My Puppy Bites My Legs When I Walk, What Should I do?
Your pet may be biting your feet or ankles as you move. Does your dog have a habit of grabbing your leg and pulling on you whenever you sit down? Do his joyful pounces hurt your toes to the point of bleeding?
Does your puppy bite your legs when you try to walk away? If so, you’re not alone. Many pet owners struggle with this issue, and it can be a source of frustration.
In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why puppies might bite their owners’ legs and offer helpful tips on how to address the issue. Read on to learn more about how best to deal with this common problem.
To begin, don’t just disregard this. Even though this is just a phase, many puppies find it really entertaining, and the more they engage in it and enjoy it, the more likely they are to continue doing it as adults.
Therefore, what course of action would we recommend?
I’m taking multiple approaches to this.
- Keep track of the times it occurs so you can respond appropriately.
- Utilize preventative measures (management), i.e., do nothing.
- Rather than biting you, the puppy should be taught to do something else.
If your dog ever exhibits this behavior, you may stop it in its tracks by using a trained interrupter and diverting his attention elsewhere.
- What timeframe are we looking at?
- Is it when your dog is totally exhausted?
- When his excitement levels are too high?
- When does he ask for something?
If you’ve noticed that this only happens when your puppy is overtired or overexcited, you should place him in his cage or exercise pen with a chew toy he really loves. Take note of the precise triggers that are causing this to occur at other times so that you can implement appropriate management.
- Prevention is the key to effective management. Try to answer the question, “Can I stop it?”
- Does this occur, say, when your dog gets too enthusiastic after being released from the crate?
- Please give him a healthy chew when he exits; he’ll need an outlet for all that pent-up activity.
Does he act this way when you take him outside to urinate? Is there a way to keep him from jumping all over your feet if you take him on a walk? For some dogs, a little bit of management is probably all that’s required. Your job is to keep things under control until they’ve grown out of it.
Help him learn to change his ways. In my experience, teaching a dog to walk with you without biting is the most effective method. Does it not appear to be so? In reality though, it’s a breeze…
Before you can teach them to stop biting, you need to get some practice in when they are not actively biting. Accumulate a handful of sweets (usually something boring like kibble for this one).
Drop a reward on the floor for your dog to eat, walk away while he is eating (because you’re holding several rewards), say “yes” as he comes near you (before he can bite or grasp your leg), and repeat.
When your dog masters this, walk away from him while saying “yes” when he follows you, but keep going for another step or two before letting go of the goodie.
Repeat this process until your dog is able to walk ten steps beside you without stopping before giving up the reward. Do this technique with your dog whenever you think he or she could bite you, and the bites will stop before they start. Soon enough he’ll be walking beside you instead of biting your hand.
What about training your puppy?
When your dog makes such an attempt, shouldn’t you tell him to stop?
Usually, a simple “no” is not enough. As a matter of fact, when faced with this sort of behaviour, I employ the services of a trained verbal interrupter.
When teaching a puppy, this is only a minor portion of the process, and it won’t be effective without the aforementioned additions. When I do, I make sure to say it quietly and then immediately follow it up with a redirection. Here’s the best way to teach an interrupter to behave:
Put your foot down (the word “no” is acceptable, but I prefer “stop” because I don’t use it in any other contexts). Use a quiet, firm voice to say, “Stop.” Avoid using a scary voice, but one that makes it apparent you’re not playing with your dog. Make eye contact with your dog while you say it.
Drop a reward in front of your dog within a second after shouting his name. Declare “stop” and put down the snack.
Practice this until your puppy anticipates the word “stop” by looking for the treat at the base of the stairs. If you notice your puppy doing this, now is the time to start adding in the “yes” or click that will trigger a reward. Just say “stop,” your dog will stare down, and then “yes” as you drop a reward on the floor.
Then, do it a couple times while your dog is preoccupied with a toy. When our dog looks down in response to our command to “halt,” we recognize the behaviour with a “yes” or a click and treat him.
To your dog, “stop” will finally have meaning. It will indicate that you should look down immediately.
To interrupt, follow these steps. When your puppy unexpectedly grabs your pant leg, write down the time and circumstances so you can avoid a repeat performance. Declare “halt,” and then remain motionless for the time being.
Do not wiggle your toes or move your legs; doing so encourages the dog to bite. Immediately when your dog stops, lavish him with praise and then show him an appropriate chew toy.
If your dog still doesn’t listen the second time, take him up and immediately place him in his isolation area, be it an exercise pen or crate, and reward him with a chew toy.
It’s a lot! Are you sure you need to complete all of these tasks? Perhaps, but it could be no. My first line of defense is always effective management; if you can keep it under control, most puppies will eventually grow out of it.
But if your dog is adamant about gripping your legs, you may have to do all of these things. Don’t worry; after a few weeks of this, your puppy will get it and be able to stroll calmly at your side.
When your puppy bites your legs when you walk, it can be a difficult situation to deal with. However, understanding why they are doing it and addressing the behavior through consistent positive reinforcement is key to preventing this from becoming a recurrent problem. With patience and dedication, you’ll have an obedient pup in no time!