The most common reason Westie’s bite their owners is because they’re trying to tell their owner something. If you have a Westie and it has started biting you out of the blue, this could be your answer.
Westie’s are very loyal dogs, and they bond with their owners quickly. They’ve also been bred as working dogs for several generations, which is why they’re so eager to please.
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Reasons for Biting
But because of their loyalty and eagerness to please, Westie’s will bite if they’re feeling neglected or left alone for extended periods of time.
This is why it’s most common for Westie puppies to start biting their owner in this way. It usually happens between 8-12 weeks old when the puppy is teething.
It can also happen at any age if you don’t spend enough time with your Westie. However, it’s not aggressive biting that people normally misunderstand.
What they’re actually meaning is the Westie is going for the ‘kiss’, which is when the dog gently bites a finger or hand to let you know they want to play.
Another reason why Westie’s bite their owners often is because of boredom. Because Westie puppies are usually so full of energy, it can be difficult to keep them occupied.
So if your pet isn’t physically engaging with you, they’ll oftentimes discover other ways to get your attention.
This includes play biting and pawing at you. However, because play biting still involves a lot of physical contact with another person, it’s not as likely for your dog to bite too hard.
If you find your Westie is constantly biting you, though, always keep in mind that they may be trying to tell you something.
More often than not, this means it’s time to implement new training methods or introduce new toys to the household.
Also, just to be clear, Westie’s don’t normally have a problem with being left alone. It’s when you’re suddenly gone for long periods of time that they’re most likely to start biting you.
So if you’ve recently switched jobs and now have to spend more time at work than at home, this can also cause your dog to bite.
So if you find yourself being nipped by your Westie, always ask yourself if there may be something causing them anxiety. You should also ask yourself how both of you are feeling.
If one of you is frustrated or stressed out, then it will usually cause the other one to react that way as well. It’s a dog’s natural way of reacting to its owner.
Also, if you know your Westie is going to have more than one person living with them in the home, it’s important to teach them how to socialize and behave around everyone.
It can be difficult for dogs to adapt and submit their dominant behavior around other people when they’re used to being the ‘top dog.’
If everyone knows the house rules and sets boundaries accordingly, then your dog will most likely adjust more quickly and be less likely to bite.
Lastly, don’t forget that all puppies are teething at some point. It’s a very stressful and irritating time in your dog’s life, so make sure you stock up on plenty of toys and chew bones to help them stay distracted.
Also, it’s a good idea to know what your Westie is chewing on. It may be that they have decided they like the feel of your hand or fingers.
Because Westies have a predisposed attitude to retrieving objects, it can be difficult for them not to try and pick things up with their mouth.
It may be that if you don’t respond to this behavior right away with an object for them to retrieve, they’ll resort back to biting their owner.
However, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your Westie doesn’t resort back to biting. For one, it’s important to react quickly and punish the behavior the moment you feel pain.
It’s also a good idea always to reward your dog with an appropriate toy (or treat) once they’ve stopped biting.
You should also put even more toys around your house so that your Westie won’t get bored and resort back to chewing on whatever they can find.
Another way to keep your pet distracted is by playing games or doing adventurous activities with them right in front of where they’re likely to bite.
Finally, it’s important to give your Westie plenty of love and attention. If you make sure they’re getting everything they need in terms of exercise and stimulation, then they’re likely to start acting more like their normal happy self.
And when you consider these reasons, you can understand why biting is pretty much the last thing your dog would ever want to do.
It’s not because they’re mad or upset with you, it’s most likely because you didn’t show them enough love or attention while they were trying to tell you something.
A simple hug should be enough to make things right again. So don’t be afraid to show your pet some love as often as possible. It could make all the difference in the world.
Other Points To Consider
If, after considering all of the above, you still find that your Westie is biting you, here are some additional points that need to be considered, and where possible, acted upon:
1. Not enough exercise
A lack of exercise is a common cause of biting. Lack of exercise is usually caused by not setting sufficient time aside for exercise.
Westie dogs need to be exercised on a daily basis. Whatever the reason for lack of exercise, it is one of the most common causes for biting.
If your dog is not getting enough exercise, you should immediately schedule more time for it and give it some vigorous activity such as fetch or playing with a ball or toy.
If you don’t have time to take your dog out, consider hiring someone who can come in and walk your dog once or twice per day. Allowing adequate time for exercise can certainly prevent problems like biting.
2. Lack of training
Another reason your westie can possibly bite is that he/she is not being properly trained.
Yelling at your dog will not help him/her understand what you are trying to teach him/her. If you want to teach your dog a specific command, use positive reinforcement.
For example, if you want your dog to sit, reinforce him/her by giving him/her a treat. If your dog does not respond properly to the command, return to the training process until he/she obeys.
Don’t ever lose your temper with your dog for biting you in training.
3. Uncomfortable collar
A common cause of Westie biting is the uncomfortable collar. Get your dog a collar that’s just the right size, comfortable for them to wear.
This will allow them to feel more at ease in it, preventing them from learning to bite loose fabric to get it off.
4. Jealous of another dog
When your Westie starts to feel jealous, frustrated, or protective over something, they may start biting.
Westies can get jealous of other dogs or people. They love their families and want to protect them.
If your dog starts to bite you when you are leaving your house for work in the morning, they may be feeling jealous about being left behind and want attention from you.
They may also be feeling left out of the family.
Jealousy is confusing and can bring on irrational behavior.
When your Westie feels jealous or protective, they may feel like you are an intruder who should not be in their space.
They want you to be there, but they don’t want anyone else there and do not want to share your attention with anyone else. They want attention and will bite anyone who tries to steal it.
Let your Westie know that they are included and loved by the family. Make sure someone is there when you leave for work to give your dog all of the attention and time they need.
5. Predatory instinct
Predatory instinct is another reason that could be causing your Westie to bite you or others in the home. It’s possible that your dog might be mistaking you for prey.
It can happen if the Westie’s been teased by a guest or outside neighbour, and now every time they see that person it triggers their desire to pounce.
Spend some time teaching your dog how to behave around people instead of punishing them for bites.
You should only intervene if they show signs of aggression and are uninterested in stopping the biting.
6.Excessive touching and handling – stop touching him/her constantly
It is not healthy for your dog to be constantly handled by you or others and can lead to biting.
Westies are considered to be mollycoddled (meaning they have been overly-handled, or hand-fed as puppies).
Westies need to be left alone and should not be touched too much or while they are eating or sleeping
In conclusion: If your Westie has started to bite you, remain calm and steadfast.
Try not to engage and be as gentle as possible when reprimanding the dog, even if it’s showing aggression.
Westie’s do love their humans, they just need a little nudge in the right direction.
Westie owners should always establish themselves as Alpha dogs, to avoid them taking on this position with their loved ones.
This will set boundaries and provide both you and the dog with peace of mind.