If your dog hits you when you stop petting it, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog hit me when I stop petting it? Possible reasons why your dog hits you, when you stop petting it, are wanting to be pet more, being affectionate back to you, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.

It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog hits you when you stop petting it

Below are four possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

It likes being pet

Most dogs like the feeling when you pet them. The most likely reason why it does it is that it likes it when you pet it so it wants you to do it more. This would be more likely if it gets very excited when you are petting it and when it is getting you to do it more. 

Encouraging the behavior

The cause could be that it has learned that if it asks you to pet it more, it will get rewarded. If you tend to give it extra attention, when it hits you when you stop petting it, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

Affection

The cause might be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and it is affectionate in other ways such as by sleeping touching you. It would also be more likely if it does not show signs of being anxious or fearful and it has more relaxed body language such as by having its tongue out or wagging its tail.

Separation anxiety

The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when you leave home and if it shows signs of being anxious, such as pacing or crying, when you are leaving.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it. 

What is different when your dog hits you for stopping petting it

If your dog tends to do it more at certain times, it would help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it more when you pet it when you are leaving home, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety. 

What else happened your dog first hit you for not petting it

If your dog did not always do it, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be because it learned that you’ll pet it more if it does it or something causing it to start being anxious.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it does it. If it shows positive body language signs such as having its tongue out, wagging its tail or being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is doing it more due to excitement. Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety, such as pacing or crying, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious.

What to do about your dog hitting you when you stop petting it

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior. 

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to do things to get you to give it attention. Ways to give it attention would be to play with it, pet it, train it and exercise it. 

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It could be the case that it has been doing it due to being anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as letting it pee, get fed and walked before leaving it for a long time.

Give it a distraction

Another option would be to give it something to be distracted by when you do not want to pet it. Things to give it could include toys or a bone. However, it would help to avoid giving it any rewards after it starts getting you to pet it since it will learn that getting you to pet it results in it getting rewards.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.