Dog Gently Mouths Your Hand – Why & What to Do Next

Here are a few common reasons that may explain why a dog would gently mouth your hand.

Dog wants to play

Mouthing could be form of communication for your dog. When a dog gently mouths your hand, he could be asking for more attention or asking you to play. For example, the dog could be asking you to pet him or he could be doing it because he is bored and wants to play with you.

Dog wants something

You may have unintentionally taught your dog that mouthing is a way for him to get what he wants. When a dog gently mouths your hand, he could be asking for something like food or a tasty treat. Think back to the first few times the dog mouthed your hand. Did you find it cute and ‘rewarded’ the dog with a treat every time he did it?

Why mouthing isn’t encouraged

You shouldn’t encourage your dog to mouth your hands no matter how gentle it is. It’s an inappropriate behavior that could lead to accidents later, especially if the dog starts to mouth the hands for other people. The last thing you want is for the dog to consider your hands a toy. One way to stop your dog from mouthing your hands is by redirecting his behavior.

Try to keep a toy close to you whenever the dog wants to mouth your hand. Give the dog the toy whenever he tries to go for your hands. Give the dog plenty of treats and praises once he starts to play with the toy. Over time, the dog will learn that it’s more of a positive experience to play with toys than with your hands.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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