If your dog has been nipping you a lot, when you get 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 would make each of them more likely.
So, why does my dog nip at me when I come home? Possible reasons why your dog nips you, when you get home, are that it has some separation anxiety, it wants something such as to pee or eat, it is excited, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded or that it has not learned that it is not ok to nip.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what to do in order to get it to stop.
Why your dog nips when you arrive home
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been nipping you, when you arrive home, and what would make each of them more likely.
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.
Hunger or needing to pee
Another possible cause is that it is hungry because it has to wait a long time without food when you are away. This would be more likely if you tend to feed it when you get back home instead of before. It could also be the case that it tends to need to pee, while you are away, so it would help to ensure that it gets a chance to pee before leaving it for long time periods.
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.
Reinforcing the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards if it nips you when you arrive home. If you tend to give your dog things such as extra attention, treats or toys, when it nips, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not nip and to avoid rewarding it when it does unless necessary and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
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.
Not enough training
If you have not trained your dog not to nip you it might be the case that it has not learned that it is not ok to nip you. If you haven’t it would help to start training it by using the tips in the section below.
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 your dog first started nipping you when you come home
If your dog did not always nip, when you 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 not do it
If it does not always nip when you arrive home, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not nip.
For example, if it only seems to nip 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 your dog nipping you when you come home
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
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 nipping, you would:
- Stop giving your dog attention whenever it nips you by hiding your hands or temporarily leaving the room if necessary
- Start giving it attention again until it starts nipping again, then stop giving it attention again.
- Repeat the above, rewarding with a treat it each time it doesn’t nip you when it normally would.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for nipping you when you arrive home. Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it does not nip and to avoid giving it any rewards when it does nip unless it seems to be because it needs things such as to pee.
Limit reasons why it might become anxious when you are away
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.
Give it other things to chew on
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.
If you cannot get it to stop or it does it aggressively, consider getting the help of a certified dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so you will be able to get expert help tailored towards your particular dog.
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