There you were just walking along when suddenly, you were under attack. Your playful puppy or your adult dog is nipping at your feet… again! You can hardly more or go anywhere and each time you do your dog bites your feet!
You’re probably wondering… why does my dog bite my feet and we definitely feel for you. We are here to help answer that question.
Most of the time, if your dog is biting your feet, it’s just a sign of playfulness or it could be a herding tactic for some dog breeds as well. Overall, most likely the dog bites your feet for reasons unrelated to bad behavior, although there are times this is a potential factor.
If your dog is biting your feet or perhaps your children’s feet, you will want to be mindful of the action and consider if the biting is sharp or painful. You certainly want to work to train your dog against this if it is causing pain or could be a problem with guests and children. There are things you can do to connect with your dog to get them to stop biting your feet.
In this guide, we will talk about the question of why do dogs bite feet and uncover some potential causes. We will also share some tips with you so that your dog won’t bit your feet.
We’ll introduce some bite inhibition techniques to protect your human feet from adult dogs or a puppy, either one.
Table of Contents
Understanding Why Does My Dog is Biting My Feet
If your dog bites your feet when you walk, it could be an indicator of aggressive behavior but the biting behavior might also just be the tendencies of herding dogs who just need to learn they can’t keep biting your ankles and it be acceptable. You’ve got to look out for each other and your human babies so they don’t get the teeth when they walk past your dog.
Understanding what is behind the biting behavior can really make a difference in your approach. Your feet and ankles are convenient places for most dogs to reach with their teeth.
Again, this dog behavior might just be part of their genetics but you still have to work with puppies and adult dogs to teach them biting at your ankles just isn’t appropriate behavior.
When puppies are little, they will chew on anyone and anything they can sink their teeth into. Biting is just part of their nature and it takes training and abundant chew toys to sometimes tame biting for your pup.
Remember that if they are not displaying aggressive behavior you just need to make sure to teach them they can’t keep biting and maybe provide them alternatives like chew toys to help keep your dog from biting.
In a word, dogs bite because it is part of their nature. As puppies, they are just getting used to their dog’s body and biting is part of their nature of discovery. You can use bite inhibition to teach your pup they must use their teeth gently and make sure they aren’t going to hurt someone or hurt your feet when you walk.
Look for signs that this behavior is coming out of frustration rather than out of play. If your dog’s bite appears to be from aggression or frustration, you will need to do something about that biting of both people and objects. As human parents, you can look at information and find things to help these behaviors.
Dog Biting or Nipping Scenarios
There are several things that might lead to those puppy teeth coming after your shoes or ankle while you walk. Each of these things might seem like similar behaviors, but my friend, they can actually signal a different way of thinking or play. Take a look at this post and see if there is a handy hint you might be able to use below.
Biting Feet When You Walk or Run?
If you’re just walking or running somewhere near your dog and they mouth your ankle, this could be a sign that they are herding. Herding dogs, like the border collie, might show behavior like nipping with their mouths at your ankles and shoes because it is part of their nature to herd people and they use their mouth and biting motions to do so. They are not trying to harm you with this dog nipping.
Sometimes, this biting could also be a sign that your pup is trying to play. Mouthing at your ankle or shoes and objects because they are mobile is simply a call to “get it” and grasp your attention they want to play. This is the perfect time to grab tug toys and chew toys and divert their attention to something else for their mouthing behaviors.
As far as the herding way, you will see mouthing at people with dogs like the collie, corgis, German shepherds, and more. If they have any type of herding in their nature, this is just the way of life for them. Otherwise, the action is a way to tell you they want to play and you tempted them with the moving objects you like to call feet.
Biting Feet When You Leave?
Maybe you’ve noticed that your dog only uses this biting technique when you are trying to leave the house. In this case, it’s really not a call for attention or a sign to play but rather their way of telling you that they don’t want you to leave. They use their mouth against your ankle as a means of communication.
This could be their sign of begging you to stay or giving you information that you leaving them makes them anxious in some way as well. Some dogs get very nervous when they are left alone or they might just miss you while you are gone.
They are not biting to be mean but rather to provide you with information and maybe even ask you not to leave them behind.
Biting When You Come Home?
One of the reasons that your dog is biting you or putting its mouth on you when you return to them is because they are excited. They missed you and they want your attention and they want your play. They probably felt like they were in a time-out while you were away and they just need some playtime and some cuddles from you.
Dogs are close to your feet so they like the scent and even the scent after taking off your shoes intrigues them so their behavior is directly related to missing you for one and also wanting to smell your feet for one as well.
Biting Your Feet at Night?
A quick menu search might just reveal that your dog only has this behavior of biting at night time. Are they getting your feet under the covers or is it evening time and you think you’re just hanging out and relaxing?
If you’re under the covers, then this is a sign of play. The same reason would also lead your pup to go after your hands if they moved. As adults, we sometimes forget that while our body is tuned in to nighttime and relaxation, our dog might have different body signals. Maybe they are bored or maybe they just have a whim to play but this could lead to bites on your hands, socks, ankles, and more.
Additionally, if you’re just relaxing, maybe watching TV or something and your dog gives you bites on your feet and ankles, it’s again a trait that they want to play or that they simply want your attention and that is the part of your body near them to try to get your focus. Give them some play and some loving and most likely, they will settle down with the random bites.
Another nighttime bite behavior might be because your dog didn’t get enough stimulation or exercise during the day. The contents of their world rely on you and your activities so if you didn’t play enough or get them out for good exercise, their bites might also be for this reason.
Understanding Aggression Vs. Playing
Adults sometimes jump to conclusions with dogs just as they do with other people and children. Just because your dog bites doesn’t mean they have behavior problems or that they are a bad dog. It could be a sign of something else, just like we might have a unique trait that is an identifying sign.
