My Dog Bites When Picked Up – Causes and How to Stop it

Sometimes dogs bite when picked up because they don’t like it. This is not a “normal” reaction to being picked up, but it can happen. In fact, sometimes dogs bite because they don’t like being touched at all. No matter what the reason, every dog is different, and it is up to the owner to decide the real reason for the biting

Most people have experienced a dog biting when they picked it up, either for a quick pet, or to put it down. This article will discuss the reasons why dogs bite when picked up, and how to prevent the biting from occurring at all.

1. Dogs Bite When They Are Scared:

Dogs bite when they are scared because of a high level of arousal.

Dogs can be frightened in many ways, including feeling crowded, being picked up and lifted off the ground, feeling over-stimulated due to too much noise or activity going on around them and being unable to get away from something that frightens them.

If you have a dog who bites when you pick him up, it is important that you first make sure he is not in pain or experiencing any kind of illness.

You should also consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination before drawing any conclusions about what might be causing this behavior.

2. Dogs Bite When You Pick Them Up Too Fast

Dogs are a lot of fun to be around but they are still animals with needs that must be met. One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is picking up their pup too fast or when it doesn’t want to be picked up.

This can result in a bite and it’s important you know why dogs bite when picked up too quickly.

One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is picking up their pup too fast or when it doesn’t want to be picked up. This can result in a bite and it’s important you know why dogs bite when picked up too quickly.

The first thing you need to understand is that most dogs do not want to be handled by people all the time.

In fact, research shows that a large number of dog bites are occurring because owners pick up their pet from behind or snatch him or her away from their owner too quickly.

You might also be interested to know that a majority of dogs are afraid of sudden movements and will snap in response. To avoid being bitten, you need to wait until your dog is ready for petting or until he or she comes to you for attention.

If you move suddenly, you may cause pain/fear in your dog and this may lead to defensive behavior, including biting.

It is important that you give your dog time to become comfortable with you picking it up. This may take 10-20 minutes depending on how your dog responds and what its level of fear and socialization is.

If your dog is friendly and has been well socialized, even those who have known each other for years are quite quick to recognize a change in the relationship.

However, if your dog has never been around people it will take longer to recognize that you are their leader and that there is a difference between being picked up and being aggressively handled.

If your dog is aggressive towards you, it may bite on purpose and may have become angry or fearful of people. It requires a lot of patience and some work to get past this stage.

If you want to get past this barrier, a trainer can help create some structure in your life that leads you through the steps needed to raise your dog from fear or anger to a more tolerant relationship with people.

3.Dogs Bite When They Are Exhaustion or Overstimulated

If your pup is tired and feeling stressed from too much exercise or playtime, they may lash out in self-defence if you come near them. Worse, if they are overstimulated and haven’t had a chance to stop and take a breather, they may bite in the midst of what they think is playtime.

There are some things you can do to help avoid these situations:

Don’t exhaust your pup so much that he or she becomes cranky and tired.

Give your pup an opportunity to play with other dogs or humans so that they don’t become overstimulated.

Don’t pick up your pup right away if it starts nipping at you when you approach them. Wait a few minutes for him or her to calm down before approaching them again. Also, don’t play too rough with your pup.

When they are playing with other dogs or people, make sure they know the boundaries for appropriate play.

Most importantly, if your dog ever does bite you, try not to take any of it personally. Dogs bite when they have been pushed too far or when they are scared or overstimulated.

4. Reassure Your Dog That It is Safe To Be Picked Up

If you’ve been bitten by a dog when you’ve attempted to pick it up, then there is good news: this is a problem that can be resolved with reassurance.

Many dogs are scared of being picked up for fear of what might happen next. They may associate picking up with their owner being angry or they may feel as though they need to protect themselves during the process.

This leaves them feeling tense and nervous, which often leads them to act aggressively when their owner tries to lift them off the ground (either by biting or growling).

This behavior is more common in young dogs, but it can affect older pets as well. And it’s not always easy to identify the problem, as the dog may be perfectly happy to be picked up by a member of the family that they are less close with.

Here are some tips for counteracting this problem:

First thing’s first: make sure that your dog isn’t just being playful when being picked up. Growling, snapping or biting are signs that your dog is afraid and struggling to get away from you.

It’s only once you’ve established that this is a fear-based response that you can work towards going against your dog’s instincts.

When it comes to picking up your dog, make sure that you’re gentle. Lean down next to the animal and call its name, all the while making eye contact with it. Slip one hand between its front legs and put your other arm around its lower back.

Gently scoop the animal off the floor in one swift movement and support its head with your hand. When you put it down, try to do so as quickly as possible and don’t stay holding on for longer than is necessary.

If you have to pick your dog up on a regular basis, then it’s going to become more fearful of being picked up. Instead, be gentle on the first few occasions and praise and pet the animal when you set it down again.

Your dog will learn that there’s nothing to worry about and that picking it up won’t lead to anything unpleasant happening.

Reassure your dog by spending time with him on the ground and by making sure that he understands that you’re not angry or annoyed with him just because you’ve tried to pick him up.

If you’re struggling with this behavior, then it’s time to speak to your veterinarian about further treatment.

