My Dog is Aggressive Towards Visitors. How do I stop him?
This is a common question among dog owners experiencing this behavior. Having a dog bite on a visitor’s feet is scary and dangerous. You will have issues with your dog whenever you have people over your house. Furthermore, this behavior can advance to biting people during walks and even aggression towards children and family members. Therefore, you will need to control this behavior as soon as possible.
To stop the behavior, there are a few things you need to consider. This section of this article will look at your options and the precautions to take when your dog doesn’t stop biting on people’s feet.
Teach your puppy bite inhibition
Like human children, puppies tend to explore their environments. They will use their mouths to discover the good and the bad. However, since you want to live harmoniously with your puppy, you must correct some wild behaviors. Training your puppy on the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in the household is essential to train your puppy on the excellent and inappropriate behaviors in your home.
For this reason, you should take some time and train your puppy to be gentle. Well, it is natural that puppies learn bite inhibition naturally when they play together. However, once again, domestication also leads to separation from their families. For instance, when you adopt a puppy, you separate him from his family. He does not get to learn about being a dog, and so you assume the role of teaching good behavior.
There are several ways you can teach your puppy bite inhibition. To start with, he should know that it hurts when he bites on you. For instance, during play, your puppy may bite your hand. As much as this is not painful, you should discourage it. Stop playing with him until he lets go. Do not pull away as it may arouse the chase instincts, which will only worsen it. Once he releases your hand, resume playing. Repeat until he learns to let go.
Limit guests for some time
If your dog shows aggression upon seeing your guest, you should consider it. This could be a result of an anxiety-based kind of aggression. Your dog thinks every visitor at the door is a potential threat. Therefore, this arouses his fight or flight response, resulting in a biting reaction.
Once you discover that your dog feels uncomfortable and threatened by guests, you may consider limiting the visitors. Your dog needs some space to feel safe again. It would help if you took the time to play and observe your dog. This way, you will be able to realize when your dog is suffering from anxiety. In addition, you will be able to reduce the feelings of insecurity around your home.
Offer a safe space for your dog.
Once again, when your dog feels unsafe, his fight or flight response awakens. He wants to defend his rightful place in the house, and probably your visitors are walking too close to his safe space. To feel safe, your dog will attack the person, usually aggressively.
To provide a safe space for your dog, you may get him a crate. Let him know that it is his safe space and that no one will come near him. In addition, let your guests know they are not allowed anywhere near the secure area for your dog.
Put him on a leash
Now, if your dog bites on the visitor’s feet and won’t stop, it is time to take action. It would be best if you were concerned because it is usually not in a gentle manner. You can put him on a leash whenever you have guests over. This way, you can stop your dog from reaching your visitors aggressively.
You will have to put your dog on a leash to be able to train him to socialize. I mean, you cannot be okay with having a dog who attacks anyone approaching your house. For instance, you should consider introducing your dog to your visitor. To achieve this, your dog must be willing to do so, and you must be able to control any outcome. This is usually done through the method of desensitization, which means you are exposing him to what he is afraid of.
It would help if you were cautious when using the desensitization method to treat anxiety-based aggression. This is because it can lead to an increased attack or willingness to socialize. It could go either way, depending on your dog.
Introduce your dog to your visitor when he is on a leash. Let him approach as close as he wants to calmly. However, withdraw from the method if your dog aggressively comes to your visitors.
Train him commands
Commands are an essential part of your dog’s training. This is because it is a common ground between you and your dog. After all, you now have a common language. However, this should not be done when your dog is angry and aggressive. Yelling, shouting, or hitting your dog is unacceptable, especially when training him.
You can train your dog how to sit down when you have visitors. As always, reinforce this training by rewarding your dog whenever he gets it right. For instance, you can teach him to sit down during playtime by calmly telling him to ‘sit’ when he bites on you. Once he learns to obey, offer him a treat for good behavior. Repeat until he gets it.
Now, whenever you have a guest at the door, your dog will still react to that. He will probably approach the door and maybe even bark and howl to protect his territory. However, command him to sit down and maintain eye contact as you open for your guests. This is best done when you have him on a leash because you will be able to control the situation should anything go wrong. Once he obeys the command, reward him with praises or treats.
Exercise your dog
As protective as dogs are, they sometimes engage in certain behaviors just because they can and like it. For instance, a puppy that bites on your or visitor’s feet playfully is probably trying to initiate play. Sometimes it is not even playing time, but your dog has so much energy that he cannot keep calm.
Exercising your dog not only leaves him healthier and happy but also depleted. All he wants to do is rest without many activities. Therefore, it is recommendable that you exercise your puppy every day to make sure that he does not have so much energy.
Consider taking long walks in the morning. This will stimulate your dog mentally and physically by exposing him to the outside. This will make him more accepting as he will get used to seeing people on the streets.
Teach him optional greetings
A puppy biting a visitor’s feet might also be trying to say hello. However, it would help if you did not encourage him to use biting. Instead, train him on how to greet visitors in other ways. For instance, you can teach him how to shake hands when a visitor comes to the door.
The biting can be about your dog’s excitement whenever he meets someone at the door.
