There are several ways you can stop your dog biting during the zoomies:
- Train them from a young age
- Reduce the zoomies with regular exercise
- Yelp if they bite you
- Refocus their attention onto something positive such as a chew toy
- Repeat the steps until your dog can zoom around without biting
Can there be a dog on this earth that doesn’t indulge in the zoomies? These are periods when a dog goes nuts and runs around the house or garden, expending lots of energy in a short period.
When this happens (and it will), it’s best to stand back and let them get on with it. Maybe grab a camera for a couple of quirky shots for memory’s sake if you can.
But biting during the zoomies… that’s different. A FRAP attack, as zoomies are sometimes called (FRAP stands for Frenetic Random Activity Period) is fine. It’s normal. Biting isn’t.
If you’re worried about your pooch, perhaps thinking it could injure someone (or you), relax. I’ve put together to help you solve this problem. Dog zoomies are fine, but the biting can be consigned to history with my help.
Biting Can Be Dangerous – Even in Play
There is a marked difference between play biting and a dog attacking someone and biting them. However, play biting can still cause bruising and pain, and that should be avoided. A dog should be taught that this is not appropriate in any situation.
However, the danger isn’t just to do with the actual bite. Puppies should be taught that it is not okay to bite or mouth at people. If that doesn’t happen, they won’t understand that it is not okay to do this when they reach an adult age.
That makes them more likely to use mouthing or biting to communicate a message as a full-grown dog. Adult dogs are far more likely to cause more damage because of their powerful jaws.
Moreover, they might think it is fine do it to someone else – a stranger, a child, or someone you see on your morning walk.
Can you imagine dealing with a case of the zoomies and biting when a third party is involved? It could end up seeing you lose your dog.
Start Young: Learn How to Minimize Aggressive Dog Zoomies and Biting in Puppies
Puppies need lots of training to give them a great start in life. Play biting is common at a young age, as they start teething and simply learn how to interact with their litter mates, other dogs, and people.
Some people see biting as cute in a puppy – but it’s not. It may not hurt at that stage, but it will if the puppy grows into a dog and continues to do it. If you don’t prevent the behavior, the dog will think it’s fine.
You can’t then be surprised if enjoys some ‘good-natured’ biting as part of
his regular zoomies session, can you?
It’s all about teaching bite inhibition. With it, your dog will know
he can happily chew the appropriate things – and that biting during the zoomies is not appropriate.
If you have just brought home a new puppy and you’re looking for ways to prevent biting during the inevitable zoomies, you are about to learn how it can be done. The same techniques work for dogs too, although it can take longer to bed them in.
Start by Discouraging the Unwanted Behavior
Knowing what to do when your dog or puppy bites is vital. Here’s my guide:
- Yelp the second he bites
- Remove your hand (or whatever else has been bitten)
- Replace with something else
The yelp should be high-pitched enough to get your dog’s attention.
Think about how a puppy yelps and copy that. It should be loud enough to distract your puppy and stop the negative biting behavior. Your pup will wonder what is happening.
Biting during the zoomies might mean your dog has already let go of you as he flies past. However, the yelp from you stays the same. Make it loud – make sure he hears it. Turn away.
Don’t try and get involved with the zoomies at any stage. Let your pooch run themselves out. Keep out of the way otherwise they’ll think you are joining in. That could encourage further biting if they are happy to do it anyway.
Take Their Attention Away From Biting and Onto Something Positive
Puppies love teething toys. Freya had some teething keys that were designed to be put in the freezer to cool them down. She also had some Kong toys and other chewable things that were hard to destroy in a hurry. (And believe me, she tried.)
She did go in for mouthing when she was a puppy, too. Whenever she mouthed my hands and tried to bite them, I redirected her to a nearby chew toy. When she focused on that, I gave her lots of praise.
There were a few instances of zooming and biting, but they were rare. They were soon discouraged by the introduction of some chew toys – and we had plenty of those at the ready.
Redirect Their Attention as Quickly as You Can
A quick redirection from the bite to the toy is what you need. If you do the yelp and fail to back it up by switching to the preferred behavior (i.e. the chew toy), your pup is going to go back to what they were doing previously.
That is, using you as the chew toy.
Top tip: make sure you have enough chew toys to have one in each room your puppy can go in.
If your pup has real issues with zoomies and biting, keep a toy handy in your pocket, so it is always there when you need it. If they have a favorite, use that.
You May Need an Alternative to the Yelp
The yelp should work in most cases. However, if you’ve tried this for a couple of weeks with no luck, a change of tack might help.
Here are two alternative methods to use:
- “No!” – don’t shout but be firm and commanding. Your dog should understand the word ‘no’ anyway, and this is the perfect time to employ the technique
- Turn your back – a dog that nips and bites during the zoomies likely thinks he is playing. If you turn your back, your dog sees that playtime is over.
- Leave the room – a more extreme version of the second option.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Until the Change of Behavior Sticks
Some dogs are cleverer than others. Some dogs are faster to learn a new rule or command than others. There can be differences in learning pace even for the same dog.
For example, Freya learned to sit in less than a day. She was super-fast at that. It took a few days to learn how to lay down though. Whenever she did manage it, she was so pleased she got straight up again!
Another time, we bought some tinkle bells to hang by the back door, so she could ring them when she wanted to go outside to pee. The instructions said she might take weeks to get the hang of it.
She took two days!
The point is that you must always persevere. Follow the actions presented in this article and go through with them every time your pooch gets the zoomies and starts biting. Don’t slip when things start working. Keep at it.
It Can Take a Couple of Weeks to Reduce the Nipping and Biting Behavior
During the research I did for this article, I encountered lots of stories and personal experiences shared by puppy owners. I also found stories of people who had older dogs that exhibited the behavior.
Online forums are filled with these experiences. In most cases, a forum thread begins with someone asking for help to control their dog. Several people then offer advice on how to resolve it.
Many say their puppies grew out of the behavior. Others needed more in-depth training to stop the biting. One person said it took a couple of weeks before their dog stopped, although they saw gradual improvements day on day.
It’s Not Too Late If You Have an Adult Dog That Bites During a Zoomie
It can take longer to train an adult dog compared to a puppy. An adult dog will already display ingrained behavior, whereas a puppy is ready to be molded to present whatever behavior you desire.
If the dog has learned that it is okay to bite during a case of the zoomies, you need to work hard to adjust that behavior. Depending on your progress, you may even need to bring in an experienced dog trainer or behavioral expert.
Make Sure Your Puppy or Dog Is Getting Lots of Exercise
Of course, you shouldn’t overwalk your puppy as they are still growing. Exercise requirements vary from breed to breed and depending on their age. Even two dogs of the same breed are likely to have different needs.
Zoomies tend to happen more often in pooches that don’t get adequate exercise. If your pup play bites when they zoom around the house, reducing the zoomies should help you reduce instances of biting too.
Perseverance Is the Key to Success
Some puppies may learn good behavior and develop a bite instinct within days. For adult dogs, it may take weeks.
However, in both cases – in every case, in fact – perseverance will get you there.
Continue to reinforce good behavior by rewarding it when you see it. Make sure you are always ready if the zoomies should begin, so you can tackle any biting if it occurs.
One day, it won’t, and the problem will be resolved.