I once had a dog and a pet goat. I raised them together, and they seemed to think they were of the same species. The dog picked up some interesting habits from the goat, including head butting. However, misidentifying as a goat is the most unlikely reason your dog might run into you. What causes a dog to run into you, and what can you do about it?

Why does my dog run into me?

You are relaxing on a Saturday and all the sudden your dog runs into you at full speed. You are confused. What just happened? It can seem amusing, but people and dogs have been injured by this phenomenon. 

Dog Zoomies

Dog zoomies is basically what it sounds like. Your dog starts running at full speed. They may run around in a small area for a few minutes, and then fall to the ground exhausted. Technically, this is called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPS). A dog chasing its tail also has a case of the zoomies. It often occurs after high energy play. Baths can bring on the zoomies for many dogs as well. 

A dog with the zoomies is puppy-like, no matter the age. It’s their way of frolicking and releasing pent-up energy. When a dog has the zoomies, they can get so caught up in running that they don’t pay attention to their environment. This can cause them to run into an object, or their owner. 

Calling Your Dog

Your dog is running and you call for them. They turn and run toward you at full speed and don’t stop. In this case, your dog runs into you because they are focused on following your command. 

Personality

Some dogs just like to play rough. They are the football players of the dog world. They seem to crave full body contact, including the contact of running into their human. 

ADHD

Just like people, dogs can have ADHD. Dogs with ADHD are easily distractible and hyperactive. This makes it hard for them to be aware of their surroundings, which can lead to them running into you. 

Poor Eyesight

Dogs can have eye problems caused by old age, illness, injury, or genes. If your dog runs into other objects, and not just you, vision problems could be the culprit. Partial to complete blindness can occur due to a wide range of conditions. Your dog can also lack depth perception. This can cause them to run into things simply because they don’t see how close they are. 

How to Stop Your Dog Running Into You

If your dog is running into other things, and not just you, you should make a visit to the vet. This will allow you to rule out a medical issue like poor vision or balance problems. 

If your dog runs into you because he has the zoomies or is overexcited, try giving them opportunities to exercise when they can’t run into you. Avoid calling your dog when they are running.

Some dog owners have used a fence designed to keep toddlers in a confined area. Just stand inside the fence when your dog is playing, so they can’t run into you. You can also use your dog’s leash to create a safety barrier. Swing it around your body. Your dog will likely avoid the leash which keeps them from getting close enough to run into you. 

Why does my dog bump into me?

Your dog can bump into you for a few reasons as well. It’s a gentle nudge instead of running into you at full speed, so it’s much gentler. Still, it can add some unwanted excitement to walks. 

Challenging

Dogs are pack animals, which means they are naturally inclined to look up to an alpha or to be the alpha themselves. If you haven’t established that you are the alpha, or if your dog wants to challenge that, they may bump into you. Dogs use this bumping technique to say “Hey I’m the boss here”. If this is the reason, you’ll likely see other challenging behavior. They may mount, bark frequently, or block your path. 

Submission

Your dog may be bumping into you to show submission instead of challenging you. If they give you a nudge with their nose instead of a full-body bump, In dog speak, this is “Hey, your in charge” or “Let’s be friends”. They may nudge your butt, hip, or face to show their submission. 

Attention

Your dog may bump into you simply for attention. It can be their way of saying “Hey, look at me”. It can also be their way of asking you for something. If they bump into you near their food bowl, they may want food. If it’s when you are near the door, they may want a walk. 

Herding

Some breeds of dog are herders. It’s what they were born to do, and they will often attempt to herd their owners. It’s instinctual for them, even if they’ve never worked as a herding dog or been trained. In addition to bumping, these dogs may nip at your heels. You’ll likely get the sense that they are attempting to lead you somewhere. 

Distracted

Sometimes a dog just gets distracted. It could be a new scent or a recently spotted squirrel. It could even be something you are doing at that moment. When the dog focuses in on something, they may simply forget that you are right there. 

