Dogs are very social animals, and they need to communicate with their owners. In general, they use body language and sounds to communicate with us. However, why does your dog bite you when you come home?
There are several reasons why your dog might bite you when you come home. A few of the most common ones include:
- Your pup is excited to see you and wants to play with you.
- Your canine companion is trying to get your attention since they haven’t seen you for a while.
- Your dog is trying to tell you that they want something, like food or water.
- Your dog is tired.
- Your furry buddy is frustrated or suffering from separation anxiety.
- Your dog has learned that biting behavior is rewarded.
- Your pooch has not been trained to avoid biting.
- Excessive petting may lead to overstimulation and biting behavior as a result.
All of these reasons may contribute to canine biting behavior when you come home, so let’s discuss them in more detail so you’re able to better understand your pup’s reasoning for this behavior after a period of absence.
1. Your pup is excited to see you and wants to play with you
When dogs become overly excited or aroused for any reason, they start to lose any shyness as well as their self-control, and this sometimes makes them more prone to biting.
Try to play with your pup daily to keep his or her energy level and abundance of excitement under control. While playing with your pup and burning off their energy, also be sure to encourage safe play that avoids any nipping or biting, and this will promote more appealing playtime behaviors.
2. Your canine companion is trying to get your attention since they haven’t seen you for a while
Your dog wants to play with you, but they need to get your attention first, so this is when they may choose to bite you. Biting a person is often guaranteed to get them a response, whether positive or most likely negative, but regardless, it accomplishes what they’ve set out to do: get your attention.
If your dog seems to bite you out of a need to communicate and get your attention, try to teach your pup the “wait” command when you need a few extra moments before playing or interacting with them.
3. Your dog is trying to tell you that they want something, like food or water
Dogs communicate with their owners in a variety of ways. They might whine, growl, bark, or even bite to get their point across. Your dog’s body language can tell you what they want and when they need it. For example, if your dog bites you when you come home, this could mean they want attention from you or that they need food or water.
If this appears to be the case, work with your dog on learning scheduled meal times and when to expect additional food or water from you each day. Also, be sure they have enough to last them during the periods of time when you are gone to avoid any discomfort or frustration that may lead to biting behaviors when they feel desperate.
4. Your furry buddy is frustrated or suffering from separation anxiety
Dogs frequently use biting behavior to express their irritation and rage in the same way that very young toddlers may feel the need to strike, slap, or kick when they are angry.
A pup’s annoying or “bratty” behavior might be easily misinterpreted as frustration biting. However, keep in mind that frustration is a particularly unpleasant emotion and that it is frequently triggered by feelings of bewilderment and a lack of control over a situation.
If your dog exhibits biting behavior as well as any other signs of struggling with separation anxiety of loneliness when you’re away, be sure to consult with a trusted veterinarian on how to handle the issue and the best manner of helping to keep your pup calm and content when needed.
5. They are tired
One of the most likely reasons we see dogs display excessively biting and snappy behavior is because they are overtired. In their first year of life, dogs require 14 to 16 hours of sleep every day. They behave similarly to a human infant or toddler when fatigued, but they do not yet have the self-awareness to realize that they need to take a nap to avoid feeling so irritable and unpleasant.
6. Your dog has learned that biting behavior is rewarded
When your dog bites whenever you come home, one of the easiest solutions to get them to stop is to give him or her a treat. Most pet owners do this to bypass the situation, but if you do it on a regular basis, this will lead to a permanent habit of biting behavior in your dog. This happens because your dog thinks that by biting or nipping, they are guaranteed to get a reward, so they will repeat the behavior again and again.
Avoid using rewards as a way to stop this behavior since you’ll simply just be training your dog to continue doing it. Rewarding your pup once they calm down and stop the behavior is a great way to train them to act more calmly and prevent any further biting attempts.
7. Your pooch has not been trained to avoid biting
If your dog is not trained properly as a pup, in the future, this will lead to some bad vices—especially biting. Your dog is unable to differentiate between positive and negative behaviors due to a lack of basic training, so therefore they will simply think that biting is okay rather than learning it isn’t a good action.
Basic puppy training, especially to avoid biting once your pup gets larger, is a must.
8. Excessive petting can lead to overstimulation and consequent biting behavior
When you pet a dog for an extended period of time, many of them will get a bit snippy. Often, this may be attributed to the pup becoming overstimulated due to all of the tummy rubbing and snuggling, but other times, your pup may also be pleading with you in the most polite manner they know to grant them a moment’s peace to themselves.
Being aware of your dog’s body language will help you learn when the petting and rubbing is reaching the point that your dog may need a break from the attention.
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Biting Me When I Come Home?
There are a number of strategies for deterring dogs from nipping or biting. Read on to learn some of the methods you can try to help inhibit this behavior and avoid stressed or overstimulated love bites from your pup upon arriving home.
1. Toss food on the ground
The simplest way to avoid a dog’s biting behavior is to toss food items on the ground to divert your canine’s attention. Try to scatter a small amount of goodies on the ground to make your dog forget about biting and instead give you a moment to get in the door. Sniffing around for treats and snacking on the ones found will often assist in calming down the majority of dogs.
