We love our dogs more than anything in the world. We adore them for who they are – their sloppy kisses, funny dances, and furry presence are something we can’t live without. However, for all the love and happiness they bring, they also bring some annoying habits.
One of these frustrating behaviors is their nibbling. Have you ever wondered – Why does my dog nibble me? Well, for your pups, it is their way of showing affection, exploring, and playing with you.
So, in this article, we go over all the reasons why your pet might be nipping you.
Why Does My Dog Nibble Me?
As mentioned earlier, your furry friend usually picks at you to shower their affection on you. This behavior is much more common in puppies than adults. At this stage, these babies are exploring the world.
Moreover, they go through their teething phase, and only nibbling relieves their irritated gums. But what are the other reasons for your pets being mouthy? Let us go through them.
They’re Just A Puppy
If your baby is literally a baby (read: puppy), then gnawing, nipping, biting are very common! In fact, it’d be quite weird if the naughty pup didn’t engage in such activities. Puppies’ teeth during this time, due to which their gums get irritated.
Moreover, they are still new to the world and curious. These little ones want to explore everything. Their mouths are instruments that help them acquaint themselves with the world. It also helps them to control their impulses.
The best time to teach your furry child anything is at this stage. Anything taught at this age will be the foundation that shapes up your pet’s temperament. So, pay attention to them as much as possible when they are little.
Excitement And Show Of Affection
Sometimes, your four-legged kids nip you out of excitement and overwhelming love for you. It is quite common in Cocker Spaniels. They express themselves through their mouths. Playful nips might be just their way of stating ‘I love you’!
Some puppies get super excited and can’t control themselves from biting you playfully. Another common habit while getting overexcited is peeing a little bit.
So, this one’s all for the unconditional love they have for you!
Mouthing behaviors are much more prevalent in puppies than adults, as mentioned before. Playful nipping with their peers also teaches doggies how hard to play-bite without causing any harm to anyone.
If your pet doesn’t get much socialization in its early years, the chances are that its play-bites can be dangerous. The solution is to prevent them from doing this sort of biting altogether.
Show Of Possession
We all know this – Doggies are territorial. Their human is theirs. Thus, placing their mouth on you can be their attempt at claiming you.
Such an act is usually very gentle and doesn’t harm you. It is not aggressive in native. Honestly, mild possessiveness is healthy and normal. It is their instinct, after all!
However, if it leads to aggression, it might be a bit of a problem. You will need to get this under control as soon as possible.
Tooth pain is the worst – be it in humans or any other species! Sometimes, your pet might be gnawing and biting because of an underlying oral condition. They can’t speak, so nipping you is their way of letting you know they are in pain.
Gingivitis, periodontal disease, and cavities can all contribute to discomfort and irritation. This might make your canine frustrated, and nibbling you provides them relief. Dental problems are a cause of concern, and you should consult a doctor to get them treated.
Poor Impulse Control
Biting behavior can take birth from a lack of self-control. Certain canines bite and gnaw because they cannot control themselves. They have never received any sort of training to rectify this behavior. Hence, such actions become stable for them.
However, there is nothing to worry about. You can teach your four-legged friend impulse control at any age you want. It is easier to train puppies, of course. To correct this, let out a high-pitched yelp the next time your dog nibbles you.
At first, they might get scared, but it will only let them know that they are not doing the right thing. Eventually, they will stop themselves.
Even dogs can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic experiences tend to leave a long-lasting impression on them. Such trauma can be through abuse, accident, neglect, dehydration, or chronic hunger.
Doggy PTSD can show in various forms, including skittishness, hyperawareness, potty issues, or even aggression. Gnawing or nibbling on other people and even you could be something that helps them calm down. Such pups can even bite out of fear.
Likes Your Taste
Don’t worry. Your pet is not going to eat you. However, our skin’s salty taste might be fascinating to them. A lot of dogs love our salty taste. If the bites or gnaws are complimented with sloppy, huge kisses, your furry buddy might just love your flavor!
One of the major red flags of aggressive behavior is nibbling. Some canines nip or bite out of anger. Such a temperament can manifest due to several reasons. If unchecked, this might become an issue.
Thus, it is best to find the root of the problem and rectify it as soon as you recognize it. You can try to train your dog yourself. If you fail to tame your buddy, it is best to turn to a vet or a behaviorist.
Fear can be strong motivation for your four-legged child to bite or nip you. For rescues or strays who come from a background of neglect and abuse, the chances increase manifold. It is their way of defending themselves, something years of harsh treatment have taught them.
Such a fear response might be hard to crack; however, everything is possible with time, effort, and lots of love. You might need to call for professional help if need be.
You will also need a lot of patience to make your new family member realize that they don’t have to be scared of you.
Anxiety is a problem not only for us but also for our canine friends. Anxious pups engage in such behaviors more than others. Such feelings can cause them to gnaw, bite, nibble and even suckle on your fingers and hands.
Your canine counterparts can’t speak. However, the next best way for them to communicate with you is with their mouth. If your little puppy is nibbling you, it is extremely normal, and it is their way of getting accustomed to this new, big world.
Sometimes even your old dogs might playfully bite you out of love and excitement. It is their way of showing their affection and adoration for you.
However, nibbling is not always this inconsequential. Sometimes, your furry mate might be facing some issue or discomfort and trying to communicate with you.
You should trust your gut. If you feel something is wrong, go to a vet and ensure that your best friend is not having any problem. After all, if your dog could, they’d do the same for you!