If your dog has been nibbling on your other dog a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog nibble on my other dog? Possible reasons why your dog nibbles your other dog are that it is playing, it is actually being submissive, it does it naturally, or that it is being dominant.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog might have been doing it and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog nibbles on your other dog

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.

It is playing

It could be the case that your dog does it because it is actually just playing. This would be more likely if your dog shows signs of excitement when doing it such as by doing things such as wagging its tail. In this case, it could help to give it other things to play with such as toys.

Dominance

Often, people jump to the conclusion that their dogs do it because they are trying to be dominant. However, the alpha/beta dynamic has been disproven in studies showing that wolves take turns in taking the lead.

Despite that, it could be doing it due to bullying behavior which would be more likely if your dog does it aggressively, it tries to make your other dog move, and if it shows signs of aggression when doing it. In this case, it would help to get it to learn to behave the way you want it to with training programs such as NLIF (“Nothing in Life is Free) dog training

Encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it nibbles your other dog, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Boredom

A part of the cause could be that it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if your dog does it less after getting exercise. In this case, it would help to give it the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Nature

Dogs will sometimes nibble each other as a way of social bonding. If your dog does not nibble your other dog aggressively, it would be more likely that your dog has been doing it due to nature.

Submission

Another possible cause is that it is actually being submissive. Sometimes, dogs will groom other dogs when they are being submissive as a way of showing that they are not a threat to the other dog. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when your other dog is aggressive. In this case, it could help to try to separate them.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog always did it

If your dog did not always nibble your other dog, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior gets rewarded or that something caused your dog to start being aggressive such as being in pain.

If it does it more at a certain time

It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog does it since the timing might also have something to do with it.

For example, if your dog does it when the other dog is being aggressive, it would be more likely to be submissive behavior.

What to do about your dog nibbling on your other dog

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want and to try to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to try to redirect your dog’s focus when it is about to nibble your other dog. Ways to do so would be to give it toys or a bone to be distracted with or to get it to perform a task.

Give the other dog a place it can go to

Another option would be to give your other dog another place that it can go to so that it can get away from your dog when it starts nibbling.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.