Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.
Puppies are known to be affectionate creatures. They bound around you, lick your face and embrace you in their little paws.
But sometimes, a puppy’s natural inclination to leap and shove its head into things can get to be a bit much… Why is my puppy lunging at my face?
The reason why a puppy lunges at your face is most likely because they are playing with you rather than any aggressive behavior. This is very common in puppies and can sometimes extend into adulthood if not corrected.
In this post, let’s find out more about this behavior, when you should be concerned, and some corrective actions you can take.
Is It Normal for a Puppy to Snap at Your Face?
It’s natural for puppies to snap at faces, as they’re teething and learning.
They’re also testing their boundaries and limits, as well as testing their owners’ ability to be a strong pack leader.
Most importantly, they are simply playing!
While puppies do exhibit such behavior and also on any other part of the body, it’s important not to panic if your pup happens to bite you on the nose or cheek one day.
It’s important that we keep calm so they know they can trust us not only around food but also when faced with conflict or aggression from another animal or person.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Overgrown Dew Claws in Dogs
Why Is My Puppy Lunging at Me?
Similar to how it snaps at your face, a puppy lunging at your face could be nothing more than simply playing.
This is just the way dogs play when they are growing up, especially when they are in a litter.
An untrained puppy may try to play by biting, just like how sometimes dogs bite another dog’s legs. because it’s an instinctual behavior; however, there are many things we can do as owners before resorting back to basic training techniques such as positive reinforcement training.
It should also be noted that while some people find this behavior cute, others don’t enjoy being around dogs due solely because they feel uncomfortable being around such playful creatures.
Some other theories suggest that your puppy is asserting dominance, just like when a dog tries to hump your hand.
In the wild, dominant dogs will act as a leader and control other animals in their group.
This type of behavior is sometimes seen between a human and a puppy, especially if the dog does not have enough mental stimulation or exercise to help them channel its energy into something positive.
To assert dominance over you, your puppy may try to bite you or even nip at your ankles when he wants something like attention or food from you (which can be very painful).
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Are Vizslas Good Guard Dogs? Suitability for Your Family
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Lunging at My Face?
If you are looking for ways to stop your puppy from lunging at your face, remember the following:
- Do not let the puppy get into your face. It is okay to let him sniff and lick, but do not allow him to put his nose in front of you or any other part of you. This is a sign that he wants to play and will lead to more interactions like wrestling or tug-of-war games that are very enjoyable for puppies but can be upsetting and dangerous for children.
- Do not let the puppy get too excited when playing with toys or other dogs. When a dog becomes overexcited, his behavior can become unpredictable as he tries new things just because they seem fun at the moment rather than because they make sense within past experiences with similar situations.
- Additionally, excitement levels may rise so high that even non-threatening stimuli (such as a child running around) might provoke an aggressive response (for example dragging other dog’s collars) from an overexcited dog who doesn’t understand how human children act differently from dogs when interacting together!
- Don’t give any attention when lunging happens – this includes verbalizing scolding words such as “no!”. Instead, encourage good behavior through positive reinforcement techniques instead by rewarding appropriate actions like sitting calmly down next time instead; this will help teach your pup what kinds of behaviors make sense rather than relying on punishment alone which often results in only temporary compliance before returning back just as quickly than ever before!
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why Does My Dog Lick and Hump Me? 7 Solutions
How Can You Tell if a Puppy Is Going to Be Aggressive?
Your dog is not born with aggression, and its behavior can be influenced by many different variables, including his genetics and the environment in which he is raised.
If your puppy was born into a litter that was exposed to early life stress or trauma, he may have been taught aggression by his mother or other litter mates.
When puppies are threatened by their siblings or other members of their pack, they may learn to become aggressive themselves as a form of self-defense.
This can lead to an aggressive adult dog who will lash out at people when feeling threatened or challenged in some way.
Puppies also learn from their owners how and when it’s appropriate for them to act defensively toward another person or animal.
If you allow your puppy to jump up on people without reprimanding him every time he does so, then this behavior will continue throughout adulthood and become even more difficult for you as an owner to correct later on down the road!
Doggy says, consider reading this next: My Dog Keeps Acting Like Something Is Biting Her [Solutions]
What Is Abnormal Puppy Behavior?
If your puppy is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, it’s not normal:
- Lunging. This includes chasing, attacking tires, barking, and whining with no physical contact.
- Biting. If your dog bites hard on you or another person on any part of the body, this is abnormal. However, if your puppy plays rough and licks or nips at people’s hands while playing, it’s normal for them to occasionally bite in order to get their attention and play more aggressively with them afterward.
- Growling or snapping at you or another person in an aggressive manner—even if they don’t break skin! If a dog growls or snaps at you when he doesn’t have a reason to do so (like when you’re petting him), take it as a warning sign that he may become aggressive down the road if left untreated—and please seek professional help right away!
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Puts Head on Other Dog’s Neck
Can a 3-Month-Old Puppy Be Aggressive?
The answer is yes.
Puppies are born with teeth and sharp little claws, so when they’re young and still learning what not to bite or scratch with them on, it’s natural for them to try out these new appendages.
Well, they don’t know any better!
It also means that when your puppy is biting at you or trying to play rough with your hands, it’s probably because he thinks he’s playing gently—not because he wants to hurt you!
When puppies play with each other they often use their mouths and paws as part of their game (or fighting technique), which can sometimes look like aggression but really isn’t.
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Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why is my Shiba Inu whining?
In Conclusion: Puppy Lunging At My Face
It’s a good idea to avoid reprimanding or disciplining your puppy when they’re lunging, because that may only make the problem worse.
Ideally, you should just ignore them when they’re doing this, so that they don’t learn that lunging gets them in trouble.
Otherwise, you can try to distract them with a toy or treat.
It won’t work right away, but as long as you give it enough time and space to learn (and as long as they aren’t aggressive toward humans), it should eventually curb the behavior.
Learn more about other types of dog behavior such as why dogs put food in their mouths and then spit it out, why dogs attack tires, or if bully sticks make dogs aggressive.
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