhelmed or excited, they might show it through biting or nibbling.
Here are some of the reasons why dogs bite when excited:
- As mentioned, it might be their way of communicating with you. Because of overstimulation, they may start biting or nipping to immediately get your attention.
- Some dogs feel anxious once they became too excited. With that, they may bite to release the stress or tension brought by their anxiety.
Sometimes, you can already observe your dog’s “biting when excited” behavior when they are still puppies – where they playfully bite you or become aggressive when too excited. Some puppies outgrow the behavior as they grow older, but some carry the behavior until they are adult dogs. With that, pet owners need to address the behavior as soon as possible.
How to Stop Dogs From Biting When Excited
Since there is a tendency for dogs to bite when excited, here are the following ways how to prevent it from happening:
Calm Your Dog
One of the most important things you need to do is to calm your dog once you observe that they are getting too excited. There are many methods you can use to calm them. One of those methods is giving them toys (like chew toys) to nibble. With that, they will focus their attention and excitement on that toy instead of other people.
Identify the Triggers
You cannot entirely solve the problem if you do not know the cause. With that, the first step is to determine what is initially driving your dog excited or overstimulated. After identifying the trigger, you may begin developing strategies to block those triggers.
To add to that, a dog may become excited as a result of encountering new people, playing with other dogs, or hearing loud noises. Given that, you may start by monitoring their behavior during those situations to see if it is one of their triggers. Then, start developing strategies to assist your animal companion to calm down in certain circumstances if you can figure out what makes them the most enthusiastic.
Give Your Dog Something to Nip On
As previously mentioned, when dogs start to bite or nibble due to excitement, give them a toy to nip on. Giving them something else to think about, will assist them to stop biting you.
Ensure that you are giving them access to a variety of age-appropriate toys. The best toys are ones that your dog can chew on or that release rewards since they will keep him amused and help keep him from getting overexcited. Make sure the product’s components are fully safe and non-toxic since chew toys.
Leave the Room
If a dog is biting you and nothing else seems to be helping, leave. Step over a baby gate or hide for a while behind a locked door. When the dog does anything that you don’t like, this approach merely eliminates what the dog desires.
After leaving, return after a few moments then try to instruct the dog to sit or throw goodies. You can repeat this method as long as their biting behavior is still occurring This procedure can effectively solve the issue. Plus, it is completely harmless.
Redirect Your Dog's Attention
You can also redirect your dog’s attention from the thing that makes them too excited to another thing. As mentioned, giving them toys can do. Aside from that, you can also use the “scattering treats” technique. With that method, you take a fistful of goodies and strew them on the floor. Most dogs will relax after giving the goodies a sniff and collecting them.
Use Command Words
To minimize your dog’s reaction over things or situations that excite them, you can also try using command words like “Leave it”, “Stop”, “No”, and other commands. Saying those words and then rewarding the dog with food or treats when it is obeyed are two ways to teach them this command. You may begin gradually escalating the complexity of the diversions as soon as they understand this order.
However, take in mind that your tone should be commanding but still not harsh or angry. Negative punishments or methods like those can worsen the behavior.
What to Avoid Doing When Your Dog Bites You
Now, after knowing the ways to prevent your dog from biting when excited, let us discuss the things to avoid doing when your dog bites you. Knowing these things will help in preventing the worsening of the situation.
- Never scream or become enraged with your dog. Dogs cannot understand human language, therefore screaming will just make them more excited.
- Do not hit, yell at, or injure your dog. This might exacerbate the issue by making the dog fearful and aggressive.
- Yelping is not advised either. This can make them even more overstimulated and prolong the problem.
- Taste deterrent spray should not be used. These may cause your dog’s excitement to increase and escalate more.
According to Horwitz (n.d), the most crucial thing to avoid is using outdated teaching approaches or punitive measures like physical or negative punishments. This can cause serious injuries (both mental and physical) and only teaches your dog to fear you or be aggressive. Any animal behaviorists and professionals do not recommend that method in correcting your dog’s behavior.
To summarize, yes, there are instances where dogs bite when they feel too excited or overstimulated. This behavior can be frustrating since it can cause harm to you, visitors, or other pets in the house. With that, it is important to address it as soon as possible. However, in addressing the behavior, ensure to take in mind the things you need to avoid such as negative or physical punishments.