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Does your dog love to jump and bite when excited?
That’s not only a super annoying—and potentially dangerous—behavior, it also just doesn’t make any sense, right?
Sure, you’re happy to see your dog too when you come home. But why would he want to hurt you when he’s excited to see you?
In this article we’ll go over all the reasons your dog might be jumping and biting you (or your guests) when excited. It’s always much easier to train the right behavior when you understand why your dog is behaving the way he is.
After that, you’ll learn how you can train your dog to behave in a calmer and more respectful way. And in the end we’ll go over a couple of related questions you might have.
Why Is My Dog Jumping and Biting When Excited?
Jumping around and biting is really common behavior for dogs, especially when they’re excited about something.
But just because it’s common, that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant!
If your dog is jumping and biting when he gets excited, you might be wondering why that is. There are a few reasons why he’s exhibiting this behavior. Let’s go over the reasons here:
He Can’t Control His Energy
One of the most common reasons why a dog will jump on you and bite you when he’s feeling particularly enthusiastic is because he doesn’t know how to control his energy. He’s got all this happiness and joy at seeing you come home, or watching you prepare his meal. He needs something to do with it!
Unfortunately, he might channel that energy into jumping and biting. This can be very unpleasant for you, and at times even dangerous. If you have a big dog, the possibility of being knocked over is very real!
Puppies especially tend to be very prone to this type of behavior. Since they’re so young, they haven’t yet learned proper manners, and will be more likely to show their excitement by jumping around and biting.
He Wants Attention
Some dogs will jump on their owners and bite when they feel they’re not getting enough attention. After all, what better way to get you to notice them than by leaping directly at you?
If you’ve ever seen a kid who doesn’t feel like his parents are paying enough to attention to him, then you know this kind of behavior. Kids might tug at their parents’ clothing or climb all over them to get the parental focus on them.
Dogs are really similar! Jumping and biting you could be his way of saying, “Hey! I want your attention!”
He Wants to Play
It’s normal for other dogs to jump on each other and gently bite when they’re playing together.
While this may be okay for dogs to do with each other, it’s different when dogs to it to us. Having a big Lab jump all over you and chomp at your hands is not fun!
It could also be because he wants to play with something in his mouth, and you just happen to be the closest thing. Playing with your dog is fun, but it’s a lot less fun when your feet and hands are in danger!
Mouthing and Chewing Has a Calming Effect
A dog’s mouth is one of the primary ways they explore the world. Chewing on things can also produce a calming effect.
Unfortunately, if your dog doesn’t have anything else to chew, he might go for your hands and feet instead. Although it might be painful and uncomfortable for you, for your dog the act of chewing releases pleasant-feeling hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
This is why it’s really important to make sure your dog has access to lots of fun toys he is allowed to chew on! Having them be easily accessible to your dog will encourage him to chew on his toys rather than on you.
How Do You Stop a Dog from Jumping and Biting When Excited?
Now that you know the reasons why your dog is biting you and jumping all over you when he’s excited, let’s get into the reason why you’re here!
Here’s how you can stop your dog from chewing on you and leaping everywhere.
Completely Ignore Your Dog
As hard as it is, the very first thing you need to do is ignore your dog. It’s difficult when he’s actively getting in your face, but ignoring him is the first step to discouraging the behavior.
The reason for this is that you don’t want to accidentally make him think he can get what he wants by jumping and biting. When you react to your dog, even to tell him, “No!” he’s still getting attention from you.
So, even though it’s hard, you should ignore your dog when he’s jumping and biting you. This brings us to the next tip…
Immediately Get Out of His Reach
When your dog jumps on you and bites you, it’s generally to get attention from you. To stop the behavior, you need to get somewhere where he can’t reach you.
You need to use this tip along with the previous one. So, if the first step is to ignore your dog, the immediate second step is to get out of his reach. It works best if you ignore your dog when he starts showing this behavior, and then walk into a different room and close the door.
By doing this, you’re making sure he gets the exact opposite of what he wants, which is your attention. Once you do this and show him that jumping and biting isn’t the way to get your love, he’ll try a different, calmer approach.
When you’re walking away from your dog, it’s very important that you do so calmly and at a normal pace.
Running can trigger certain chasing instincts in your dog. When you run, your dog might think that it’s part of a game. That’s the opposite of what you want to teach him!
So instead, just walk to a different room, making sure to completely ignore your dog.
For Puppies: Yelp and Walk Away
This trick won’t work with older dogs, but with very young puppies it could be useful. If you’ve ever seen young puppies play together, this is one of the ways they learn bite inhibition.
If a puppy starts getting a little too rowdy with another puppy, the puppy will yelp loudly and turn away to stop playing. This shows the biting puppy that the playing was a little too rough, and they need to tone it down.
Unfortunately, this trick stops being effective as the puppy gets older. At a certain point, your dog just thinks that you sound like a squeaky toy—which is super fun!