When using this method, it’s important that you provide diversion treats before any biting occurs so you don’t teach your pup that biting equals a reward. Sometimes, this method may also convince your pup that excitable behavior will be rewarded, so only use this tactic before properly training your dog how to welcome you when you arrive home.
2. Maintain a calm attitude
Numerous dogs bite or nip at us due to waving our arms around, squealing like their squeaky toys, and transforming ourselves into thrilling play items. Certain dogs will cease biting and nipping if you make yourself uninteresting, although many that simply miss their owners will remain excited, regardless.
Using the “stay calm and ignore the dog” tactic may not work as well on young puppies that are still in training, but older dogs that have been taught to receive rewards for desired behavior and that their owners will not acknowledge unpleasant behavior will generally be more responsive to this method.
3. Closing the dog’s muzzle
In general, pressing a dog’s jaw shut acts as a type of punishment that communicates “do not do that.” In actuality, this does little more than make your dog fearful of your touch near his mouth. This can become an issue in the future when you attempt to remove potentially toxic items or food from your dog’s mouth or try to brush his teeth.
This method may temporarily halt the biting, but it is not the greatest way to teach your pup not to bite in the future, so we strongly recommend against using this method for reducing any biting behavior. It should only be used when risk of injury is a real threat, depending upon the dog and their level of excitement and inability to calm down.
4. Be the alpha
Old-school dog instructors believe that alpha roles establish dominance and that this will keep your dog behaving properly. In general, the alpha role is a somewhat archaic tactic from the viewpoint of those who believe they should assert their dominance in a physical manner. Pinning your dog to the ground will likely prevent him from biting you, but this would only be because he fears you.
We’re quite certain that you’re looking for a best friend in your canine companion, not a hostage! Rather than using harsh, frightening techniques to enforce your rules, you can use more reasonable methods of asserting yourself as the alpha such as showing your pup that he needs to wait for your permission before engaging in certain activities, such as beginning a meal or running out the door for a walk. The more that you calmly and confidently show your dog who is boss, the more they will fall in line and respect your commands as their owner with no aggression or bad blood between the two of you.
5. Water or anything else harmless can be sprayed on the dog
This tactic is often quite effective for dogs as well as other common pets, so they are frequently advised for those seeking immediate results. Spraying your dog with something, nevertheless, is rather uncomfortable and can be startling and unpleasant for them.
While this may temporarily deter your dog from biting, it educates him that you (and anyone else spraying things at him) are frightening or painful, and this is not a good way to promote a healthy relationship between you and your dog.
7. Coin shaking
Coin shaking is another way to stop dog biting and nipping behavior. People like this tactic, similar to spraying the dog, because it immediately puts an end to the activity very fast. Just like spraying your dog when he bites, these approaches are unpleasant for him, but they work.
Don’t be surprised if your dog begins to develop other behavioral concerns or anxiety due to the stress such methods can cause, though.
7. Go outside or simply leave
If nothing else works when a dog is biting at you, simply leave. For a few seconds, step out or go behind a locked door. When the dog does anything you dislike, this punishment approach safely and calmly takes away what the dog desires: you and your limbs to bite on.
Return after a few seconds and attempt to cue your pup to sit. Repetition is necessary. This method is extremely effective in resolving the issue and is the proper way to train your dog the correct way in which you want them to respond to your return!
For most canines, a bored person who flees when they nip or bite becomes a rather ineffective chew toy, so try to avoid future bites by teaching your pup how unappealing you are when exposed to such behavior from them.
Is every bite the same?
While all bites should be taken seriously, the conditions and choices made by the dog throughout the process of choosing to and then acting on the desire to bite may provide insight into the alternatives explored before they chose to resort to aggression. In general, most dogs are able to maintain good control over the intensity and ferocity of their biting behavior.
Certain bites are suppressed, leaving no trace on the skin. Other bites may cause the skin to bruise, be squeezed, or be left with indentations without drawing any blood. When bites are more severe, the skin is broken and puncture lesions may occur that can be either superficial or quite deep. Severe bites may lead to significant injuries and mandatory medical care.
Many dogs bite once and then withdraw, whereas others repeatedly bite during the same incident. Sometimes dogs attack when threatened or when approached closely; others charge from across the room. These variations in biting behaviors are due to different dog breeds/species or due to their training.
Should I put my dog down after he bites me?
This is a rather perplexing question. To begin, your pet should not be put down based on a single bite without first considering the circumstances of the bite.
If your dog has shown significant signs of aggression, it may be best to consult with your veterinarian regarding whether specific training may help alleviate these behaviors or if there are any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog to lash out (such as chronic pain, which a dog doesn’t understand).
In some cases, a home environment may simply not be ideal for certain breeds or personalities, and your dog would be best rehomed to someone who can provide the best possible environment and meet any exercise needs to help improve your dog’s levels of frustration and overall mental health.
Euthanasia should be used as a very last option and should be considered only in the most severe cases of behavioral disorders. If a dog exhibits extreme aggression or has seriously or fatally wounded someone, and especially when training or a change of environment appears to be useless in resolving the dog’s behavioral issues, this may be an appropriate time to discuss with your veterinarian the option of putting the animal down if it is 100% incapable of coexisting with other people and animals without harming them.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.