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Why does my dog bite me?

 Why does my dog bite me?

Anyone who has been or has been a guardian of a dog will know that dogs, especially puppies and those in adolescence, nibble on everything and also give us, from time to time, small bites to us whose meaning can have different interpretations depending on the context and the relationship between the dog and the guardian.

One of these bites is particularly intriguing because it consists of a series of small, rapid, and repetitive pinches that the animal gives us when it is calm and feeling safe. Have you ever wondered why you do this? If yes, keep reading, because, in this DOG57 article, we tell you why your dog bites you, what it means when he pinches you with his teeth and how you should behave in every situation.









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What do dog bites mean?

Dogs use their mouths for more than just chewing and holding objects: they are a means of expression, communication, and exploration of the environment. Oftentimes we tend to think that certain behaviors that dogs perform are, pathological, or mean strangeness, but the truth is that they communicate in a very different way from the way we humans do and have a very wide behavioral repertoire, distinct from their species and therefore completely normal.
 
Among these typical dog behaviors are bites that may have one meaning or another, depending on the context in which they appear, their intensity, and the emotion the animal is feeling.

It is not the same for a dog to hold our hand gently with its teeth because it frequently bites our feet while walking. Every behavior has its interpretation and it is trying to express something that we as educators must learn to interpret correctly.

If your dog regularly bites you, these could be some of the meanings:

Exploratory Behavior - Puppies and teen dogs are very curious and the best way to explore the world around them is through their mouths.

In small bites, they discover new flavors and textures and bond with other people. This is why puppies bite everything and play "chasing" everything that moves quickly, like our hands and feet.

Game: It is only necessary to go to the dog park to realize that dogs play in pursuit and bite each other and this is a normal thing because we cannot forget their nature in hunting.

Humans are part of their social group, so dogs apply the same game structure to us and enjoy running after us and gnawing at our bodies as soon as they reach us. Therefore, if your dog bites you loosely, in the form of small nibbles, he may be telling you that he wants to play with you.

Boredom and Demanding Attention: Many dogs learn by bonding to get their parents' attention by biting a small part of their body, or even by grabbing their pants or sleeves with their teeth and pulling on them.

Therefore, if your dog pulls on your clothes, he is more likely to bite you to get your attention. Likewise, they can do this to indicate that they are bored or when something is frustrating.

Space Demand: When a dog feels uncomfortable with our presence or behavior and wants us to walk away and leave it alone, it sends out a series of signals known as calm signals.

These things are usually very subtle (eg: yawning, slapping or turning our faces away) and oftentimes we ignore them, so the dog feels compelled to express itself more intensely through threatening signals, which in many cases means growls and bites Small of controlled severity with raised lips and a wrinkled snout.






What does it mean when a dog bites you with his front teeth?

There is a type of bite that is very characteristic of dogs, the kind that they give in the form of small, quick pinch using only the upper and lower incisors, the teeth at the front of the mouth.

This behavior is performed when the jaw is practically closed and gives the sensation that they are chattering with their teeth, as we do when we are cold. What's curious is that they not only do this to their parents and other humans, but they can also do it to objects, other animals, or themselves and all of this has its explanation.

If your fur gnashes you with its teeth and starts giving you little regular bites in a very sensitive way, don't worry! It is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it is a way of expressing affection. In general, they do this in moments of relaxation, when they are resting quietly next to you and usually accompanied by intermittent licking.

When they have this behavior with other animals, whether they are dogs or not, it means that they have a good relationship, as it is also a way of showing affection and is very common to observe it between bitches and their dogs. This way, if your dog is catching you with his front teeth like we just described, he definitely loves you and wants you to know it.

On the other hand, when dogs bite themselves in this way, they generally do so to scratch or remove a parasite (eg, a flea) or any small object that might be stuck or stuck in the hair. It is common to see them pinch their wings, buttocks, or legs. If you see your dog scratching a lot in this way, make sure you deworm properly and give him enough environmental stimulation, as sometimes excessive scratching is the result of stress or boredom.

It's also possible that you've seen your dog nibble in this strange way a blanket, a stuffed animal, or his bed. In this case, this behavior is called the "sucking reflex" and it is an innate behavior that dogs develop when they are puppies, at the infancy stage.

The movement of his mouth on the body is very similar to what puppies do when they drink milk from their mother and there is nothing wrong or sick about it, it is simply a habit some adults maintain and perform in moments of relaxation.

What do I do if my dog ​​bits me?

If your fur gives you that kind of affectionate nip, never scold him! Well, all he does is show you appreciation. In general, dogs are very sensitive when they do this behavior and control the force with which they bite you, so the usual thing in these cases is for your dog to bite you without gnashing their teeth. But if your furry guy is doing it too intensely, just move your hand away a little bit and keep petting him, the dog won't insist.

Now that you know why your dog bites you, and if the reason is to show affection, then you should not do anything, let's see how to act in other situations:

Nibbles to attract attention

Of course, if the type of bites your dog gives you responds to another type of impulse, your behavior will be different as well. For example, if your dog is accustomed to holding your hand in his mouth or pulling on your clothes so that you pay attention to it or play with it and hate this behavior, you can expose it to the process of extinction and then replace it with a more appropriate one.

To do this, you must avoid strengthening your dog if he bites you, that is, you cannot pay attention to him at that moment. Don't scold him either, because if you do, the dog will achieve its goal as well: stop what you're doing and focus your attention on it.

When the dog realizes that his behavior no longer gives him the same result as before, it is likely that a phenomenon called “peak” or “explosion” of behavior occurs, which consists in the fact that the actions we want to get rid of ( gnawing) exaggeratedly increases his behavior, frequency, duration, or intensity.

That is, by not paying attention to the dog, he begins to bite us more. An outburst of behavior is quite normal when we go through the extinction process because the animal does not understand why its behavior is not reinforced and tries more intensely.

After a while, he finally realizes that he won't get our attention that way. And the behavior tends to disappear. Of course, when we stop reinforcing one behavior, we have to start reinforcing a different behavior so that the dog has an alternative course of action.



Nibbles as part of the game

On the other hand, if your dog has bitten you as part of a toy or if he is a puppy and is still exploring the world around him, there is no need to worry, because this behavior is completely normal and it is healthy for the animal to take it to the head. Now, if your fur is too rough and it hurts you with its teeth, it is a good idea to teach him from an early age to stop biting him and to always have stuffed animals, ropes, or teething toys on hand that you can give him exchange..whenever you feel excited or play rough. Here are some articles that you may find useful in this regard:

Nibbles because of annoyance

Finally, if you suspect your dog is giving you small bites because he is uncomfortable, it is important to respect his space and not force him to interact with you if he is not feeling it at that moment.

In this sense, it is advisable to try to determine why your dog is feeling nervous or stressed and get to know the language of dogs to communicate with him effectively and improve the bond between you.

If necessary, a professional educator or ethicist can help you with this, but we also leave you some articles to refer to on this topic:

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