Dogs are social animals and often look for ways to connect with others of the same species.
It’s common for dogs to nibble on people, but why does this happen?
The reasons can vary from one individual dog to another.
Dogs Nibble For Many Reasons
There are many different reasons why your dog might want to nip at your ankles.
Some of them include:
Your dog wants to make contact with you when he sees you walking down the street.
He might also want to check out what you’re doing by sniffing around your feet.
Dogs love to eat!
They’ll do everything in their power to get something into their maw.
But sometimes, they’ll take it even further by chewing on you while you’re eating dinner.
If your dog is hungry, he will likely try to get some food from you.
He could even try to steal food from your plate to satisfy his appetite.
Dogs love to give and receive hugs, kisses, and other forms of affection.
They enjoy getting close to us so they can feel our touch.
And sometimes, they’ll use their teeth to express their feelings of love.
It Could Be A Sign Of Affection
Some owners just like having their dog nip at them.
Others enjoy the contact and feel it helps keep their pet safe.
Sometimes, though, a dog will start nibbling out of boredom or because he is anxious.
In these instances, it could be a sign of affection.
Nibbling To Show Off
Some dogs have been known to nibble other dogs in play.
This usually occurs when a dog isn’t used to being around other dogs.
He gets nervous or excited and starts nibbling his owner.
This is especially common among puppies who don’t yet know how to control themselves around other animals.
Nibbling To Get Attention
Sometimes, a dog may nibble to get attention.
They do this by biting you so hard that you notice them.
Some dogs do this when they’re bored and want some excitement.
They’ll bite you until you stop them.
Other times, an anxious dog might nibble to try and get attention.
Nibbling To Communicate
Other times, a dog might nibble you to tell you something.
This includes your dog showing off and wanting to be noticed.
It also includes communication through body language.
A dog may nibble you to say “I’m hungry” or “I need to go outside.”
It Could Be A Sign Of Anxiety
Some dogs bite when they’re anxious.
This is called excitability biting.
Excitability biting is usually caused by anxiety in the dog and can also occur if the dog has been abused previously.
Some dogs bite because they’re nervous.
They might do this when they see something unfamiliar like a stranger approaching them.
Sometimes, a dog will bite just to play — biting someone is fun!
Dogs who have been abused in the past may also bite out of fear.
Other times, it could be a combination of all these factors.
In any case, if the dog bites, immediately remove yourself from the situation and call an animal control officer.
Never hit, yell at, or spank your dog when he or she bites.
Doing so will only make things worse and encourage more biting.
“My dog bit me,” is a phrase I hear frequently.
But what exactly is a “biting” incident?
Is it really a biting incident?
Or is it just a little nip?
How should you respond to a dog that nips you on the arm?
Let’s take a closer look at the various types of nibbles and how to handle each one.
It Could Be A Sign Of Playfulness
Many pet owners have noticed that their dogs will sometimes nip at them when they’re not expecting it.
This could be a playful gesture on the part of the dog, or it could be something else entirely.
For instance, if the nipping is accompanied by a wag of the tail, it could simply mean that the dog is happy to see you.
If the nipping doesn’t seem like a playful gesture, there are other possible explanations.
One possibility is that the dog is trying to signal that he’s hungry.
Another possibility is that he wants to show his submissiveness in some way.
Of course, these things don’t always work out exactly as planned.
In fact, even if your dog is showing affection towards you, there’s no guarantee that he’ll stop nibbling.
There are several signs that your dog might be trying to get your attention, including:
Your dog may be trying to show affection by licking you, rubbing up against you, or nudging you.
Your dog may be trying to communicate that he’s hungry by nibbling you.
Your dog may want to show his submissiveness by nibbling you.
It Could Be A Sign Of Submissiveness
A dog might nibble on someone in an attempt to show they’re submissive.
This is most commonly seen when a dog is being trained to obey commands.
In these cases, the owner will sometimes place food near them, and if the dog begins to nibble at it then he’ll know which command to respond to.
Because of this, some trainers will even place treats inside the dog’s mouth while training him.
Other times, the owner might give the dog a treat, and if they do so while the dog is eating, the dog will understand that he should stop eating until the owner says “OK.”
This is also known as “treat-as-a-command” technique.
This method is not recommended by all trainers because it could cause problems down the road if the dog becomes accustomed to receiving snacks whenever he wants.
It Could Be A Sign Of Hunger
The most likely reason is that your dog is simply hungry.
They may have been playing in the yard all day and are looking forward to a meal.
If you know what time it is, you can offer them some food right away.
Otherwise, you’ll want to give them something to snack on while you prepare dinner.
This will help them keep themselves occupied and prevent them from being destructive when you’re not around.
If your dog has a tendency to chew things up or destroy things, you’ll want to put them on a leash until you can get them into the house.
Once inside, you can spend some quality time together, petting and snuggling.
Make sure to feed them properly so they don’t feel like they’re starving.
Additionally, if your dog tends to bark at other dogs, you may want to consider training them to respond to commands such as “come” and “stay.”
This will help them learn how to behave around other dogs without having to bite them.
It Could Be A Sign Of Teething
Puppies teethe around 10-12 weeks old, but it continues throughout the rest of their lives.
This is when your puppy’s first set of adult teeth come in.
Although most dogs don’t chew and swallow them, some puppies do.
As the pup grows older, they’ll continue to grow new sets of teeth until their adult teeth appear.
When the adult teeth start coming in, the puppy will begin to use his mouth to explore things (like toys) instead of chewing on everything he comes across.
If your dog starts biting or nipping at you, it could be because he has started teething.
You can help ease the pain by giving him a soft treat or offering him something else to chew on.
You can also give him a little massage and rub his gums gently to relieve any discomfort.