5. Talk To Your Local Dog Trainer for Advice

If you have used some of the techniques described above to help stop your dog from biting you when you pick them up, then it may be time to consult a dog trainer. There are likely some underlying issues at play (excitement, anxiety, fear) that is causing the aggression.

A trainer can help figure out the triggers and prevent them from reoccurring.

Even if you are confident that your dog has learned from the training methods, it serves no purpose to ignore or misinterpret the event. You need to talk with a trainer to make sure that your dog has not simply become more aggressive in general.

It is also a good idea to talk with a trainer so that they can teach you the proper techniques and help eliminate any uncertainty that may make your situation worse.

Other people may not understand why you are doing certain things and give advice that does more harm than good.

A trainer will be able to explain exactly why certain things should be done and what will happen if they are skipped over or not done properly.

If you are instructed to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, please speak up. A good trainer will want to find out why this is difficult for you and have it fixed as quickly as possible. This applies to other training methods as well.

If a particular exercise does not make sense, ask your trainer if they can modify the training so that it works better for you. Most dogs will respond better if their owner is happy with the training techniques.

It is still possible to train your dog on your own, even if they are biting you every time you pick them up. However, it is highly recommended to get a dog trainer’s assistance, especially if you are training puppies or dogs that have never had any formal obedience training before.

Unless the biting has only been happening on rare occasions, it is just not a good idea to handle something by doing it wrong yourself.

In Conclusion:

As you can see, dogs biting when they are picked up can be due to many reasons. There are many cases of dogs biting when they’re just being playful, and not to be taken seriously.

We recommend talking to your local dog trainer for advice so they can help you to learn what’s going on and how you can help your pup.

For further consideration, we have compiled a list of 40 reasons why your dog may be biting you when picked up.

Please do read these and maybe it will stimulate thoughts about what is causing the problem for you and your dog.

40 Possible Reasons For biting When Picked Up

1. Fear

2. Pain

3. Unknown person

4. Unknown object

5. You move suddenly, causing pain/fear to the dog

6. Your hand is too hot or too cold for the dog’s liking, which might seem like an attack of some sort

7. You are not aware of how long you have had your hands on the dog’s neck and may also be perceived as attacking them

8. Friendliness – Possibility that the dog may be trying to lick you but is being misinterpreted by you as hostility or fear

9. Excitement – The dog experienced stress and pain while receiving too much physical attention from strangers, and the dog may be overreacting to your own actions.

10. You may be in a place that is new to the dog, which might make them feel overwhelmed or stressed out

11. If a child is present, the dog might be trying to get your attention because they are afraid of being attacked by a child

13. Separation anxiety – The dog is afraid of being alone.

15. The dog is trying to tell you that you need to back off or step away

16. If the dog has lived in another house before, they might be aware of what happens in that house and this may have made them fearful of the people who live there, even if you never interacted with them before

17. If the puppy is older, maybe they’re old enough to know what’s happening!

18. If you move your hands too quickly, or stop abruptly, they might become startled

19. The animal has been previously abused in this manner and is acting out as a result

20. The dog is fearful of strangers/strangers in general after being attacked by one previously

21. If parts of the animal’s body hurt, maybe due to poor health or small size

22. If the person has limited mobility, their attempts at picking the animal up may be awkward and uncomfortable

22. If you pick them up in a way that is making them uncomfortable, you might be perceived as using force against them

23. You may not be moving the hand that is holding them with enough gentleness, causing pain

24. You’re moving too much and might be perceived as a threat if the dog does not know what you are doing with your body

25. The dog might be afraid of seeing a vet and afraid that you’re taking them there

26. The animal may be trying to show dominance by attempting to jump up on you and may bite when you attempt to stop them from doing so

27. The dog might think that you’re going to harm their puppies and is trying to protect them

28. You start to pick the dog up, but then stop abruptly because it’s time for a walk or you are going somewhere else, leaving the dog confused – not knowing what is happening/where they’re going, which can cause stress/anxiety.

29. The dog is scared of you or feels threatened by your actions so they try to bite you in a way to get you away from their space (which may also make you feel threatened) but it isn’t really hurting them

30. If the dog has been abused or mistreated at some point in time, this would be traumatizing for him/her and may cause them to act out as a means of coping with those feelings

31. If the puppy is afraid of its mother, it may be trying to protect her from your actions

32. The dog is trying to show dominance in this way because of what happened or has happened to them in the past

33. If you try to pick up the dog while he/she’s sitting, they may assume that they’re not getting picked up and may be disoriented by this, which could then make them feel uncomfortable

34. The dog is confused by your actions

35. The dog might simply be scared of you (and not want to show fear! There’s also a possibility that the animal is trying to show dominance)

36. You’re doing something that makes the animal uncomfortable/they’re frightened by something you’re doing (remember, animals can feel just as bad about their own fears as we do)

37. If you’re very big you may be seen as a “big bad” and maybe more fearful

38. The dog is afraid of your scent (maybe because of an accident in the past)

39. You’re standing too close when you’re trying to pick up the animal and they feel confined by your position

40. Your hands are cold and it’s uncomfortable for them, which may make them feel threatened and attack




American Kennel Club



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