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Dog Bites Your Nose? Here's Why & What to Do

By Aviram K.
Published in Training & Behavior
July 27, 2021
4 min read
Dog Bites Your Nose? Here's Why & What to Do
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.
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You’re playing with your adorable pup; you two become excited, and things are getting more energetic.

You somehow find yourself laying on the floor among all this fun when suddenly your pup decides to bite your nose.

What a way to ruin the party. Why did they do that? Couldn’t they just keep playing normally?

If you are playing together, your dog could bite or nibble your nose because they are too excited. In other, calmer times, they do it to show affection, get attention, initiate play, and soothe teething pain. Fortunately, you can prevent them from doing this in the future with proper training.

In this article, I will delve deeper into why your dog may be biting or nibbling or nose and explain what you can do to prevent it in the future.

Let’s start.

Why Your Dog Bites Your Nose

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Some dog behaviors are pure instinct, but other behaviors dogs pick up from what they observe in their surroundings. Your dog biting your nose is a bit of both. There is little you can do other than help them find healthy outlets.

Here’s why your dog bites or nibbles your nose.

They Are Too Excited

If you’ve ever had an energetic play session with your dog involving running around, you’ve probably seen this first hand.

Dogs are quite similar to children; they sometimes have a hard time not giving in to their temptations. When you are in the midst of an engaging play session, your dog can’t help but get super excited.

When dogs get this excited, they may escalate to behaviors such as biting or nibbling a bit too hard.

They Are Trying to Initiate Play

Your dog can get bored just like you get bored.

If your dog doesn’t have anything more interesting to do, they may want you to play with them. It isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be annoying if you’re not in the mood.

Most dogs will usually ask you to play using more gentle ways, like placing one of their paws on you or staring at you. But, if you don’t comply, they may try more direct ways, like biting or nibbling on you.

They Seek Attention

Dogs are very social creatures. Most of them need lots of quality time together to satisfy that social urge within them.

If your dog senses they haven’t been given enough attention from you, they may try to seek it using unconventional ways.

When their more conventional ways of seeking attention fail, like bringing you a toy, staring at you, or vocalizing, they may turn to more direct ways. Biting on your nose is one of those ways.

They Want to Show Affection

Dogs don’t usually play-bite or nibble those who they don’t like.

Biting doesn’t have to come from a place of meaning harm. In most cases, it’s your dog trying to have fun or show affection.

Dogs bite and nibble on each other’s faces all the time, and especially when they are puppies. It’s also one of the ways they sometimes show affection.

But, unfortunately, they may assume you can handle this kind of treatment too, just like their canine buddy can. So, in turn, they may bite or nibble on your nose.

When puppies are still young, they may not know that biting hurts humans, so if they aren’t given corrections (from either their mom, littermates, or you), this behavior may persist into adulthood.

They Are Trying To Soothe Teething Pains

Puppies usually start getting their baby teeth at two weeks old, continuing until they are about 12 weeks old. At that stage, they start getting their adult teeth. It only ends at about 6-8 months of age.

When they are in the process of teething, their teeth may hurt a lot. So to soothe that teething pain, they usually try to bite and nibble on stuff, which is quite similar to human children.

You Encourage The Behavior

You may have thought it’s a little cute, and maybe you even laughed when your puppy bit your nose. But, unfortunately, this could have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.

In your dog’s mind, you responding somewhat positively to the bite is a green light to continuing to bite. They may then be more likely to do that in the future to seek attention from you.

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Your Nose

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Now that you know why your dog bites or nibbles or nose, you can more accurately choose the right path to preventing this in the future.

Don’t Get Your Dog Too Excited

Whether you are playing with your dog or doing something else, always be aware of your dog’s mental state.

If you see them get too excited, back off whatever you were doing and let them settle down. When they finally settle down, a few minutes after, you may resume what you were doing before.

Give Your Dog More Attention

If you are already giving your dog plenty of attention, you are doing a great job. As I said before, dogs are highly social creatures and thrive on human/dog contact.

Unfortunately, many of us can be too busy or occupied to give our dogs the attention they need. I’m guilty of this, too, at times.

Try to give your dog more attention during the day or when you return home from work, even if it’s for just a few minutes at a time.

It’s going to may a night and day difference for their wellbeing.

Remember, dogs who don’t get the attention from you in positive ways, such as playing with you, will most likely seek it by engaging in destructive behaviors.

Destroying your couch will most likely get them the attention they sought all this time. Even negative attention counts.

Provide Chewing Toys

Providing some chew toys or other toys your dog likes may help them alleviate some boredom without you.

Chewing is a self-reinforcing behavior, helps calm your dog down and may even help him maintain clean teeth.

My own dog, Oogie, loves his Petstages Antler and willingly chews it endlessly whenever I’m not available to pay attention to him.

If you have a teething puppy, make sure to get him a softer toy, preferably made of rubber, like this Nylabone Chill and Chew Toy, which you can also freeze to help soothe your dog’s growing teeth even better.

Discourage The Behavior

If your dog bites or nibbles on your nose, don’t respond in a good way. You don’t want to reinforce that behavior.

You may be okay with it, but if your dog bites on some child’s nose, it’s probably going to end up a lot messier and potentially get both of you into trouble.

Instead, if your dog bites on your nose, immediately withdraw any attention you’re giving them for a few seconds. When they settle, then you can return your attention to them.

Make sure you don’t hit your puppy, though.


Tags

Dog BehaviorsDog Training

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Table Of Contents

1

Why Your Dog Bites Your Nose

2

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Your Nose

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