Warn your guests against announced visits
Your dog can attack a guest, thinking that they are intruders. When guests come to your home, it is essential to make sure that they tell you before accessing your house. There is a type of aggressiveness called predatory aggressiveness, and it is dangerous. Once your dog finds an intruder, he may attack by biting their feet aggressively. Your dog is just trying to protect your home.
Your dog will not bark or even howl at the intruder in the case of predatory aggressiveness. This is particularly common in breeds of dogs bred for herding and hunting.
Redirect your dog’s attention
Whenever your dog starts nipping and biting on the visitor’s feet, you should devise a way to redirect his attention. You can use a treat or his favorite toy to distract him before he can bite on your visitor’s feet. When you open the door for your visitor, carry his favorite toy. Toys are a better choice than treats as they may lead to you overfeeding your dog.
When your dog seems anxious and eager to meet the guest at the door, throw his toy to distract his attention. He will probably concentrate on the toys as you continue with your business. However, this will only work when you incorporate other forms of training.
Dog biting is a natural behavior; their only defense is their teeth. However, we should not condone biting as it can be pretty dangerous. I have heard dog owners struggle with a dog who bites on visitors’ feet. Other dogs will chew on anything that moves fast, whether other dogs’ feet or a person’s. This behavior can be a sign of your dog’s aggression and should be curbed early and should also be curbed at an early age.
The best way to teach bite inhibition is to do it when your puppy is young. When they are growing up, puppies tend to want to discover things. During this time, biting and nipping may not be as painful since the puppy is not strong enough. However, as he grows older, he becomes more robust. This saddens his bites, and you will want to curb the behavior.
Dogs will often bite feet because they are at the same eye level. And once again, you or your visitor will move at some point. The fast movement may trigger the chase/hunting instincts and therefore prompt him to bite on his feet. Once you realize this behavior, it is time to settle it entirely to avoid future issues with biting.
Understanding biting habits in canines
It is very advisable to dig into why your dog bites a visitor’s feet before you can solve it. It would help if you observed your dog, whether he targets a particular visitor or attacks all the dogs. This will let you know the exact cause of biting behavior in dogs. Let us explore some underlying reasons why your dog is aggressive to your visitors.
As mentioned earlier, your dog will use his teeth to defend himself in a fight or flight response situation. Most dogs, especially indoor dogs, will not have any social skills. Being around new people, new scents, and all will be scary for your pup. For instance, when you have a visitor in your house, your dog may feel afraid to play or even stand the person. However, there is nothing much he can do about it since the visitor is invading his space. Instead of fleeing, your dog will put up a fight and attack the visitor.
Your dog may be aggressive to visitors, especially if they move unpredictably. This poses a threat to your dog, which may lead to your dog attacking the guest.
As much as domestication has made dogs harmless and quite friendly, we cannot forget one thing; they are dogs. Biting is a survival necessity for your dog as it is the primary way of defense. However, to live harmoniously, we must teach our dogs that grinding is not acceptable. And for years, we have been able to do so, with most dogs being friendly and calm. However, under certain circumstances, your dog can become aggressive.
It is pretty easy to trigger a dog into aggression. For instance, if your guest is moving around the house and probably comes close to your dog, he may attack your visitor’s feet. This could be because of the fast movement when your guest is moving. It could also be because your dog does not like the guest at all.
Some breeds may show more aggression than others. Herding breeds, like the German Shepherd Dog, will have more charge than other dogs. This means that your dog may attack your visitor’s feet at sight. Therefore, you should be careful when dealing with aggression in dogs. You are dealing with charge if your dog is howling and barking before attacking your visitor.
Some dogs will be anxious because they protect you and your house. This means that your dog may attack anything and anyone that comes close to your home. Having guests in your house could lead to biting to protect you.
However, this will depend on how you behave around your guests. For instance, if you are startled and scared when you hear your doorbell ring, your dog may appear more protective than usual. He might think that his owner is in danger and therefore needs to protect you. Even if you know and relate with your guests, you must remain completely confident when they are around.
Several situations may prompt your dog to attack. If your dog bites on the visitor’s feet, it might be because he feels threatened and needs to protect.
It is therefore essential to make sure that your dog is comfortable. Else, it would help if you got a solution to the problem immediately to avoid any injuries. Below, we are going to look at some of the things that you can do to help minimize the pain entirely.
We need to understand the concept of dog training. The truth is, a dog that bites on a visitor’s feet might turn out to be dangerous later in the future. Biting starts with puppies when they are exploring and trying to learn about the world. They start mouthing items and even your fingers or feet. At first, it is pretty standard and harmless until he gets used to it. At this time, your dog will mouth anything and anyone. When your puppy grows up, his jaw is strong and his teeth sharp, so it can now hurt when he nips at you.
When provoked, there is a possibility that your dog might react aggressively towards the new person. Therefore, it is advisable to warn visitors about starting your dog during play or other activities. You can also take your dog to his crate whenever you have people over. This way, your dog will be convinced that he is safe in his safe place. This place should be secluded to avoid visitors passing through it.
In conclusion, the goal is to stop a dog that bites a visitor’s feet and not to change your dog’s nature. It is his nature to want to use his teeth to discover things. However, do not condone this habit as it might be problematic later in the future.