Why Does My Dog Bite My Nose? (Play Nibbles Can Be Dangerous)


You may have started to notice that your dog has started trying to nibble on your nose as of late. It’s never aggressive – it’s usually just playful little nibbles with the front teeth and a quick lick!

A lot of dogs do this, but many owners aren’t quite sure of the reasons why. Up until recently, we didn’t know either! That’s why we had a discussion with some professionals to give you the low down about why your dog bites your nose. We’ve also done a little bit of research to bring you this comprehensive guide.

So, why exactly has your dog developed a taste for your nose? Well, it’s usually because they’re trying to get you to notice them! Sometimes it can be a sign that your dog is looking to have some play time with you. By biting your nose, your dog is telling you that the game is most certainly afoot! In particularly young dogs, nose nibbling can also be a sign that your pup is teething. 

It can be easy to view these little nibbles as a way that your dog is showing you their love. It’s a lot like what your dog would do to a brother or sister, or other puppies in general.

This can seem pretty adorable when your dog is still small, but it can become a huge issue when your dog gets older. An Alaskan Malamute may try to nibble your nose and they may not realize that it can hurt. It can be incredibly dangerous when an adult dog bites your nose, and it’s an even bigger risk around small children. 

There are a number of different reasons why your dog may bite your nose. As a result, we’re going to explore all of the different reasons why a dog may nibble on your nose, in addition to some ways that you can stop them from doing it in the future. 

Dog bites nose

Why Is My Dog Trying to Nibble My Nose?

Your dog may be trying to nibble or lick your nose for a wide range of different reasons. Here are just a few.

1. To Make You Play

If you’ve watched dogs playing with each other, you may have noticed that they will try and bite one another. It will usually be on the ears and the neck, and it’s rarely very hard. Your dog is essentially trying to do the same thing with you.

The main reason that they do this is because they are trying to get you to play with them. Dogs tend to start doing this when they are really young. They’ll give their play pals little nibbles to begin the game, or sometimes it may be a way to get the dog to give in to them.

2. Teething 

Little puppies can be troublesome to deal with, especially when they’re nibbling you! If your dog is still young then there’s a chance that they are teething, and they will try and find ways to make it less painful for them. Unfortunately for you, that may mean that they use your body as a chew toy. It’s a little bit like how a human baby will try and chew on things like teething rings when their teeth are first coming in.

If it’s not your nose, your dog will instead try to chew on other things such as bones, table legs, toys and more. Your dog is much more likely to try and nibble on your nose if you tend to cuddle a lot or if they’re lying on your lap. Your dog will basically try to chew anything that’s within their reach.

It’s always better to stop your dog if they’re using you as their own personal chew toy. It’s a really bad idea to get your dog to come close to your face, and it can create some serious issues later on. If your dog’s teeth are hurting as they come in, you can buy a chew toy specifically for puppies online to help your dog. 

Now, it’s important to note that your dog is likely past the teething stage after 8 months of age. If your dog is older than this then the chances are that it is no longer teething. 

You should remember that puppies like to explore with their mouths and noses when they are young. It’s how they start to investigate the world around them. Perhaps your dog is trying to find a way to talk to you and they’re trying to do a little bit of detective work on you. They want to know what you smell and taste like! It’s best to discourage this with a teething toy if you can.

3. They Want Attention 

Your dog wants your undivided love and attention, and they want it now. If your dog is ready for a little bit of love, they may do anything they can in order to get it. Sometimes, your dog may urinate on you to get you to notice them. Other times, they’ll exhibit other behaviors, such as bringing toys to you or barking at you. Your dog will always find a way to get your attention – he’s pretty crafty! 

A dog may also try to nibble on your nose in order to get you to notice them and love them. Sometimes it’s just because they’re bored and have nothing to do,or they’re just feeling in the mood for some TLC.

There are also some other things that your dog may do in order to get you to pay attention to them. For instance, they may try to:

  • Walk near you – Your dog can be a real tripping hazard when they want attention. They may get caught up under your feet if they want you to pay attention to them.
  • Look intently at their leash – If your dog is gazing longingly at their leash, they may be trying to tell you that it’s time for a little bit of exercise! On other occasions, it can be because your dog wants some attention. They may also start getting noisy near to their lead.
  • Bring you their toys – Dogs love their toys, and they want to share that love with you! Sometimes your dog will try to get your attention by bringing you their toys. They may bring all of their toys at once, at which point you need to get the hint that they’re asking you to play! 
  • Nibble your nose – Naturally, nose nibbling is another common way that your dog may be asking you for attention. It is usually effective too, since you pay attention to them when you get hurt by little dog bites! They may also nibble other parts of your body.

