Puppies that get a little nibbly can be incredibly cute and adorable. Learning why your dog likes to nibble on your clothing can help you teach them not to do it; that way, you can address their needs and protect your clothing from doggy damage. So you’re wondering, why does my dog nibble my clothes?
Your nibbles your clothes because they are teething, suffer from separation anxiety, or are being playful. Nibbling is instinctive and may also be a sign of underlying dental issues and OCD disorder.
Remember that some dogs are likely to keep nibbling, so the name of the game isn’t always stopping this behavior; it’s about directing it in a more healthy and less destructive avenue.
6 Reasons Your Dog Nibbles Your Clothes
These six reasons are some of the most common reasons for your dog to start nibbling your clothing, but they aren’t the only ones. If none of these seem to fit your dog’s behavior, it might be a good idea to consult with your vet to see if something else might be making them a little mouthier than usual.
Your Dog Is Teething
Puppies, in particular, are prone to teething. Teething makes most animals a bit mouthy for a while, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if your pup’s teeth start reaching for your clothing a little more often during this phase.
Giving your dog a rolled towel, terry-cloth toys, or chilled chew toys can all be an excellent re-direct to help control your dog’s teething nibbles.
Plus, giving them good teething toys is an excellent re-direct to help your dog learn to control their nibbling more healthily. Plus, having a chilled chew toy can help relieve some of their teething discomforts.
Your Dog Is Bored
A dog that doesn’t have as much enrichment like toys, walks and other engaging activities might start chewing and nibbling out of simple boredom.
Doing something to help your dog relax and play can help them nibble a little less since they’ll have other outlets for their energy.
Your Pup Enjoys The Taste Of Clothing
Some dogs do just like the taste or texture of some fabrics, which can lead them to nibble on your clothing preferentially. This is likely one cause of your dog’s nibbling habits if they seem to nibble on a specific piece of clothing more than others.
Your Dog Suffers From Separation Anxiety
Some dogs express separation anxiety by getting mouthy or nibbling on their owner and their owner’s clothing.
This typically comes with other expressions of anxiety and anxious behavior, including being destructive toward toys or furniture, excessive barking or whining, and other signs that they aren’t doing well independently.
In general, your vet will be the best resource for overcoming separation anxiety in your dog. Still, toys and enrichment can sometimes be used to help overcome your dog’s separation anxiety.
The Behavior Has Been Encouraged
It’s essential to start working on your dog’s nibbling when they are puppies because any encouragement of nibbling on clothing can be hard to undo later.
Even if you don’t want to be disciplinary when your dog is nibbling on clothing, redirecting them to a different nibble object can be an excellent way to help your dog deal with this urge.
If you have encouraged nibbling in the past, it’s essential to be patient with your dog as you make the rules change. It will take your dog a little longer to re-learn good habits after they’ve been encouraged to nibble clothing, just like any bad behavior.
Your Dog Wants To Play
Your dog might start nibbling your clothes because they are bored and are trying to get you to play. This can be similar to when two dogs are playing together, and they start playfully nipping and nibbling at one another’s fur.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a good way for your dog to signal that they want to play, so it’s important not to indulge them when they ask this way. If you do, you’re likely encouraging the nibbling behavior.
What Does Dog Nibbling Mean
Dog nibbling can stem from a lot of different needs in your dog. They might be nibbling because they are teething, their teeth hurt, or even because they need a dental cleaning. Your dog may also be asking for attention, signaling that they are hungry, or just bored and looking for something to do.
It’s essential to pay attention to your particular dog to try and figure out why they are nibbling at any particular moment. Once you’ve got a good sense of your dog’s habits, it will be easier to tell why they are starting to nibble at any given time.
Why Do Dogs Nibble On Things
Nibbling is a very instinctual behavior for your dog. Your dog’s ancestors would have nibbled, and bit bones for more nutrition, and chewing other things like branches and animal hides could be both entertaining, soothing, and a way to mark territory.
Today most dogs don’t need to nibble since they get complete nutrition from their food, don’t need to mark pack territory the same way, and have plenty of toys to play with.
That’s why it’s generally thought that nibbling is typically an anxious behavior or a dog seeking comfort for something. Your dog’s nibbling while teething is partially just a natural reaction to teething, but it’s also your dog trying to self-soothe from the pain and discomfort of teething.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Nibble Your Clothes
It’s very normal for your dog to want to nibble on your clothes, but most owners try to train their dog out of this behavior.
Mouthing behavior is less normal if your dog is biting you more than nibbling. That can quickly become a more aggressive behavior in your dog.
Why Does My Dog Bite My Clothes
Clothes are a safe in-between for dogs that want your attention but don’t want to nip your skin. It can also just have a soothing texture and help address some of the needs that make your dog nibble and mouth things in the first place.
Plus, your clothing smells like you and might remind them of you. That’s why sometimes your dog will nibble and mouth your clothing when you aren’t wearing it. That’s likely the reason if your dog prefers to pull dirty clothing out of the laundry instead of nibbling on clean clothes.
Why Does My Dog Only Chew My Clothes?
Chances are if your dog is chewing a specific person’s clothing preferentially, whether it’s yours, your kid’s, or anyone else, they’re doing it because they miss that person or want to spend more time with them or play with them.
This is a common sign of separation anxiety.
What To Do If A Dog Bites Clothes And Won’t Let Go
The first thing is don’t react. If a dog bites your clothing and won’t let go, they’re likely looking for a reaction. Your dog should let go of the clothing after no more than a few minutes if you don’t give them attention for holding on.
If they don’t release your clothing after a few minutes, see if someone can help you distract the dog with something else. Call their name or use a toy to redirect the attention.
Once the dog has let go of your clothing, take them to their kennel or a room where you can close the door safely for a while. Chances are your dog was overstimulated and needs a little while to calm down. More importantly, giving them a ton of attention at that moment is likely to encourage them to repeat the behavior.
Spend a while away from the dog so they can calm down and then come back and makeup. You can give your dog more attention or play after taking them out of their kennel, but be careful not to pay too much attention to your dog while they are in the kennel.