If your dog is biting your hands and feet, determining the cause can help you put a stop to it. Sometimes, something you're doing might be to blame for his naughty behavior. Knowing what might trigger him to bite can keep your hands and feet free of injuries, and allows you to focus on correcting the undesired behavior.
Play Behavior or Teething
Your dog might bite your hands and feet when you're playing with him. Unlike humans, dogs don't have hands to grab ahold of something, so when they play and get excited or want to explore, they use their mouths. This is especially common in puppies, who might also resort to using their mouths when they're teething, which commonly occurs up until the age of 6 months. Consistently stopping the behavior by firmly saying "no" and redirecting your fury pal to a chew toy can prevent potential future biting problems.
Fear and Dominance
Fear can trigger your dog to bite your hands and feet. Although he's more likely to be fearful of strangers, if you startle your pet companion by sneaking up on him when he's sleeping, he might lash out and bite you. Harshly punishing him when he misbehaves might also make him fear you to the point where he resorts to biting you to protect himself. Your dog might also be testing you to see if you'll allow him to be the leader of the pack. Proper socialization and establishing yourself as the boss during puppyhood can help prevent problems.
Pain and Medical Conditions
Your dog might resort to biting your hands and feet if he's in pain. He doesn't know where the pain is coming from and might think that your touch is causing it. Maybe your fury pal has an injury that you're not aware of, or maybe he has hip dysplasia or a severe ear infection. If you can't determine why your dog is lashing out at you, consult a veterinarian. He can examine your dog, make a diagnosis and recommend proper treatment to relieve your dog's discomfort.
Possessiveness and Guarding
Your dog might bite your hands or feet if you go near his possessions, such as his food bowl or his favorite toy. This guarding behavior is often directed toward strangers or certain people, but can very well be directed at you also. Gradually getting your dog used to having you around when his guard is up can help eliminate his undesired behavior. Feed him treats from a safe distance while he's eating or playing with his favorite toy. Gradually move closer to him. With consistency, he'll associate your presence with the treats and won't mind having you around.
- Toledo Area Humane Society: Why Dogs Bite
- I Just Got a Puppy, What Do I Do?; Mordecai Siegal
- Cesar's Way: Why Dog Bites Happen and How to Stop Dog Biting
- Have Fun Training your Jack Russell Terrier Puppy & Dog; Vince Stead
- ASPCA: Food Guarding
- Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images