From play to aggression, biting is a part of dog behavior. However, it’s not always pleasant for owners. When they have sharp puppy teeth or strong adult jaws, it can be quite painful and even lead to injuries. So if you’re wondering how to stop your dog from biting when excited, we will be explaining how to do so.
We will explain why your dog may be behaving this way, when it is a concern and to consult a behaviorist, and what you can do at home. Do not fret! There are many options to take, and this is a common and usually correctable behavior.
Why Does My Dog Bite When Excited?
When dogs are biting because they are excited, it is never to cause harm. They do so to play or get attention, even to calm themselves. Their behavior is often much less controlled when they are excited because they become hyperactive. But why does this lead to biting? Well, in the same manner that when children become excited they may play or throw their toys, dogs do the same. It is a way to channel their energy for starters.
Biting can also be used as a form to get your attention. Perhaps their barking is not getting the reaction from you that they desire. Such as being petted or given their food quickly enough. Therefore, as a dog, you do not have many other options to get the attention of your owners. These can be spread across barking, urinating, defecating, jumping up, and biting. Once they have gained your attention, many dogs will then stop biting you when excited.
It may also be that your dog is trying to settle their nerves from the excitement and are using biting as a form of stimulation. They may lick repeatedly, be very vocal, or bite and chew all as forms to relax. Excitement can often be tied in with anxiety, and this is why they try to self soothe with whatever behavior they deem fit.
How to Know if it's Playful Mouthing or Aggressive Behavior?
The key to identifying aggressive or playful biting is to observe their general behavior and to also analyze the situation. Firstly you will want to refer to the canine aggression ladder to identify the type of behavior your dog is displaying. Fearful and aggressive behavior can quickly turn into aggressive biting, and this is often much more painful than playful biting. It can lead to serious injuries. Not only that, but your dog is trying to tell you something is wrong, and it is your job to help them feel more comfortable.
Look for signs that your dog is anxious, fearful, or aggressive, these can include:
- Whale eyeing: When a dog shows the whites of their eyes
- Snarling: A raised lip accompanied by growling
- A change in body stance: If your dog’s body stance is either an attempt to appear smaller or your dog has raised hackles and a slight curve in their spine
- Ears: pushed back
Any negative signs can show your dog is unhappy. When they are provoked in this stage or their boundaries are pushed, this may lead to aggressive biting. Their physical behavior is the best way to gauge how your dog is feeling and what actions to take next.
How To Stop My Dog From Biting When Excited?
Depending on the cause, the form of treatment shall differ. However, these are the most effective forms of treatment to prevent your dog biting when excited.
Take Them for a Vet Visit
Sometimes a dog may excessively bite because they are in pain. Although, this is more unusual when the biting only occurs during spurs of excitement. However, it is something worth considering as excited biting would take place more than other behaviors in this scenario. A dog that has tooth pain may chew to try to relieve the pain. On the other hand, a dog in more general pain may show more signs of aggression due to low tolerance. This may then lead to aggressive biting due to an exciting or new event. Getting them checked up can allow you to rule out this as a potential cause.
Socialize Your Dog
When your dog is not properly socialized as a puppy, or older in the case of rescues, it can affect them for following interactions. If they don’t know how to interact properly with dogs or humans, their excitement can lead to inappropriate behavior. When they are young, during the sensitive periods of their life your dog will understand boundaries and what is appropriate. This is if they are properly socialized and learn boundaries to ensure gentle and suitable behavior. Their biting may simply be a lack of understanding of animal and human boundaries. By using positive reinforcement and a calm tone to help your dog learn, they will respect that biting is not a behavior you want to happen.
Don't Give in to the Act
The biting may be a form of attention-seeking. By providing them with attention, even scolding, it sometimes enforces the idea to your dog that this behavior will get what they desire. You should firstly start by not acknowledging their behavior. When they begin to nibble and bite, try not to be vocal and avoid making eye contact with them. You can also redirect their attention to toys and foods. Although you have to be careful as your dog may consider this as a form of praise of biting. Try to get someone else in the house to distract them when you enter the home. or to have loud, or stimulating toys moving when you enter. Distractions may cause them to understand that this behavior is not needed and you can give them attention when they are calm.
A well-trained dog is one you can control, even when excited. Consider taking your dog to obedience training classes to help learn the proper techniques to have a well-behaved dog. By teaching your dog commands such as sit, lie down, stay, and go, these are enough to control your dog in this scenario. You can enter the door and firmly tell them to sit, and lie down. You can stay with them until they calm down and give them a controlled greeting. Soon they will begin to understand the greeting that you prefer and may even sit upon your entry after a while.
You can also practice training your dog at home. Check out some Youtube training videos to refer to.
