“He Grabs People as a Greeting”: My Experience With a New Dog Training Client

As I entered the home of a new client their 80 pound dog grabbed my forearm HARD and deep in his mouth.

They chased after him and tried to swat him off of me, but as they did so, his grip just got deeper and he tried to swing me out of the way so that he could keep my safely affixed in his mouth.

dog bite, biting dogs, dog aggression

I did my best to remain calm and plot my escape so that I could release his grip without needing stitches.

I asked them to back up and leave the room and I gave the dog a command I knew that he knew (I had worked with him in another setting before).

Immediately he released his grip and sat for me, awaiting his reward.

Even though I was not bleeding, he had most definitely broken skin and if I hadn’t had prominent tattoos the bruise would be utterly breathtaking in a few days.

I wasn’t mad, yet.

After all, working with dogs; especially aggressive dogs is what I do.

This kind of scenario, although a little odd, is the price I pay for working with animals.

But then they said it.

“He Grabs People as a Greeting”,  “He was just saying ‘Hi’.”

I have to admit by this point I was a little irritated.

Interestingly enough, though, this is not the first time I have heard this!

That was not a “greeting” in my opinion.

I couldn’t believe that people could be so in denial about their dog’s behavior.

At this point I was attempting to take a seat on the sofa, when the dog jumped up and grabbed me with his forelegs and started to put his mouth on the back of my head.

I mean, I am sure he was just kissing me, right?

I stood up and demanded that they put a leash on him.

With his leash, I could ensure that he couldn’t get up on me or even too near me.

I could hold him at a distance and ask him to perform tasks or teach him new tasks so that I could reward good behavior.


Ironically, this behavior wasn’t pure aggression.

It was definitely aggressive, but it spurned from the owners lack of willingness to exercise and train the dog and give him the stimulation that he needed.

He grabbed me because he wanted to play with me, albeit inappropriately.

But, this behavior isn’t acceptable!!

If he had done this to the wrong person, they could have called animal control and reported a bite. dog bite, biting dogs, dog aggression

It isn’t acceptable from an 80 lb. large dog, and it isn’t appropriate or acceptable from a Golden Retriever, or a Chihuahua.

If I had been a little bit physically weaker, or older, or if my skin had been just a bit thinner and I had pulled back on my arm that was locked in his jaw or overreacted at all; this scenario would have resulted in a bad bite.

The kind of bite that could have taken this dog’s life.

The dog who is barely over a year old is severely frustrated with his home environment.

  • He doesn’t have a yard.
  • His people say they can’t walk him.
  • He doesn’t get to run.
  • They don’t work on any kind of training.

And, he has been allowed to do this since he was a puppy.

Interestingly, now that he is 80 lbs., they are barely starting to realize it may be a problem.

All while maintaining an odd denial about the seriousness.

This is Very Serious!

How to Turn This Dog Around

First, he needs training and structure.

Real training, “boot camp” like in structure and persistence while making it fun.

This dog would fight any kind of traditional correction type of training and it would undoubtedly make his aggression much worse.

I recommend a gentle leader or an easy walk harness so that walking can be attained a bit faster than the regular amount of time that it takes a dog to learn heel. https://thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/premise-magical-dog-leash/

Because teaching a dog great leash manners is one of the most difficult commands to teach and it takes time and patience.

Want to learn more about “Leash Manners” Training your Dog?

Check out our class, where we show you how you can teach your dog to have impeccable leash manners, even if right now, he’s out of control, always jumping on you during walks, or biting and tugging on the leash..

Click here to learn this “Leash Manners” training process



That does not mean I don’t want them working toward those goals.  I simply want him to get some much needed exercise while he is in training.

He also needs more structured exercise like running next to a bicycle, swimming, weight pulling, dock diving, lure coursing.

In order to be happy, this working dog needs true work!

Limit His Sociability

This dog is hinging on dangerous.

He needs structure and obedience around people so that he doesn’t treat people and children like chew toys.

And for a great video series that shows you how to work on obedience, click here.

If he is allowed to continue these behaviors, the bites will get harder and worse and someone is likely to get hurt.

If he needs to have something in his mouth (some dogs are orally fixated) then give him a toy to put in his mouth.  Only do this if he doesn’t have possessive issues and doesn’t guard his things.  Otherwise this may be worse.

