When my husky was young it would regularly nibble on me when touching it and I wondered why it was doing it and if I should make it stop. So, I did some research and I have compiled my findings into this post.
So, why do huskies nibble? When huskies are young they will explore the world with their mouths before their eyes even begin to open. When you put your hands near them it is a natural instinct that they have to nibble on your hands.
Even though nibbling in huskies is normal when they are younger than 5 months old, you should still take the time to get them out of the habit so that they don’t continue to do it when they’re older.
Why Huskies Nibble
There are actually a number of reasons that your husky could be nibbling on you and before anything else you should consider why it is doing it.
Before huskies are even able to open their eyes they will begin to explore the world using their noses and mouths. This means that you shouldn’t be overly concerned if your husky likes to smell your hands and to nibble on them since it is how they are designed to interact with the world from an early age.
For the most part, when huskies nibble when young, it is due to their nature. Despite
Perhaps you’re holding it in a way that is uncomfortable or it might be that something is hurting it. If this is the case then the biting will probably be accompanied by other things such as growling. If you think that your husky is doing it due to discomfort then you should consider taking it to a vet where they can diagnose any physical issues that it might be having.
Related: Why doesn’t my husky bark?
Huskies are very social and active dogs that require a lot of exercise daily. Siberian huskies originated in harsh conditions and were bred to pull sleds, in the snow, for hours every day. This means that, if your not giving your husky a lot of exercise, then it will likely become restless. When it is becoming restless it will probably be more inclined to nibble.
Related: Why does my husky howl?
Huskies are generally very friendly dogs that are very excitable. When they become excited it is common for them to nibble (and lick) especially on your hands. This means that you may want to remain slightly calmer when interacting with the husky in order to reduce its emotional response.
Related: Why does my dog nibble?
Even though huskies are generally very friendly dogs the nibbling could be due to aggression that you will want to stop immediately. Nibbling due to aggression can be harder to diagnose but the biting will normally be quicker and more painful than playful nibbling.
If you think that your husky could be nibbling out of aggression then you should get outside help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB).
How To Stop The Nipping
Huskies will normally learn to reduce the strength of their bite when they are young. When they bite another puppy too hard it will normally yelp and stop playing. This tells the biter that it was too hard and not to do it again. If you don’t take the time to tell the puppy that it’s biting too hard then it could continue into adulthood. It could also bite on things around the house.
Stop giving attention
Often the most effective method to stop the husky from nibbling is to stop giving it attention when it starts to nibble. When doing this you shouldn’t give it any reaction including a negative one since if it’s nibbling for attention even a negative reaction would be giving it what it wants.
Instead, you should just give it no attention until it stops nibbling and
Getting your husky to become used to your hands from an early age will help to desensitize it from your touch. This will help to stop it from exploring what your hands are like when it becomes older.
Another aspect to this is to touch it a bit more firmly and regularly since this will allow it to get used to you being physical with it and to learn that it’s ok.
Imitate a puppy’s yelp
Husky puppies will generally learn how powerfully to nibble at an early age since when they nibble too hard the other puppy will yelp and stop giving it attention. You can imitate this behavior by saying “Ow!” and then not give it attention for a few moments.
Give it something else to chew on
When you find something that it likes to chew on
You’ll also want to give it lots of things to nibble on so that it doesn’t start nibbling other things that you don’t want it to such as chairs or curtains.
Distract it when petting
Give it the opportunity to play with other dogs
By giving your husky the opportunity to play with other dogs it will be able to learn to control its bite based on the reactions of the other dogs. It will also give it exercise that will reduce its boredom and prevent it from nibbling for attention.
Use a taste deterrent
If the other tips don’t appear to be working you could consider using a taste deterrent that you spray on areas that you don’t want the husky to nibble. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t prevent the husky from wanting to do the nibbling so you should try to do the other tips first.
Give it lots of exercise
Since huskies are very active dogs it will be necessary for you to give it lots of exercise. If you don’t give it lots of exercise then it will start to look for its own entertainment which might not be the type of entertainment that you want it to be getting.
Reward good behavior
Give it a treat for doing something that you tell it to such as laying down or sitting. This will teach it to listen to you. If it gets into the habit of doing what you say then it will naturally do that when it greets you instead of biting you.
Use a trainer
If you still haven’t been able to get your husky to stop nibbling on you then you should consider getting a professional trainer to help you. Getting your husky to stop nibbling on your from an early age would be worthwhile since you sill get it used to your command and you will be able to prevent bad behaviours when it is older.
Things to consider
When getting your husky to reduce its nibbling there are some things that you should keep in mind which I will mention below.
Don’t give it the opportunity to nibble
By reducing the opportunities that your husky has to nibble on things that you don’t want it to you will be able to prevent it from learning to nibble on those things. This doesn’t mean to prevent it from nibbling completely. You will still want to give it lots of toys that it can nibble on.
Avoid sudden movements when it nibbles
A quick emotional reaction could cause the husky to nibble more since it could seem like a game and encourage it to become more active. Instead, you can slowly move the hand away and make it less fun to play with.
Physical punishment won’t be helpful
Physical punishment may make it bite harder or lead to aggression. It can also lead to other behavioral issues.
Dogs can continue to nip regularly right up until they’re 5 months old. Curbing the behavior can take from a couple of days up to a couple of months.
Why does my husky growl at me? There could be a lot of reasons for it to growl. It could be trying to get you to give it attention, it could be warning you of danger or it could even be warning you to back away. If it’s something that is concerning you then consider getting help from a dog behavoiurist.
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