Wear Your Dog Out
Some dogs and breeds are much more energetic than others and have a higher energy level. Their biting may because they have excess energy and require more exercise and stimulation. Therefore, be sure to wear your dog out more to help to minimize and control their excitement behavior. You can do so with longer walks, bigger periods of play with toys, and other forms of exercise. Try to keep the period of play or stimulation going until your dog starts to get tired. They should not be exhausted, but just happy to stop playing and rest a little. Also be sure that your dog is well hydrated through this time and has access to water constantly. You can use a travel dog bowl to have one on hand constantly.
Leave Your Dog Alone
Lastly, it may be a case if giving your dog time to calm down when they get overexcited. Many dog owners will purchase a dog crate to offer a safe space as well as one appropriate for when their dog needs to be alone. Make sure that the crate is large enough for their size and wide enough for every sleeping position they enjoy. You can also purchase a crate cover, as the darkness provided by dog crate covers can help to relax and calm your dog. As opposed to them staring at a crate gate or room door and wondering how they can get to it. Make sure to provide your dog with water while they are in their crate. As well as properly train them beforehand that the crate is not a punishment and they feel safe and happy inside.
How To Discipline a Dog that Bites?
When you wish to discipline a dog who bites, the key is to be firm but calm. Also, positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to train your dog to perform a behavior. In this case, getting excited without biting. When they begin to bite, firmly say no, then proceed to stand still and ignore them. Do not make eye contact until they calm down as this can excite them all over again. Allow them to calm down and once they have, you can reward them with attention and praise as positive reinforcement.
Be aware that this process is going to require patience and consistency to achieve your goal. For some dogs it can only take weeks, whereas for others it may take months. If you want quicker results, it is certainly worth contacting a behaviorist for an individual assessment of your dog. They will be able to find out what factors may be encouraging your dog to behave in this way. In a manner that you cannot when searching for generalized information online. There are always factors that cannot be mentioned in specific situations, and these elements may be the key factors causing your dog to bite when they are excited.
What You Shouldn't Do To Stop Your Dog From Biting
Although your dog biting can be painful and frustrating, there are actions you should never take in an attempt to prevent it. Firstly and most obviously, never harm your dog to scare them out of the behavior. It is cruel, unethical, and also does not solve the problem. You will be weakening your bond with them as well as inducing fear into their lives. Furthermore, their interactions and opinions of humans will suffer, which may in turn lead to more biting with a higher severity.
You should also not try to appear as the alpha by yelling, staring at them, or even holding them by their collar or scruff. The same man that discovered the idea of pack theory and alphas also disproved it. We exist as a family unit, and that’s how your dog sees you. By trying to create a sense of superiority, you are actually inducing an aggressive atmosphere and teaching your dog to fear you. You want your pet to feel happy and loved alongside learning their good behavior. Therefore, these manners of training are not the way to help your dog. Always avoid punishment and instead use positive reinforcement.
How to Stop My Dog From Biting When Excited – FAQs
To make sure you are aware of everything you need to know when preventing your dog from biting when they are excited, we have created an easy to read FAQ section right here.
There are two possible reasons: toy aggression or playful biting. Some dogs are very possessive over their. If you are to reach out and try to take it from them, they will react negatively to try to remain in possession of it. This will require the redirection of attention tied to positive reinforcement.
On the other hand, it may simply be that your dog is playing a bit too roughly. They may be giving you a play nip, but they can still hurt. Contact a behaviorist for the best way to control play nipping in each individual situation.
There is no one cure treatment to stop your dog from biting, as each situation is different. You must find out the cause and determine the appropriate treatment afterward.
You should actually not be attempting to show dominance over your puppy per se, but instead, firm commands with positive reinforcement. As dogs see us as a family unit and not a pack, our behavior should not be aimed at achieving dominance. Instead, redirect your puppy’s biting or treat it in the most appropriate manner, depending on the cause.
The best ways to calm an overexcited dog is to remain calm yourself, give them space to relax, and try to avoid eye contact or other forms of attention giving. If you appear nervous or excited then your dog will reflect those emotions more so. Furthermore, making eye contact or even giving affection can make your dog believe that you are encouraging this behavior or at least engaging in it.
You can also consider providing your dog with space and some alone time. Consider purchasing a crate for your dog in a quiet room, and if they are overexcited, gently take them to their crate. Once they have calmed down, let them out and give them gentle affection. Be sure to use a crate cover as well for extra comfort and stress reduction!
When a puppy bites your hands, firmly tell them no. Once they stop, reward them with play, affection, or a treat. If they bite your fingers and toes often, try to redirect their biting towards toys instead. Soon they will understand that this is what they should be biting, and not you!
Seeing your dog regularly bite you or otherwise can be quite worrisome, whether the behavior is induced by excitement or not. Understand what is causing this behavior from your dog so you can find the best manner in which to prevent it. Always remember though, do not punish your dog. They are displaying behavior they think is suitable, and your job is to gently correct it and help them become the best-behaved pup around in a fun and loving manner. That is the best way to stop a dog from biting when excited.