When people come over this dog needs to be on a leash or in a crate if he cannot be worked with while company is over.

He needs to maintain a sit stay or a down stay (preferable) when people visit.

If they exercise him HARD, he should be tired when company arrives.

If they can’t devote that kind of time to him prior and when people are there, he should be crated with something to chew on in a room away from excitement and with a radio on to mask the sounds of visitors.

If there Are No Changes

If the owner doesn’t commit to some very serious changes, I foresee that this dog will be euthanized within the year.

True change takes sincere effort and control and never falling back into bad or lazy habits.

dog bite, biting dogs, dog aggression

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Lynn Smith says:

    I have a 4 month old Rottweiler. He already weighs about 45 pounds. ( No I am not over feeding him ) His father was 140 pounds and I am sure he will be every bit of that himself. He bites my hands, feet, pulls my clothes to the point of ripping them. He is not doing this out of anger he just wants to play. We play all day long! Outside, with chew toys, with rope with whatever he so desires. WHY WHY WHY is he doing this? I am trying to get this under control now. At 140 pounds Im not sure I can handle the bites.


    Minette Reply:

    read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/land-shark/


  2. Judith says:

    My 14 month Charlie will bite if you are trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do. This morning, taking off his collar befor giving him a bath, he growled and snapped at my husband. Once he was in the tub he was doing fantastic. Granted he was a wild child when we were drying him. The groomer wanted him sedated before grooming him. They waited 7 hours before they got to him… the seditive/tranquilizer had worn off. Then they told us that we had a “nasty dog”! I won’t take him back there again!!!


  3. Bernadette Bowles says:

    All puppies bite, relatively gently – it’s how they find out about the world and how they play with their littermates. Your job is to make sure that he finds out people don’t like it. 20 kg is on the light side if he’s going to be as big as his dad, but probably OK for an average Rottweiler.

    When he plays with toys, tell him enthusiastically how good he is. Probably best to go easy on pull toys, introduce him to the delights of ball games instead – pulling can get his type of dog overexcited. As long as he’s playing with you, he’ll be happy. But if he grabs your sleeves and tugs you around, or bites your hand, scream loudly as though in agony, and turn away from him. He bites you, game’s over for a while. Smaller dogs learn from their littermates that if they bite too hard, the game stops; but bigger puppies don’t easily feel if they bite each other quite hard, so you need to be the hurt puppy to make him understand chewing toy or chew is good, chewing Mummy is absolutely not on.


  4. This is how I deal with a puppy who bites during playtime:

    Like children, dogs must learn how to play; both children and dogs will push the envelope with aggressive play, which is not acceptible. With children, time out initiated by the parents works well, in most cases. But with dogs, it requires a different approach:

    While the out of control puppy is playfully biting your arm, push your arm into the back of the puppy’s mouth, and say in a very stern, very loud voice, “NO!!!”

    This gets the dog’s attention immediately, and knocks him off-balance. Use this technique every time the dog starts this aggressive play behavior. (You must be the authority figure here — no laughing, no smiling, no baby talk, no tolerance, no cute Doggie Mom reaction — and like a child, whose parents think that out-of-control behavior is just a phase, you must stop this behavior in its tracks.)


    It may take a few days for this behavior to completely stop; and in the meantime, you owe your puppy the authority he **must have** to break a potentially dangerous behavior at the front end.

    If the puppy doesn’t seem to understand, be consistent, and firm. This is a turning point for both you and your puppy. It is important that you undestand, and implement something effective….
    Otherwise, you may face charges from the.police; court time; and the risk of your beloved dog being.impounded for 14 days of observation (at your cost), and even possibly euthanized.

    We are pet parents, and we love our dogs…but bad behaviors in out if control dogs can permanently scar your family member or friend, or neighbor. If the injury is serious enough fir an emergency room, the hospital is required (by law) to file a police report. From that point, it’s a nightmare…and expensive. You will need a lawyer.

    In closing, do whatever you must do to stop the aggressive behavior, before it becomes your worst nightmare. To allow it to continue could end in disfiguring of a loved one, friend, or neighbor…or the death of your dog, long before he reaches his senior years.