4. Overexcitement

You’ve finally taken the hint: your dog wants a bit of attention. You’ll bite – you start to take some time to play with your dog, indulging in a little bit of rough play, when all of a sudden you feel a sharp nip on your nose. Yep, it’s your dog!

This is a pretty good sign that your dog is very excited. They may not even realize that what they are doing is wrong since they’re just so excited. This can be a bad habit for your dog, but it’s often involuntary.

Sometimes your dog may nip you when you get home, or they may try to bite your little one on the nose when they come home because they’re just so excited. It’s not great for you or the baby, to say the least! You may have a few tears in the house, in addition to the pain. Dogs can do some crazy things when they’re excited, so it’s important to calm them down.

5. The Behavior Has Been Reinforced

Nibbling or biting can often seem adorable from small dogs. For this reason, you may not have an issue with your dog giving you a little nibble. Perhaps you’ve even rewarded him by giving him some treats, or you’ve given him a lot of attention afterwards.

The problem? Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. If you show your dog that this behavior is okay, they are going to continue to do it. Eventually, your dog may end up nibbling at your next door neighbor. Even worse, your dog is a big dalmatian. That can seriously hurt. The bites can even get more intense if your dog doesn’t get his own way when he bites. 

While it may seem adorable and it may be because your dog is showing you some love, it’s best to discourage this behavior. It can get out of hand very easily, so it’s best to stop it before it gets to that point. 

How Do I Stop My Dog From Biting My Nose?

How Do I Stop My Dog From Biting My Nose?

It’s not a good idea to encourage your dog to bite your nose. Instead, you need to show them that this behavior is not a good thing.

Here are a few ways that you can stop your dog from his nose nibbling.

1. Getting Some Training

If your dog has started to exhibit unwanted behavior, it’s a good idea to get a professional dog trainer to help train your pet. In fact, professional training can be beneficial in general, especially if your dog is a puppy. If your dog starts to behave badly as he is older, then you can also enlist the help of a dog trainer later on too.

They’re experts for a reason – dog trainers know what they’re doing. They can help to ensure that your dog behaves well. 

2. Reinforce Good Behavior

If your dog is displaying good behavior then you should reward them for that. If your dog is behaving badly then you need to discourage that. Make sure that you walk away from your dog whenever they try to chew on your nose. You should also remain silent while you walk away. Eventually, your dog will realize that you aren’t responding because the behavior is unacceptable. 

3. Give Them Toys

If your dog has acceptable things to chew on then they will be much less likely to try to nibble you. Make sure that your dog has plenty of toys even when they are a puppy. This will help if your dog is destructive too, since it will give your dog something else to focus on.

4. Give Them Plenty of Love

Your dog is probably biting you because they want attention. They love to experience your love, so they’re trying to make sure that they get it. To sate your dog’s desires, spend plenty of time playing with them, giving them affection and walking them. This will make them much less likely to nibble you or to display other unwanted behaviors.

It’s always important that your dog knows that he can’t get constant attention. If your dog feels loved though they aren’t going to try and behave badly to get your love.

Conclusion

You may feel very loved when your puppy or small dog nibbles on your nose, but they’re not the kind of behavior that you should be encouraging. Your dog is looking for a reaction, so discouraging the behavior and addressing the root cause is the best course of action. You should always train your dog not to engage in this behavior early on. 

Eventually, a puppy will start to think that it’s okay to behave this way. As such, it can cause issues later on. There will be times when this behavior is absolutely not okay, such as when you have guests over or when there are young children around.

Your dog usually isn’t being malicious when he bites you on the nose, but it’s better safe than sorry. It’s best to train your dog not to bite your nose. For instance, you can get a dog trainer to come in and help you to train your dog, or you can use reinforcement to ensure that your dog directs his attention towards other things instead.

Your dog can show you that they love you in many more ways, most of which are far more acceptable. Why not encourage those behaviors instead? 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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