Why do dogs rub their teeth on you?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Dogs rubbing their teeth on you, also known as grooming nibble, can have several reasons behind it. One of the most common reasons is that it is a form of affectionate behavior. Dogs have a natural instinct to groom themselves and others as a way of bonding and showing love. By nibbling on you gently with their incisors, they are mimicking the grooming behavior they would use with their pack members in the wild.

This grooming nibble is often seen as a sign of trust and comfort. Dogs who engage in this behavior are typically relaxed and content in your presence. It is their way of expressing their affection and forming a strong bond with you.

It is important to note that not all dogs exhibit this behavior. It can vary from individual to individual based on their personality and past experiences. Some dogs may have been taught not to nibble or may not feel comfortable doing so.

If your dog does engage in grooming nibble, it is crucial to respond appropriately. While it may be tempting to discourage the behavior, it is important to remember that it is a form of affection and trust. Instead of pushing your dog away or scolding them, you can redirect their behavior to a more appropriate alternative, such as petting or offering a chew toy.

However, if the grooming nibble becomes excessive or uncomfortable, it is essential to set boundaries and communicate your discomfort to your dog. You can do this by calmly and firmly saying “no” and redirecting their attention to another activity.

In my personal experience, I have had a dog who would frequently engage in grooming nibble. He would gently nibble on my hand or arm when we were cuddling or relaxing together. It always felt like a loving gesture and made me feel closer to him. I would simply redirect his behavior by offering him a chew toy or a bone to nibble on instead.

Dogs may rub their teeth on you as a form of grooming nibble, which is an affectionate behavior. It is a way for them to show trust, bonding, and love towards you. It is important to understand and appreciate this behavior while setting appropriate boundaries if needed.