Teach a Different Greeting Behavior, Like “Touch”
The command “touch” encourages a behavior in dogs called targeting. This basically means teaching the dog to use his nose to target certain things. You can use this to train your dog to greet people politely, instead of by jumping.
Teaching your dog “touch” is easier than it might seem. All you have to do is hold your open hand in front of your dog’s nose. Your dog will want to sniff your hand. As soon as his nose makes contact with your hand, say “yes” and reward him with a treat!
You’ll keep doing this until your dog is consistently touching your hand. Then you can start adding in the cue “touch.” You can also increase the distance the more confident you and your dog get with the command.
Dogs are very emotional animals, and are extremely intuitive. They can easily pick up on our feelings and will react the same way we are.
That means that if you come home to your jumping dog, and you’re shouting and talking and moving, your dog will pick up on that and think he should do the same.
Instead, you should be mindful of staying calm. It might be hard with your dog jumping all over and biting you, but getting agitated yourself will only encourage him more!
If you’d like to get a more detailed guide by a professional dog trainer, make sure to check out Braintraining4dogs. This is an in-depth dog training program that covers pretty much any behavioral issue you might face with your dog and also goes over how to stop your dog from jumping and biting.
Check out my review of the program to see if this could be useful for you and your dog!
What NOT to Do to Stop a Dog from Jumping and Biting When Excited
The above tips and tricks will help you prevent your dog from jumping and biting. But there are some things you should also keep in mind that you absolutely should NOT do.
Hold His Muzzle
Some people think that holding a dog’s muzzle closed when he’s biting and nipping will tell him that you don’t like what he’s doing.
Unfortunately, your dog reads something different into that.
When you hold his muzzle closed, all you’re really doing is making him uncomfortable with having your hand near his mouth. If it happens too often or too aggressively, it might also encourage him to bite you more as he tries to defend himself.
Push Him Down
Pushing your dog down or performing an “alpha roll” is an old, outdated technique. Dog trainers used to believe this was an effective way to show dominance over your dog.
However, more recent research and science have debunked “alpha”-based training in general. Studies tell us that not only is it ineffective, it might encourage aggression in your dog. There are better ways of dog training available today.
Doing this to your dog can also really harm your relationship with him.
Hurt Him Back
You might want to show your dog how it feels when he bites you. But you should NEVER hurt your dog intentionally, even to teach him a lesson!
Hurting your dog can seriously damage your relationship with him. If you hurt him, he’ll stop trusting you. He might also become anxious and nervous around you, which could lead to problems with aggression if he feels he needs to defend himself from you.
Scream at Him
You should avoid screaming at your dog for the same reasons you shouldn’t push him down or hurt him. Doing this will make him anxious around you.
Screaming will also agitate him, which encourages him to bite more. This is why it’s so important to stay calm!
Pull Back and Forth
Yanking on your dog is only going to agitate him even more. If he’s jumping on you and nipping, grabbing his collar and pulling back and forth will only rile him up.
You could also accidentally hurt your dog doing this!
The best way to prevent your dog from jumping and biting is to be proactive with his training. Follow all the above tips and teach your dog the behavior that you like! And never ever do anything that would hurt your dog, or make him afraid of you.
Why Does My Dog Bite My Sleeves?
Does your dog love it when you play tug-of-war with him? If he’s a big fan of the game, he might try to start up a round by biting and tugging at your sleeves.
You might also be accidentally encouraging him to do this by pulling back on your sleeve. As soon as you pull, now you’re playing the game!
Instead, move your arm towards your dog if he grabs onto your sleeve to make the game less fun. Once he lets go, you can grab one of his toys and redirect him with that!
Why Does My Dog Bite When I Come Home?
Some dogs just show their enthusiasm by biting. All that excited energy has to come out somehow, and a lot of dogs use their mouths to get it out!
Unfortunately, this can be annoying, painful, and depending on the severity even dangerous. Use the above tips to train your dog to greet you in a more respectful way. “Touch” will be a particularly useful command!
Why Do My Dogs Fight When They Get Excited?
Dogs are very emotional creatures. They often act on impulse, and may direct their energy in unproductive ways when they get excited.
If one of your dogs tends to attack your other dog when he gets excited, it’s just because he doesn’t know any other way to direct his energy! The best way to solve this kind of behavior is by keeping an eye on your dog, and redirecting his excitement before he can start attacking your other dog.
The Dogington Post has a really great article that explains exactly how this works!
Biting and jumping are both really frustrating behaviors. There are lots of reasons why your dog might be jumping and biting, and plenty of tips you can use to help stop him from exhibiting those behaviours.
Just as important, there are things you should absolutely avoid when you’re working with your dog. Never do anything to intimidate or hurt him. Instead, use positive reinforcement, and teach your dog the behaviors you prefer! This is a much more effective way of training your dog, plus it strengthens the bond between the two of you.