How to Stop Your Dog Bumping Into You

Your dog bumping into you may not be an issue. If you don’t mind it and its not creating a safety issue, it doesn’t require action. If you want your dog to stop, you’ll need to start by not encouraging the behavior. Say “No” or look away and ignore your dog for a moment when it occurs. If they are seeking your attention, they will soon learn that this method doesn’t accomplish it. 

Why does my dog walk into me?

Your dog walking into you is a bit different from a bump. If it seems intentional, consider it a bump. If they are simply walking and happen to walk into you, that is your dog walking into you. 

Distraction

Distraction is the most likely cause of your dog walking into you. They may be checking out their surroundings and walk into you because they don’t realize how close they are. 

Lack of Spatial Awareness

It can also be a lack of spatial awareness. Some dogs don’t seem to realize how close they are. They are walking and are not aware of how close they are to you until they walk into you. 

Comfort

If your dog is nervous or in an unfamiliar situation, they may walk into you for comfort. Contact with their human is comforting and releases feel-good chemicals. It can also give a feeling of safety. 

Stopping Your Dog Walking Into You

Again, if you don’t mind it’s not really a problem. If there’s a risk of it tripping you up while walking, you’ll need to address it. If it occurs when you are walking together, begin leading your dog to walk in front of you. Most dogs will happily lead the way. Leash training them to walk where you want them to usually corrects the problem. 

Pay attention to your dog and where they are in relation to you. If they get too close, lead them away gently or take a few steps away yourself. This is particularly important if your dog lacks spatial awareness. They may need you to be aware for them. 

Why does my dog run and jump on me?

Your dog jumping on you can be adorable. They are excited to see you and clearly want your attention, so it can be tempting to give them some pets. However, this reinforces the behavior. It’s important to teach your dog to greet people politely. Even if it’s not an issue for you, children and elderly persons can be injured by an enthusiastic dog that jumps up. 

Puppy Behavior

Puppies jump up on their mother instinctively. Since the mother is the leader of the pack, the pups must wait for her to bring them food and allow them access to it. So the puppies jump on the mother and lick her face to show submission and a desire for food. They also do this as a way of greeting their mother and showing affection. This is likely the main reason why puppies jump up and lick your face. It’s a natural instinct for them with their caregiver. 

Greeting

Dogs will sniff and lick each other’s faces as a greeting. It’s similar to people hugging or shaking hands. Since your face is much higher than theirs, they will run and jump up to reach your face. Once they’ve reached it, they may nuzzle, lick, or nuzzle you. If your dog frequently jumps up when you come home, this could be the reason why. 

Dominance

If your dog jumps up on people it isn’t familiar with, it may be asserting dominance. Jumping up can be its way of taking control of the situation and establishing its role in the pack. If your dog seems anxious in unfamiliar situations, this might be the cause of the behavior. 

Excitement

Dogs can also start jumping on you simply because they are excited. This can occur if they have too much pent-up energy, or during exciting play. If you’ve been away for a while and come home, they may jump on you out of excitement you are home. They may also do it as a way to initiate play or because they are bored. 

Stopping Your Dog From Running and Jumping On You

Teaching your dog not to jump on people is good pet parenting. As cute as it can be when your dog greets you excitedly, it can also knock down someone who isn’t steady on their feet. A dog jumping into your face can also be scary if you aren’t accustomed to the behavior. 

Teaching your dog a command like sit or stay can help curb this. When they start to jump, give the command for them to sit. This redirects the behavior, giving your dog an action to perform. It also gives them a way to please you, which is likely what they are seeking to do by jumping. 

If your dog is jumping up out of excitement, a preemptive calm greeting can help. Lean down and pet them before they jump. 

If they tend to jump on people they don’t know, put them on a leash. Allow them to greet newcomers while you hold their leash to prevent them from jumping up. 

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.