Ouch! You exclaim as your dog nips your hand, again. Just as you go to scold your dog, the thought crosses your mind – why am I the only one getting hurt?
You realize your partner never seems to have these issues – your dog is a well behaved angel when your husband or boyfriend is around, but morphs into a moody rascal when he leaves. Have you noticed your dog nipping at you, pulling on your pant leg, and disobeying your commands when it’s just you?
Maybe you’ve gotten a new puppy a few months ago and you notice that you’ve been the one to receive all the bad behavior, while your hubby waxes poetic about how sweet your little pup is.
Don’t fear! We have heard similar stories from many dog owners – you are not alone!
As it turns out, there are a variety of reasons why your dog tends to bite you and not your husband. We’ll lay out many of the common causes here, and you can decide which one might fit your scenario best and how to proceed. As always, we are open for questions and inquiries, please see our Contact page!
See How The Other Side Plays
I’ve seen many instances where the husband plays rougher with the puppy as opposed to the wife. They will wrestle with it and let the puppy teeth and bite them, and the pupper loves it! Sometimes this leads to your dog wanting you to play with them the same way, so they initiate it with biting and grabbing your clothes.
On the other end of things, it could be possible that you play more with your puppy and they are going to you for more playtime! This particular problem can be hard to solve without knowing more about the situation at hand, but it could be useful to watch how your husband plays with the dog and compare that to your own play style.
Your Pet May Be Trying to Tell You Something
Your dog may be trying to tell you that he / she is hungry and is looking to eat. I would recommend not feeding them until you stop this behavior so as to not make it a habit. From looking around on the Web, it looks like some owners reported their pets do this when they are sleepy as well.
Take this time to also check their water bowl and see if they need to use the bathroom. Over time, you will begin to learn about your dog’s unique body language and what they are trying to say to you!
Remember, only give them their food after they calm down and are not biting you. You do not want your puppy to associate biting with getting food.
A Teething Puppy
If your puppy is in the 2 – 16 week range, it could be that your puppy has started teething and they need something to nibble on! Give them a toy whenever they start to nip at you to encourage them to use their toy more often. See our guide on how to stop your puppy from biting here for some quick tips.
Anxiety in dogs can manifest itself in many different ways, including biting and chewing furniture, door knobs, and you! There may be something in your house that is off putting to your puppy, or it could need more training to get used to its environment and to assist with socialization.
These are a few of the possible reasons why your pet may be doing this, and they are also the most common. It is tough to pinpoint the exact reason without receiving personalized help from a dog trainer.
Here are some potential options that may benefit you can help solve this problem once and for all!
How To Fix The Biting and Nipping Once and For All
Increase amount of exercise
This is almost just a blanket recommendation for any dog problem, especially with younger dogs. Dogs can have huge amounts of energy and it’s going to come out somehow – either while exercising or in more annoying ways.
So make sure you are walking and playing with your dog enough, find a way to get them to release a ton of energy so you can chill out for a bit! The dog park is highly recommended, as they will gain important social skills there too.
Walks are also great, and give you a chance to practice your heel command and having them ignore distractions.
Give Em A Toy!
Try giving your pup a toy to bite instead of you. It may just be a habit for your dog to like to bite and nip at everything, so try showing them what they should be playing with. Give them a toy and encourage them to use it whenever they start going for you. If you play rough with your pet, make sure to use this next method to prevent them from going overboard during playtime.
Another idea is to start trying some “brain training” games with your puppy. These are simple, mentally enriching games that help to activate the learning centers of your pup’s brain, and often times bring along a better behaved pet as a result. If you are interested, Brain Training for Dogs is a great place to start!
Use The “Cry” Method To Stop Unwanted Biting
Try using the “cry” or “yell” method to discipline your dog after they bite you. Whenever your dog does something you don’t like such as bite you, let out a loud cry or yelp to get their attention and they should instinctively stop.
Make sure your yelp is getting their attention – I’ve seen some cases where the boyfriend or husband has a more powerful and forceful yelp than the woman, and it works to get their attention in a better way. So if you aren’t seeing the same reaction when you yelp as your spouse, try to be louder, more forceful and confident with it.
You may need to lower your voice or get a bit louder, but make sure your puppy doesn’t confuse it for playing. They need to know this type of behavior is not ok!
Try these dominance strategies. Try making your voice lower when scolding. Be firm with your puppy – mean what you say and don’t back down. You aren’t being mean to your dog, you’re training it! Everyone will have a better experience in the long run.
Avoid using a baby voice with puppies as they will get more excited and playful, unless that is what you are going for!
Make sure to be tough and firm when you discipline your dog – don’t let them get away with something they shouldn’t be doing. Discipline works when there’s a mild unpleasant sensation that occurs as punishment – such as crying out, using a spray bottle on them,
Additional Ways To Discipline
Another type of discipline you can use when your pet nips at you or bites you, is to use the “timeout” method. Immediately after your dog bites you, get up and leave the room for about 10 – 20 seconds. You will have to do this every time they do something you don’t like so they can make the connection between the action and discipline.
Going along with my last point, no matter which style of discipline you choose, make sure to be consistent. You have to administer the punishment every single time, no matter what if you want it to stick. You are showing your puppy that this behavior will always lead to this negative result, and it takes consistency for your dog to figure that out.
Whichever method you choose, give it at least a few weeks before you decide if it’s working or not. It can take some time before your puppy figures connects the dots.
We have outlined some ways to stop this behavior in this article, and we hope that it is helpful to you. It can be hard to determine the exact way to fix this problem without knowing about your unique scenario. There can be a myriad of reasons why this behavior persists even after training.
The best method is to utilize the skills and knowledge of a seasoned dog training professional who can work with you to find the problems.
Training works better the earlier you start, so find a great dog trainer today and enjoy your time with your puppy again.