  5. Dolores Alimi says:

    I foster dogs for a 100% no kill shelter in NJ. I had a dog that had a few minor issues but my now 6 yr old female, husky and I managed to get under control. When she went to her new home I received an email a few days later. They said that the dog they adopted from me, when laying on the couch, would growl and snap at the family’s dog if he wanted to get up there too. They asked me if I had any suggestions. I am not a dog trainer but I told them that if she is not allowing their dog on the couch then that means that she is not allowed on the couch until she learns that he an share it too. They told me that is just what they are doing but they wanted to see what I said as I fostered her for several months. About a month later she sent me four pictures of the two dogs. One picture was of the two of them laying on the bed looking at the camera with their paws touching, the second one was of both of them on the bed with one of them chewing on a chew bone, the third was of both of them again on the bed but sitting and leaning right on one another. The fourth and final picture absolutely could not have been a posed one as the two dogs were standing outside and the family’s male dog was giving the dog they adopted a kiss. This really made me smile and almost cry at how sweet they have become. So, if owners are willing to listen and take the time, their dogs can do a 360 degree turnaround and become a wonderful, loving member of the family.


  6. Dede Bruns says:

    Puppies need to bite and chew, but not on people. It is my belief that once the “no” is firmly done and enforced, a toy or chewy should be offered.


  7. Nancy Kevelin says:

    I don’t believe you should ever time your dog out in their crate or in a yard. Not only is this NOT a punishment for them, because hopefully you’ve trained them to love their crate, but it confuses the dog. Time outs can be very effective but putting them in an environment that they love is not a time out.


    Minette Reply:

    Time away from you when you are training should no be a “love”. I don’t need them to feel punished, I want to change their mind frame.


  8. Maria says:

    Hi, I’m a dog trainer also, had 5 rottis and love them. A couple have started out very mouthy but once we started training and by that I mean mental stimulation, getting them to think out behaviours (shaping), puzzle solving, impulse control exercises all that went away. They need to use their brain and they love it. The pup/dog shouldn’t be playing all day, shouldn’t need to. When you start these other things they will need to rest/sleep and process . Best of luck .


    Minette Reply:

    Dog’s need physical exercise too. That is like saying a human that reads all day is getting enough stimulation. Perhaps he is getting enough mental stimulation but he also needs physical stimulation to strengthen his heart and other parts of his body.


  9. Bev says:

    Ice cubes work wonderfully to interrupt an aggressive behavior. It only takes 2 or 3 times before the puppy or dog hears the rattling of ice cubes and he will want his special treat … ice cubes. The behavior of biting/chewing on a person or other pet stops, and you have a life-time resource for special treats for your dog.

    It’s worked with 6 dogs for me. 1-4 have passed, 5-6 love their ice cubes.


  10. Gwenyth Beehag says:

    I have an 8 month old cavoodle who is generally a loving puppy although difficult at times with attention seeking. My main concern is when she becomes aggressively possessive of certain things and growls and makes to attack if she thinks we will take the object away even though we may have no intention of doing so. We are not quite sure of how we should manage this behaviour. Can you help?


  11. Diane Grohn says:

    MY dog is nine yrs. old. he is neutered and mild tempered, but one day a year ago, I had the passenger window open. We were waiting on cars ahead to move. A man I did not know put his hand in to pet my 20lb. dog and he growled immed. and tried to bite the man.
    I think it is ok ,if not fine, that he is territorial. In my opinion this stranger entered the dog’s territory and he protected me.
    Recently, this week, a women I did not know did the same action but I was petting him.
    He did not react to her, but I told her, never to put her hand in the dog’s territory, inside the car, bc she may get bit.


  12. Jackie says:

    My dog takes some people’s arm in her mouth when they come over. She never bites down and is very gentle but I don’t like it


  13. pat thorne says:

    right on, chet! way too many dogs become abandoned or turned in to shelters for
    behaviors that are easily corrected or re directed. jumping up, barking without r eason, leash pulling, peeing in the house, you name it.
    I’ve been training dogs for 30 yrs and training proceedures and ideas have come
    SO far. why do folks have a dog if they won’t invest a little time with it???
    they miss the wonderful and moving bond that they could have with a lifetime
    companion. how sad.


