Walks are supposed to be a time when you and your dog can exercise together in a way that you can both enjoy it. However, your dog may exhibit some behavior that makes walking less of a pleasant activity and more of something that you dread. It is not uncommon for dogs to bite you or jump on you during walks.
There are different reasons that can make your dog exhibit this behavior. Not all are related to aggression. Walking introduces new smells and sights and can often be a sensory overload for your dog.
Why does my dog bite me during walks?
While canine aggression is one of the most frequently assumed causes of a dog biting, it isn’t the only reason that your dog is exhibiting such behavior. It’s important to understand your dog’s body language to determine what they are trying to convey to you.
Here are some reasons that your dog might be biting you on walks that you may be misinterpreting.
Your dog wants to play
Biting or jumping up and biting is a way that high-energy dogs and puppies attempt to play with you. Your dog may try and bite your hands, arms, or even jump high enough to bite near your face. Even if this isn’t a sign of aggression, it is still a habit that your dog needs to break/
Just because they aren’t trying to hurt you, they are treating playing with you as if they were attempting to play with another dog. This behavior is not only frustrating when all you want to do is walk, but it can also result in your dog inadvertently hurting you.
You’re not providing enough engagement
Just because you’re on a walk, that doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t give your dog attention. If your dog wants you to be more engaged with them, your dog will often bite, nip, and jump at you.
They can also exhibit this behavior if you come across someone else on your walk. As a way to ask for attention from the other person, your dog will exhibit these behaviors to gain attention.
Your dog could be over-stimulated or suffer from anxiety.
Your dog could be biting out of anxiety or being overstimulated. Coming across different smells, animals, people, or even the occasional wind-swept plastic bag can be overwhelming for some dogs. As a result, they might bite you to express their feeling of unease.
If your dog is biting out of anxiety or fear, speaking to your dog in a calming voice lets them know that they are okay.
Another animal or person in the area
Running into another animal or person can cause your dog to get excited or aggressive. Your dog may bite you as you are trying to keep it away from someone else. Your dog may also bite you when you are attempting to redirect its behavior.
Your dog could be frustrated
Just like you or I, your dog can get frustrated by many things. You could be walking at a speed that they don’t like, not taking enough time to let them sniff, not letting them near other animals or people, or cutting walks short. Your dog may bite you as a way to convey its dissatisfaction.
You haven’t properly trained your dog.
Early and proper leash training for your dog is essential. Otherwise, the habit of biting you on walks seems normal. You’re subconsciously encouraging them by not letting them know that biting or jumping on walks is bad behavior.
How to get my dog to stop biting me during walks?
The key to stopping this behavior in your dog is through consistent training. You want to address this behavior right when your dogs start exhibiting it.
When your dog bites, you say “ouch” in a loud high pitched tone. This mimics the response that a dog would get if it had bitten another dog too hard. Stop walking and sternly tell your dog “no”.
If your dog is also jumping up when biting you, either out of a desire to play or as an attempt to get attention from you, you should redirect them. Stop walking and tell your dog “no” sternly. If, when you resume, they continue the behavior, repeat the command and turn in the other direction. The goal of this is to acknowledge their behavior in a way that they know that it is not okay behavior.
Why does my dog bite his lead when walking?
In your dog’s eyes, going for a walk is more of a source of entertainment, whereas you might view it as a bit of a chore. When your dog bites at its leash, it can be doing it out of excitement. They know that when you get your leash out it is time to go for a walk. Even once you are on the walk itself, that excitement is still there.
On the other hand, your dog could be biting the leash due to boredom. Dogs, like us, want to be entertained and mentally stimulated. If the walk is boring, your dog may take to biting the leash to keep it interested.
Your dog could also be venting its frustration. Rather than biting or jumping on you, they may bite and tug on the leaser. If the walk isn’t going the way that they expected, biting and pulling on the leash can be a way for your dog to assert itself and take command over the situation.
Why is my dog aggressive during walks?
It is not uncommon for dogs who show no aggression in the home to show aggression on walks. This behavior may not even start as aggression. If you are walking and come across another animal, person, or even pass by something that you don’t want your dog near, your dog’s behavior can turn aggressive. When you are attempting to restrain or redirect behaviors that you do not want your dog to do, it can turn to aggression.
Some additional root causes of aggression while walking
When it comes down to it, the best way to figure out why your dog is acting aggressively during walks is to look at your dog’s behavioral history. Walking aggression doesn’t just happen without reason. If your dog was rescued from an abusive situation, or if you improperly socialized your dog, this can lead to aggression on walks. Even if you’re not walking up to greet strangers and their dogs, simply passing them on the other side of the street can be enough to trigger your dog.
It can also be a sign that you responded poorly as your dog’s aggression developed. If you didn’t use the first instances of aggression, your dog may feel like that is the proper response to a particular situation.