Consider the body language behind the bites as this will be the best signal to tell what is going on in their world that might have led to these bites that you are concerned about. While sometimes, it really is just a signal of play, there are other times it is a signal of aggression and you should be able to identify which for safety purposes. If you are bit for any reason, particularly by a dog you aren’t familiar with, it’s a good idea to ensure you are up to date on your tetanus shot for added measure.
Just as we use our hands sometimes to illustrate emotion and behavior, dogs use their mouths to do so. Mouthing could be a signal and with training, you can ensure they aren’t hurting when they use their mouth to communicate.
Dogs also use their mouth to explore the world. Remember that they don’t have the usual fingers and toes as we do so that is their adaptation. for touch. You might not ever keep your dog from biting completely but one victory you will have is to have them not bite your feet and cause any time of pain.
If you’re concerned that your dog’s actions are a sign of aggression, you can check out some signals that dogs give off in such an instance. Look for one or more of these indicators.
+ Protective stance
+ Shying away from you
+ Baring teeth
+ Scared or fearful
Any of these tendencies and a bite at your feet are a signal from dogs that something is bothering them. You shouldn’t approach or you might get a dog bite that will hurt or cause harm. Your dog is on the defensive. It’s best first to find out why they are suddenly like this so you can understand each other.
When we say growling, we aren’t referring to the playful growling of dogs when you’re playing tug of war or tossing their chew toys. That bite at your feet and maneuver from your puppy is a completely different vibe and you will be able to pick up on that.
The notion to bite your feet is a communication device for dogs or your puppy rather than a bigger bite that might propose more of a challenge.
The Most Common Reason Your Puppy Bites Your Feet
We’ve talked about some specific scenarios already and we’ve shared some tips to understand if that dog’s bite is for play or for another signal. Now, let’s take a look and a quick overview of the most common reasons your puppy or dog might bite your feet.
Some of these will be a recap of why does my dog bite my feed indicators that we discuss while others will be a new thought to consider.
Every puppy goes through a teething stage just like babies do. This might cause your dog to bite your feet. You’ve seen children chew on toys and people’s fingers and even clothes or really anything they can get in their little mouths. Dogs are the same. They teeth as well so if your puppy bites your feet, this might just be why. You can distract most dogs with a chew toy or a good game of tug of war in this instance.
This is also the stage where not only will your dog bite your feet but they will also probably chew on things like the couch, your shoes, corners of the wall, and just about anything that your dog can sink their teeth into. Your feet will not be the only victims.
We touched on this earlier but don’t forget that your dog bites your feet to get your attention for a myriad of reasons. Your dog might need something or might be trying to signal something and just needs you to look their way for a moment so they bite your feet to make that happen.
This is another factor we touched on earlier as well. As your dog bites your feet, it might just be because they are so excited to see you, and your feet are close enough for the dog to display their excitement at that level. If they bite your feet because they are excited, give them love and divert those teeth away from your feet.
Remember that your dog bites sometimes to just explore the unknown. Where we use our fingers and perhaps our feet to touch and feel things, dogs will use their teeth to do so. If they bite your feet, it might just be an exploration for your dogs mouth.
If your dog bites your feet, it might be that they are bored or maybe even a little frustrated. Dogs communicate with their teeth so look for the signal. Did your dog get exercise and activity today? Have you had a chance to get outside and play? Maybe the weather has disrupted your dog from their normal exercise so they might just be bored and your feet are the victim.
If you don’t want your sweet pet to bite your feet, you need to be sure they understand biting your feet isn’t allowed. if you haven’t discouraged the behavior or perhaps even encouraged it, then your animal will continue biting your feet because your dog thinks it is acceptable to do so.
If you don’t want them to bite your feet, you have to teach the dog that it’s not ok. It might take some training, time, and effort but it’s up to you to teach the dog what is allowed and what isn’t.
A dog might nip at your feet as a signal that something is happening or something is wrong. If your dog is in pain or they sense an issue, your dog might react with a bite to your feet. It could be a protective action that you need to pay attention to.
Take the time to check on your dog and check your surroundings to determine if your dog is giving you a signal of something. It could even be that they are experiencing pain.
How to Help Your Dog
In terms of why does my dog bite my feet, you want to be sure that you curb the actions as needed but also react appropriately to them to not cause your dog to act out further.
If you notice any sort of aggression for your dog with your feet under attack, avoid being aggressive back as this will make your dog worse. You don’t want to antagonize an alarm already up for your dog so be cautious and protect your feet and body from further harm. There are some actions you should avoid when your dog gets your feet to prevent further issues.
There are also things you can do to help. Take a look at these and try them out with your dog to see if any of them might help.
+ Don’t jerk away from your dog, it might cause them to get defensive
+ Don’t react angrily as they can sense those emotions
+ Yelp rather than yell or punish (a quick yelp will alert your dog they might be hurting you)
+ Distract your dog with play, toys, or chewing items
+ Focus and pay attention to the signs
+ Do not hit or slap as the dog may go on the defensive
+ Don’t encourage rowdy play that can lead to wounds from your dog
+ Work patiently and consistently to train
+ Understand your dog breed and the signals they are giving off
Ultimately, you should first distinguish why your dog is biting and then consider how best to approach it. Determine where there is any aggression at play or whether your dog is trying to tell you something.
We hope this guide to help you why your dog bites your feet is helpful and informative. There are several things to be aware of and several variables that can be at play.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of teaching your puppy allowed actions, and other times it might be a signal for you.
Be sure to exercise patience with your dog but to also take the time to train them and react properly as needed. Listen to their signals and figure out the root of the issue and then you can act accordingly.