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Is My Dog Nibbling On Me? 4 Causes and Solutions Explained

Does your dog like to nip your hand?

Are you relaxing on the sofa and suddenly your dog is nibbling your fingers or toes? You can get very frightened!

Don’t worry! Your dog doesn’t mean it bad if he chews a little on people! But then why is he doing it? We have the most common reasons and solutions for you here!

In a nutshell: why is my dog nibbling on me?

Learned Behavior: Your dog probably learned as a puppy that you are communicating with him when he nibbles on you. Now he’s doing it to tell you something or to get your attention.

Stress & Boredom: If your dog is underworked or feels stressed, this can manifest itself in excessive nibbling.

Hands are toys: If you often fight with your dog, he may think your hands are the greatest toy in the world! And a dog has to bite into great toys, those are the rules!

Proof of love: Your dog shows you that he loves you by chewing on you. As you stroke him, he bites your fingers carefully.

If you recognize your dog’s behavior here, take a look at our dog training bible! Here you will find a lot of information on this and other topics!

Different causes of nibbles

If your dog bites your hand, there can be a number of reasons. However, if it is just a cautious nibble with the front teeth, it is by no means aggressive behavior! Here are the most common reasons your dog chews:

1. learned behavior

Many dogs learn that by nibbling they get the attention of their owners.

In a small puppy, the behavior is still sweet and is often reinforced with affection and snuggles. As your dog grows up, his teeth will hurt a lot more. But he doesn’t understand why he suddenly can’t bite anymore.

2. Stress & Boredom

Dogs have a natural urge to chew. This means that it is in their nature to chew on objects. This is more pronounced in some dogs than in others.

If dogs feel too much stress or are not sufficiently busy, this drive can quickly degenerate.

3. Hands are toys

If your dog mostly bites you while you’re playing, he’s probably learned that your hands are great toys. Then you can nibble on it!

If you love to tussle with your sweetheart or hide treats in your hands, then he probably thinks biting your hands is just the perfect way to play. He doesn’t understand that he could hurt you with that.

You can find out how to get your dog to stop biting while playing in this article: My dog ​​bites while playing – what can I do?

4. Proof of love

Showing affection is probably the most common reason for nibbling. Mutual nibbling is very common among dogs. They do this to each other to care for their fur or to calm them down.

If your dog primarily nibbles on you when you are petting and cuddling, it is likely that he is trying to show his affection for you.

It doesn’t even occur to him that this could be uncomfortable for you! He doesn’t have hands to pet you with.

Dog nibbles on your hand

If your dog mostly bites you while you’re playing, he’s probably learned that your hands are great toys.

If you love to tussle with your sweetheart or hide treats in your hands, then he probably thinks biting your hands is just the perfect way to play. He doesn’t understand that he could hurt you with that.

Puppy nibbles on your hand

Puppies often and happily nibble on everything and everyone. They’re exploring the world and haven’t yet learned that people don’t like being nibbled on.

Also, like toddlers, puppies can experience pain as their baby teeth grow.

This is how you get your dog used to nibbling

Whatever the reason your dog is chewing, you can do something about it. It is important in all cases that you remain calm and do not scold your dog. Always remember that your dog has no bad intentions and doesn’t really want to hurt you.

1. When nibbling is a learned behavior

What a dog has learned, it can also unlearn. It is important that you have a lot of patience.

Avoid raising your hands. Your dog might take this as a play prompt.

Remain calm and interrupt the situation.

Don’t pay attention to his nibble. Instead, reward calm behavior, such as walking over to him when he’s in his basket.

2. When your dog is stressed or bored

Is your dog nibbling on you out of stress or boredom? Make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Chews can also help to reduce your dog’s stress.

Be sure to look for the trigger for the stress. It’s always helpful to get to the root of the problem in order to fix the symptoms.

3. When your dog holds your hands for toys

Once your dog has learned to playfully bite your hands, you should use your hands less when playing.

Instead of fighting your dog, throw balls, play tug of war, or hide treats.

4. When nibbling is a token of love

If your dog’s nibble is a sign of love, show him that you don’t like it that much. It’s best if you get up and walk away for a moment.

Of course you can also let your dog nibble a bit if it doesn’t bother you. It will then stop on its own after a while.

5. When your pup nibbles

Puppies like to communicate by nibbling.

To teach your puppy not to bite you, interrupt the situation. Get up and walk away when he starts nibbling on you.

You should also give him other chew toys in case he has a toothache.

Conclusion

Your dog nibbles on you for a variety of reasons:

  • From learned behavior
  • Because he thinks your hands are toys
  • Because he wants to show you that he loves you
  • Because he’s still a puppy
  • No matter what the reason for his feasting on your hands, he means no harm. Keep calm, don’t scold him. Instead, distract him by giving him another command, or interrupt the situation and walk away for a moment.

This is how he learns that you don’t like it when he nibbles on you.

If you’d like to better understand your dog, you can find even more information about their behavior in our Dog Training Bible!

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