Tough Love: Why Do Dogs Nibble?
Dogs, particularly puppies, show affection through their mouths. This nibbling and gentle chewing starts out as super endearing until you go home one day only to discover your newspaper shredded and your favorite shoe tattered.
Then you look at the perpetrator who looks back at you with those adorable eyes. How could you be upset with that cute little face?
What you do in this moment is crucial to how your dog will behave in the future. If you surrender to those charming eyes, you will have given the impression that his behavior is appropriate. So how do you address the problem? First thing’s first – answer the big question. Why do dogs nibble?
They Are Learning
Before they could open their eyes, puppies use their mouths to interact and learn about their surroundings.
They nibble on their siblings as a sign of affection and to familiarize themselves with the rest of the litter.
If the nibble gets painful, the other puppy whines and yelps to signal that it’s too much.
They carry this primal behavior with them when they join your family. If they can’t direct their affection to you, they will find objects that may have the same scent as you or have strong association with you.
Hence, the annihilation of your poor shoes and clothes.
They Want Attention
This is one of the reasons why you should resist the urge to pet or give your dog any attention when he nibbles your fingers or your things. When they become accustomed to getting any reaction, they will nip at any chance they get just to have your full attention.
The best way to go about it is to either move away or just ignore him until he stops. The best time to give attention is when he is on his best behavior. This way you are training him to get the attention he wants only when he is being a good boy.
They Are Playing
So you’re wrestling with your four-legged buddy after he welcomes you home from work. You rub him down and tell him he’s such a good boy. He reacts in a friendly manner, looking excited and nibbling your finger. This is his way of responding to your touch.
In most cases, the nibbling does not hurt at all. Sometimes, however, it can get heated and you feel his sharp teeth on your skin. The best time to stop is when he gets too rough.
You will also have to be cautious with his body language. A playful posture is one where his head is dangled near the ground and his belly is exposed.
He will also give you that look on his face that almost resembles a smile.
On the other hand, stop playing if he tenses up. Some dogs don’t like being touched on the belly.
If you feel his body stiffen a bit, stop wrestling and let him chill.
They Like How You Taste
Dogs have heightened senses. They can smell that bagel you had for dinner before you went home and they like how your skin tastes salty at the end of the day.
This is why he keeps licking and nibbling your finger when he welcomes you home. If you let him, he will keep doing this until the scent and flavor is gone.
Some dogs, however, do this when you are sleeping or exercising on the floor. In moments like this, you may want to make him think you taste bad.
It’s A Fact Of Life
Dogs chewing is as normal as humans laughing when you hear a funny joke. The reasons for nibbling can range from stress to happiness. At the same time, it also has health benefits. Chewing helps your dog get rid of tartar and plaque. It also helps strengthen his jaw.
Beside, your dogs may also nibble to carry out their own dental care. So, you need to understand and choose best dog toothpaste for them.
Correcting The Behavior
Since chewing is natural and it helps your dog to stay healthy, there is no way you can eliminate it from his system. However, extreme behaviors like messing up the entire house and chewing on tables and pillows while you’re away are obviously destructive.
Why do dogs nibble? Perhaps he is suffering from separation anxiety. The stress and fear of being alone are relieved by biting and tearing items. In this case, the best solution is to keep him occupied:
- A chew toy would be great to keep him happy.
- Switch it up to keep him interested.
- Spray dog chew deterrent should keep him away from your valuable items
If you want to correct your dog’s behavior, you can try these pointers and let us know if it works or if you have questions. Write them down on the comment section.