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Why does my Labrador nibble?

Why does my Labrador nibble?

If your Labrador has been nibbling a lot you might be wondering why and what you can do to get it to stop.

This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Labrador nibble? Possible reasons are that it is looking for attention, it is teething, inadvertently rewarding the behavior or a lack of training.

There are many different reasons why it might be nibbling a lot and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to understand exactly why it does it. There are also a number of options you have when getting it to stop.

Why your Labrador nibbles

Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might nibble you and what would make them more likely to be the reason.

It wants attention

The cause could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it a lot of attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.

Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it and exercising it. However, it would also help to avoid rewarding it with attention by ignoring it when it nibbles and waiting for it to calm down before giving it attention again.

It hasn’t been trained not to

If you have not given your Labrador a lot of training it will not know how it is supposed to behave and it will behave the way that it feels like. The way it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way you would like it to behave which is why it is important to train it to behave the way you want it to.

It’s teething

The reason why it has been nibbling on you could also be that it is teething which would be more likely if it is a puppy and if it has started nibbling on other things as well. In this case, it would help to give it lots of other things to chew on such as toys. It would also help to start giving it lots of training now so that it learns how to behave as an adult.

Excitement

The cause could also be that it is excited which would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you arrive home or when you’re about to walk it. In this case, you could try waiting for it to calm down before giving it what it wants.

You have inadvertently reinforced it

It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to nibble by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things like toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it will likely do it more.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved, to stop rewarding it when it starts nibbling and to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it again.

Things to consider

If it has always done it

If your Labrador has not always nibbled you, it would help to consider what else happened when it started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.

If it did start doing it suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as teething or learning that it gets rewards when it does it.

What is different when it doesn’t nibble

It would also help to consider whether or not it does it more at certain times since it could also be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it tends to do it more when you come home then it would be more likely to be due to excitement or that it is doing it for the extra attention it gets when doing it.

How to stop your Labrador from nibbling you

Below are some things you can do to get it to stop nibbling on you.

Train it not to

One option would be to use positive reinforcement training so that it learns that nibbling you does not result in it getting rewards it wants.

To use it to get your Labrador to stop nibbling, you would:

  • Stand up, turn away, and hide your arms when it starts biting them leaving the room if necessary.
  • Wait a few moments and then go back to giving it attention and then turning away again if it starts biting
  • Repeat the above until it learns that biting causes it to lose your attention
  • Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well

You can watch the video below to see more on how to get your Labrador to stop biting with positive reinforcement training along with more tips.

Avoid negatively reinforcing it

It would also help to avoid rewarding the behavior so that you do not train it to do it more. Instead, it would help to stop rewarding it with attention when it nibbles you and to reward it when it calms down and then to stop rewarding it again if it starts nibbling again.

Give it distractions

In addition to the things mentioned above, you could also give it things to be distracted by. This would be especially helpful if it is in the teething phase. Things you could give it would be chews, bones or toys.

Get help from a dog behaviorist

If you cannot get it to stop or it has been doing it aggressively, consider getting the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to see how to train it to stop safely.

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