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Dogs are very complex animals and they have all sorts of interesting behaviors and quirks. One of them is nibbling you using his front teeth. Some breeders and experienced dog owners also call this behavior “doing a corn on the cob” or “cobbing” for short. Some people consider this aggressive behavior, but this is far from the truth. Below you will find just some of the most common reasons why your dog would want to nibble you with his front teeth and what you can do to prevent this.
Nibbling is Considered Instinctive
Cobbing or nibbling as most people call it is an instinctive behavior seen mainly in puppies, although older dogs do it too. Puppies will also use nibbling while playing with each other when they’ll try to softly bite one another. If you keep the puppy away from its siblings, then you are most likely to become his play toy. This is far from aggressive behavior and has more to do with an affectionate play he learned from his mother while still very young.
Aside from being an instinctive behavior, it is also correlated with a dog’s teething period. It’s basically the same as with small babies; when their teeth grow, puppies will try everything in their power to relieve at least some of the pain caused by teething. If the only reason for your puppy’s nibbling is teething, then you should try to relieve some of the pain he feels by getting him some chew toys.
Your Dog Is Dealing With a lot of Stress
YOu will notice that your dog will nibble at you a lot more when suffering from anxiety or under a lot of stress. For example, if you’re away from home a lot and your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, then you might notice that he starts to nibble on you as soon as you get home as a way of showing you how much they missed you and that they are happy to see you.
Having new people or pets around your house or constant loud noises might also make your dog nibble on you as a way to get over the stress. In this case, the best idea would be to take the dog out of the stressful situation at least for short periods of time through walks and play sessions.
Sometimes It’s Just a Sign of Affection
Some puppies also learn to nibble while close to their siblings as a way of showing affection. It’s very common for dogs to show each other affection by grooming one another and nibbling around the ears and neck. If your dog sees you as his love pillar then he will try to nibble on you as a way of showing his affection.
When your dog wants to play he may also nibble on you. Dogs often nibble on their owners as a way of trying to get their attention while in a playful mood. Most dogs will only nibble as a way of looking for a playmate while they are pups and will outgrow this behavior at some point. Some dogs might try to get you to play with them by nibbling on you even when they see you have something to do and are busy.
Best Ways to Minimize the Dog’s Nibbling/Cobbing Behavior
The easiest way to make your dog stop nibbling on you if you don’t like this behavior is to simply think and act like a dog. Just say “Ow!” really loud or simply yelp like a dog would so that your pet can realize that he is hurting you.
Making your nibbled hand completely limp will also show your dog that you don’t like this type of behavior. You should then wait for the dog to stop and then praise him when he does, give him a few gentle pets, and even a treat or two if you have some at hand.
If you notice that this behavior continues despite all your efforts, then get a few chew toys to distract your dog from the need to nibble on you. When having chew toys or other similar items your dog will have something else to play with instead of you or your hand.