Why Does My Dog Nibble Me?
Does your dog have a habit of nibbling on you? Or perhaps they nibble on blankets and other animals. It’s called cobbing, and although it’s a bit weird to us, it’s usually considered an affectionate behavior.
There’s also a few less common causes for nibbling, such as separation anxiety or boredom, but for the most part it’s a relatively harmless habit that many dog owners find endearing.
Why Do Dogs Nibble?
Nibbling, also called cobbing or corn cobbing, is when your dog gently nibbles on you (or another object or animal) with their front teeth.
Dogs often nibble on things that bring them comfort, such as you or their favorite blanket, as a way to get closer to the object in their own special way.
Dogs Nibble to Show Affection
The most common reason dogs nibble you is to show affection, and you’ll often see mother dogs nibbling their pups. Nibbling is a form of grooming, and it’s a way for dogs to show affection with us or other animals.
Gathering Extra Information
Dogs have an an organ called the vomeronasal organ (also known as the Jacobson’s organ) located in their mouth that allows them to detect pheromones. It’s a secondary olfactory system that lets dogs decipher chemical communication.
As puppies this organ helps them find their mother while they’re still blind and deaf. In adult dogs the organ is used to get all sorts of extra chemical information that their noses can’t get by itself, such as mating status from other dogs.
Nibbling Feels Good
Nibbling can be a self soothing behavior for dogs. They nibble things that bring them comfort, and the behavior helps them relax by releasing feel good pheromones.
You might often see your dog lying down with their favorite blanket, gently nibbling as they nod off and fall asleep.
Because They’re Bored or Anxious
If your dog is obsessively nibbling or chewing things it could be our of boredom or anxiety, from either a lack or physical or mental exercise.
Like any habit, nibbling can be become destructive if not redirected towards something else.
If your dog obsessively nibbles or chews try adding in a few quick brain games to their daily routine. If you have a high energy dog they might benefit from some quick exercises to help wear them out. And for those days when it’s raining out there’s also plenty of ways to keep your dog busy indoors.
What to Do If You Don’t Want Your Dog Nibbling on Certain Objects
If your dog has been nibbling on a certain blanket and you’d like them to stop the best way is to use redirection.
Whenever they go for the blanket simply hand them an appropriate chew toy instead, and praise them when they redirect their attention onto it.
It might take a little while, but with positive reinforcement your dog will learn to go towards the chew toy for that extra praise.
Does Your Dog Nibble on You?
Does your dog nibble you? My dog does on occasion, but he usually saves it for the cats. And surprisingly they seem to love it. I was a little nervous at first that he might be too rough, but they absolutely adore it.