If your dog has been mouthing you when you arrive home, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.

Possible reasons why your dog has been mouthing you are that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, excitement, not been taught not to mouth you or teething.

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely.

Reasons why your dog mouths you when you come home

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it does it, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Separation anxiety

The reason could be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and it gets anxious when it is left alone. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since you have been leaving it for longer. It would also be more likely if it starts getting anxious when you normally leave home.

Not enough training

If you have not trained your dog not to mouth you it might be the case that it has not learned that it is not ok to mouth you. If you haven’t it would help to start training it by using the tips in the section below.

Teething

It could be the case that it has started teething and that biting on things soothes its gums. This would be more likely if your dog is a puppy and it has been biting or chewing on other things a lot as well.

In this case, it would help to give your dog lots of things to chew on such as toys and bones. It would also be important to give it lots of training now so that it learns what it can and cannot bite on by using “leave it” training and the other tips mentioned below.

Boredom

Another possible cause is that it gets bored when you are away. This would be more likely if it does it more when it is not able to get exercise before you leave home. In this case, it might help to try and exercise it before leaving home and to make sure that it is getting the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Things to consider

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

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did not always mouth you, when you used to arrive home, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to a change in the time that you feed it, you might have stopped letting it out to pee before leaving or it might have stopped getting as much exercise.

What is different when it does it

If it does not always mouth you, when you arrive home, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not mouth you.

For example, if it only seems to mouth you when you are leaving for work, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety, not wanting to wait for food or wanting exercise.

What to do about it

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

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might have learned that it gets rewarded for mouthing you. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not mouth you and to ignore it completely, when it does, until it calms down.

Positive reinforcement training

It would help to train your dog not to do it by using positive reinforcement training. This is where you train your dog by rewarding it for making small steps towards doing the thing that you want and avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves.

To use it to get your dog to stop mouthing you, you would:

  • Stop giving your dog attention whenever it mouths you by hiding your hands or temporarily leaving the room if necessary
  • Start giving it attention again until it starts mouthing again, then stop giving it attention again.
  • Repeat the above, rewarding with a treat it each time it doesn’t mouth you when it normally would.

Give it distractions

In addition to the above, it would also help to give it lots of things that it is ok for it to chew on such as toys, bones or chews. By doing so you will make it less likely that it will feel the need to bite on things you don’t want it to.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would also help to try to reduce the reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising it, letting it pee and feeding it before leaving it.

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