When your dog nibbles on your nose, they’re most likely just being goofy and wanting to play. If you watch two dogs play, you’ll notice that sometimes one dog will initiate playtime by nibbling on the snout of the other dog. If a dog nibbles on your nose, they’re doing the same thing.
Playfulness is in a dog’s nature. Whether they are chasing their tail or jumping into your lap, their playful energy is one of the many things that make us fall in love with them.
But as much as we love our dogs, they can also get on our last nerve from time to time. One annoying thing your dog might be in the habit of doing is nibbling at your nose.
What exactly does this nose nibble mean? Is it something you should be concerned about? Or is it just a playful way of expressing their love for you?
What You'll Learn
Nose Nibbling – What You Need to Know
Nibbling is considered normal behavior for dogs, especially when they’re in a playful mood. But playtime isn’t the only time a dog will nibble your nose.
There are three primary reasons your dog may chomp down on your nose.
As discussed previously, the primary reason your dog displays this behavior is because they’re initiating play. They may also do it when they get excited. For example, if you notice your dog displays this behavior when it’s food time or when you pull out their favorite toy, the nibbling may be out of excitement.
Dogs are pack animals, which means they look out for each other. One way dogs look out for each other is by keeping each other clean. They do this through licking and nibbling.
It’s a “you scratch my back, I scratch your back” situation. Next time you get annoyed with your dog for nibbling your nose, remember, they might be trying to do you a favor (in their eyes).
As with humans, dogs have several responses when they get stressed. Humans may fidget with their fingers, clench their fist, or grind their teeth.
When a dog gets stressed, one thing they like to do is nibble on something…but why your nose? It could be because that was the closest thing they found to nibble on. It could also be because they find comfort in you.
They’ll run to you for comfort when they’re stressed. Then to further relieve their stress, they’ll begin nibbling on your nose.
Puppies Nibble For Two Additional Reasons
If you have a puppy, there are a few additional reasons for nose nibbling.
When a puppy is teething, they are extremely mouthy and want to nibble on everything.
Teething is the stage when a puppy’s adult teeth come in. This time can be incredibly uncomfortable for your furry friend, leading them to nibble on whatever is closest to them. This may be your nose or your favorite pair of pants. It is harmless, with no ill intent, but you may see a few bite marks in unexpected places.
The second reason puppies nibble on the nose is curiosity. We need to remember that everything in this world is new to a puppy. Since dogs explore with their nose and mouth, your puppy may nibble on your nose to figure out what it is!
How To Prevent Your Dog From Nibbling
Nibbling is a bad habit that needs to be corrected, especially if your dog is not able to gauge how hard he’s biting. Whether your dog is nibbling your nose, hands, or feet, the process of getting them to stop is the same.
Although it may sound counterproductive, to get your dog to stop nibbling, you want to first entice them nibble.
Since it’s easier to get your dog to nibble your hand than your nose, begin playing with your dog using your hands. Once they bite you, make a high pitch sound, almost like you’re yelping.
It sounds weird, I know, but your dog should understand this reaction. It’s the same reaction puppies have when playing with each other. It lets the dog know they’re biting too hard. To reinforce the association, repeat this action a few times.
Your dog should eventually learn that you don’t like being nibbled on. Any time your dog does this to your nose, make the same “yelping” noise.
If this approach doesn’t work, you may find that timeout is more effective. When you are playing with your dog and he nips at your skin, yelp and then walk away. You can also go to a separate room for 30 seconds, then come back and encourage play.
Your dog will get the hint that when they nibble, that means you leave the room and they lose your attention. Again, do the same thing when your dog nibbles on your nose. Yelp, then get up and leave the room for about 30 seconds.
As you can see, there are many reasons your dog nips at your nose. Whether it’s a sign of affection, playfulness, or stress, there are measures you can take if you want to control this behavior.
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