When I come home, my dog comes running at me and grabs
at my arm, purse, or whatever else she can get a hold
of. How can I fix this?
Well Sue, that doesnít sound fun at all, except maybe
for the dog. Dogs generally become excited when we
return home, but our response to their excitement can
either defuse the situation or cause the dog to become
even more excited and out of control. Keep this in mind:
Your dog wants YOU ó your eye contact, your voice and
your touch ó thatís attention. And you should use
that powerful information to your advantage.
your response when she starts this behavior is to scold
her (attention), try to push her away (touch is
attention), or pull your arms and purse out of her mouth
(tug-of-war and attention), your message isnít being
received ó youíve created a great game for the dog.
donít mention what breed of dog you have, but Iím
betting itís a retriever of some sort. These dogs tend
to be a bit more oral that a lot of other breeds. Youíll
want to have a stash of soft toys in your garage, so you
can grab one before entering the house. When you walk in
the door, pretend you donít even have a dog: Make no
eye contact, donít talk to her (even scolding is
attention), and definitely donít pet her. As she moves
in closely, stuff that toy into her mouth. What will
likely happen is she will bounce around in her continued
excitement to see you, but be chomping on that toy all
move past her into the rest of the house, pretending she
doesnít exist. Even if she follows you, chomping on
her toy, pay no attention. The time to interact with
your dog directly is when her body language suggests
that she is no longer over-stimulated. She might lie
down, might even quit mouthing the toy, and will
probably move away from you. Then, when she is calm and
you are ready, go over to her and quietly, gently pet
and interact with her.
time, a new routine will evolve: You walk in the door,
the dog eagerly awaits the toy you give her, she moves
away chomping on it, and settles down calmly within
When I walk down the hallway, my terrier mix follows and
bites at my feet. Iím usually only wearing socks, and
sometimes she gets them off my foot while Iím trying
to kick her off. Iím running out of patience ó and
socks. Please advise.
There are a number of similarities between your
situation and the previous one. Your dog has figured out
a way to create a great game. Your feet present a moving
target, at her eye level, and she goes for it, which
often results in a great game of tug, plus she gets to
run off with the prized sock occasionally. I hope you
donít chase after her.
situation will resolve over time, as long as you create
the right set up. One option is to wear shoes for a
while, and each time you begin your walk down the
hallway, stop before she gets to you. Donít interact
with her in any way, and donít move your feet. Dogs
arenít terribly patient creatures, and if you stand
there, still and quiet, she likely will give up quickly,
and move on to find something else to do. When she does,
you can continue to walk down the hallway, but be
prepared to stop again when she comes back, hoping for
the game to return.
option is to have a couple of pieces of cardboard on
hand, large enough to block her access to you when
walking down the hall. They should be nearly as wide as
the hallway. Place one piece at each end of the hallway,
so you always have one within reach. Pick up a piece of
cardboard and hold it behind you as you begin to move,
making it impossible for your dog to get at your socks,
and thus ruining the game for her. Over time, youíll
have created a new pattern of behavior in her ó she
wonít be following you down the hallway any longer,
because it is no longer possible to get a game of
"sock grab" going.
that scolding her directly, trying to pull your foot or
sock out of her mouth, or kicking her away with your
foot will not give you the solution to this situation.
Those approaches will only intensify the game, and your
dog will learn to come at your socks faster, and with
more bite pressure. A quick correction wonít properly
address this issue; a thoughtful plan of action that
includes some repetition will end it for good.