Why Does Dog Mouth My Hand?

Updated on November 1, 2022

My dog has taken a strange liking to biting my hand.


My dog has taken a weird liking to holding my hand in his jaws.
Every dog owner has witnessed this behaviour at least once from their pet. People who haven’t had much practise with their dogs may initially feel concerned about their pets’ activities. In today’s post, I want to hear about the antics of your canine companion.

For What Reason Does My Dog Lick My Hand?


To what end is my dog biting my hand?

Even though it has paws, your dog uses its nose and tongue to accomplish most of its investigating.

A dog uses its mouth like a human uses their hand: it explores the world by placing objects in it. That’s why canines are so keen on sniffing and licking. It’s not because they lack attention to detail; rather, they make do with the tools at their disposal, which consist primarily of their tongue.

If your dog mouths your hand lightly, without exerting any pressure, and all other body signals are normal, then the mouthing is probably harmless. Picture a friendly handshake instead.

When a dog lightly nibbles your palm, what does that mean?


When your dog gently bites you during play, this is an indication that he or she is engaging in mouth-play. There is a long and convoluted history behind this habit, and a dog is taught early on not to bite too forcefully.

Puppies are only adopted out or sold after they have had time to socialise with their mother and siblings and are reconditioned by them. Puppies learn from each other through everyday play and socialisation, in addition to the fundamental abilities and “to do” that are taught by the mother dog.

Bite inhibition is something puppies learn early on, but sometimes established social norms need to be refreshed.

Some suggestions for training your puppy to be more selective with his mouthing:

If your dog thinks it’s appropriate to bite people, you need to teach it better bite inhibition skills. Puppy training is simplified if the dog can be quickly conditioned during play. Stop playing if your puppy or young dog is biting too hard. Do this a few more times, and you won’t play with your dog when it bites because he’ll learn that biting too hard hurts.
Since mouthing is ingrained in your dog and usually doesn’t lead to any serious consequences, we don’t advise you to try to discourage it. A key takeaway from this is the need of teaching your dog appropriate and inappropriate mouthing behaviour.
Behavioral modification shifts focus to alternatives if play biting and mouthing are not your thing, such as what you can provide your dog to nip and mouth to its heart’s delight. Toys that can be chewed on are a good option. Make sure the chew toys are perfect (in terms of the substance) and pet-safe and non-toxic.
Keep your hands and fingers away from your dog’s face and mouth when playing with it. If you want your dog to mouth your hand, wagging your fingers can get its attention and get it to do so.
It’s not a good idea to slap a dog’s face when playing with it, as any kind of pressure, especially abrupt pressure, can make the dog hostile. The dog is just being a dog, and you’re the one who should be teaching it manners.

Is your dog hostile toward you?

Observing the dog’s body language is a simple way to rule out the “hate” or aggressive possibilities. When your dog mouths your hand or arm in play, you can count on the following:

There is a sense of playfulness and ease in the dog’s body. The animal’s tail will either be wagging or loose, or it will be erect (indicating inactivity) but not aggression.
The dog appears calm and happy, with a relaxed expression on its face and a’smiling’ posture. If the dog is tense, it will show in its posture and muscle tensions.
The dog moves extremely slowly and gently, as if bored.
Even if the dog mouths or bites you, it won’t hurt.
Wounds may occur if your dog is particularly large or has particularly keen teeth; nonetheless, these are in no way indicative of aggression.

Some dogs do exhibit aggressive tendencies, so we can’t rule it out entirely. This could be due to your dog’s history of trauma, stress, anxiety, or competitiveness, or it could be related to problems you two have. If you notice any of these behaviours in a dog, he or she may be aggressive:

Your dog appears to be either afraid or hostile, as seen by his stiff body language.
The facial and neck muscles are tense.
Similar to a dog nibbling at your hand, the bite is forceful and rapid.

The dog’s bite is causing you pain.

Could it be that your dog intends to harm you?


You should back off or leave the dog alone if it displays aggressive or fearful behaviour, as this may indicate that it is trying to hurt you. Dog psychology is intricate since it involves not just you and the dog, but also your position within the pack.

Dogs will continue to exhibit pack behaviour even if no other canines are around. Because your dog is innately social and has a pack mentality from birth, it is imperative that you adopt this method if you want to fully understand him.

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