  14. Linda says:

    My dog plays ruff, pulls on cloths ,chews on shoes. When I tell her no, she acts like Im playing.I have given her chew toys. But she will still steal shoes or anything she can tear up. How do I punish her? Just say no, loud? Help. Also to walk on a leash with out pulling. What do you reack a mend. Min.aussie. about 18,20inchs


  15. Margie Gonzales says:

    We have 2 wonderful miniature schnauzers. We would like to give them more leash training, but the little girl (age 4) has tremendous separation anxiety when taken away from her “brother” (age7). She wants to see where and what the male is doing at all times, therefore doesn’t pay attention. My boy couldn’t be better, but she also distracts him. If we put her in the house in order to work with Frankie she cries loudly in her soprano pitched voice. If we put him inside she is frantic wondering what happened to him. Is there a way we can train them together or separately? Frankie does well by himself since I was able to work with him before we acquired Liesl.


    Minette Reply:

    I would train separately


  16. Terrie Lavelle says:

    Hi, we are a home of multiple rescues..always have 4 or five dogs of various ages. There is absolutely no growling, snapping or biting. I have never had to hit, kick or beat a dog. Here’s what we did when a puppy nips….puppies learn the pain of bites from their litter mates. So, I become that litter mate. If I get bit, I yelp..immediately and loud — very loud, like their siblings would. This will startle them. At the same time, I put one of their little paws in their mouth and squeeze down, as they would do if they were nipping. This always gets a reaction of a yelp and pulling away. I then explain to them that nipping is not nice and that it hurts and that we won’t have any of that behavior in our home. When we have these training “sessions”, these little ones must look me in the eye. Even if I have to grab each of their cheeks and get their attention. You see, more than anything our pups want to please us…..initially, the problem often is that they just aren’t sure what we want….not that they are being difficult. So, what to do if the nipping continues? I continue to act as a litter-mate…..yelp if I get nipped…..stern reprimand with them looking in my eyes, and if need be….a time out. I certainly agree, time outs should never be in their create, as this should be their “safe place”. Our time-our destination is always the bathroom. First, you have to make sure it is a safe place, that is that there is nothing they can get into. Toilet seat down. No towels our dirty clothes to chew. Absolutely no dirty underwear, as those are truly a delicacy, that once they start munching on, it will be tough to stop. No toothpaste or toothbrushes to chew. Make sure you leave the light on. You don’t want to frighten them, you just want them to think about what they just did. Timeouts in our home last no longer than 1-2 minutes as they have gotten older — 30 seconds is plenty long in the beginning. No one likes a timeout and the little guys may not get what it is all about for awhile. I believe there is no greater punishment than to ignore them or to deny them interaction with us.
    If you have friends who are sensitive to the problem you are having, ask them if they would help you by coming over/in, a few times a day, everyday for a week or so. Consistent repetition will provide the best chance of putting nipping behind you. This is definitely a problem you can put behind you, but it will take time and you must be consistent. Don’t raise your voice. Don’t hit him, don’t make it a game. If your dog is good motivated, you can give a test and LITS OF PRAISE when the nipping or taking your whole arm in his mouth doesn’t happen.

    I how this works for you.👍



  17. Sharon Aissa says:

    My dog is five years old and is very noisy and can get aggressive if someone he doesnt know enters the house; usually men and will nip them. Hes also very noisy when walking if he sees other dogs. How can I get over this problem. The main issue is when people come into the house.


  18. Christopher Owen says:

    I’ve had Boxers all my life since the age of 7, the first of courses my parent’s. Without exception all have been named Loki (currently (Loki 6), thus I feel I know the breed quite well. As most people know boxers love people, both family, friends, and especially children. Usually other dogs as well..
    My current and uniquely so with Loki 6 is he’s very aggressive with all other dogs, smaller or larger. In fact unless pulled away to the point of starting a major fight, even in one instance having slipped his collar resulting in the death of small dog. He’s pure boxer and grew up with five siblings until 10 weeks of age and my ownership.
    He’s when out he’s always on a leash and has had extensive training by professionals to overcome his aggressiveness.
    Between the cost of various trainers, fines, and compensations (over $4,000 in total) there’s been no improvement. His most recent trainer who also trains service dogs , has told me with this Loki it’s “in his genes” and there’s little or nothing that can be done to overcome this.
    Is this so and if not PLEASE ADVISE !!!
    As to Loki constantly pulling wearing collar and leash (exhausting with a very strong boxer) which no amount of training helped.
    This immediately ended with the advise to change from collar to a harness with the leash attached to the center of his back and no longer around his neck as with a collar. Without any training and as well now always walking beside me!
    This may be a unique situation but worth trying for those with a similar problem.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *