How To Stop My Dog From Biting When Excited

There’s no harm in having a playful pup, in fact it can be incredibly fun. However, the problem comes when that line between fun and dangerous is crossed and sadly a naughty habit of biting can have dreadful consequences. Therefore, it’s important to nip biting in the bud as soon as possible.

Knowing where to start with stopping your dog from biting can seem impossible. But, you may be desperate to do so, especially if you frequently have children around your dog or take him to public places. Hopefully, this guide can help you to find the starting point that’s right for you. 

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Offer More Appropriate Chew Toys

When your dog starts to bite things he shouldn’t be, like your brand new sofa or your knee cap a great idea could be to redirect him with something which is much more appropriate to chew such as a toy.

This will not only instantly distract your dog from doing any further damage but it will also help to start to teach him what he can and can not chew. 

Stop Giving Him Attention

In many respects dogs are a lot like children and this is one of them, sometimes your four legged friend may misbehave for attention. In other words, your dog may be well aware that what he is doing is wrong but simply be looking for a reaction from you.

Rather than giving your dog the big reaction that he craves, putting him in his crate or another time out area will mean that he receives no attention and show him that his actions have in fact been counter-productive. 

Swap Out Aggressive Punishments For Consequences

Using aggressive punishments such as verbal intimidation or grabbing your dog can have directly the opposite effect than you intend.

Dogs can respond to aggression with aggression so by treating your dog in a violent way you are in fact teaching him that it is okay to be violent which could make the biting worse.

Instead try calmer consequences that your dog can understand such as removing toys or treats. 

Don’t Let Him Get Used To Biting

It is important that you don’t let your dog practice biting and in turn normalize his bad behavior. So, if he is nipping at you, the children or things around the house put him on a lead even when he is at home.

If he starts to bite whilst out walking, try using a gentle leader and walk next to him and gently pull this, do not release the tension until he stops biting. 

Don’t Teach Your Dog That It Is Okay To Bite You

Once your dog is in the habit of biting it becomes harder to make him stop. This is why it is important to discipline and not reward biting, for instance he may jump up and nip you in an attempt to get your attention, if you then give him said attention he will learn that this was the right way to go about it.

Instead as soon as he starts to misbehave you need to react by giving him consequences even if it’s more convenient not to. 

Make Sure That Your Dog Is Getting Enough Exercise

If your dog is not getting enough exercise they will have excess energy left to burn. This excess energy can be used in very toxic ways such as biting.

The amount of exercise that dogs need varies depending upon breed and other factors but as a rough guide the vast majority of dogs need at least one, if not two, walks a day.

If due to other commitments you are currently unable to provide this it may be a good idea to look at getting a professional dog walker, if you decide to do this it is important that you tell them the issues with biting and the way in which you would like them to respond as when training a dog consistency is key. 

Reward Good Behavior

Rewarding your four legged friend for good behavior will allow him to make the connection that good behavior gets a good reaction whereas bad behavior gets a bad reaction.

Therefore, it is important that despite how frustrated you may feel by the current situation whenever your dog behaves well, for instance when he responds correctly to a command, that you use positive reinforcement to reward him.

Rewards can include positive verbal responses such as calling your dog a good boy in an upbeat tone, fussing your dog or giving him his favourite treats. 

Further Training

If your dog’s behavior does not improve despite continued effort then it may be that he simply needs more training. Training can be done by you at home or if this is not working perhaps it could be a good idea to see a professional trainer.

Taking your dog to a class may be a good way to save money as the vast majority of trainers charge less for classes than for private sessions. Going to a class could also allow you to exchange helpful tips and tricks with other dog owners. 

Final Thoughts

Dealing with an excitable dog can be difficult at the best of times but when the dog is also a biter it can feel like an impossible task to deal with.

Combining some of the above tricks could be enough to start to combat the issue for instance, using positive reinforcement when the dog is well behaved and pulling his specially designed lead when he starts to bite could hopefully teach him that biting is not the right route to take.

Alternatively, if the at home remedies suggested do not work it could be time to seek further professional training for your pooch.

Overall, it is important that you feel confident and comfortable when dealing with your dog as these four legged creatures are amazing people readers, so it is important to be assertive, consistent and do your best to discipline correctly. 

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.