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840 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  hanksimon
So, my newly adopted amstaf/ lab mix is always excited (as expected) to see me come home and i'll never turn down a puppy kiss or hug but she also likes to playfully nibble on my hands, arms and especially ears. I have a feeling this is just her way of showing me affection, she doesn't do it to anybody else who comes through the door. Is this behavior i should stem? Sometimes she gets very enthusiastic about grabbing onto my coat sleeve and nearly pulling it off of me.

It's not painful in any way and I can tell that she's holding back all of her jaw power, just to put a little pressure on me.
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I would stop the behavior. It is a good thing that she is being gentle about it, but its a bad habit for a dog to nibble- especially a large or "scary" dog. If she does it with strangers, it can be misinterpreted as aggression biting and of course, even with you she might mess up your clothing or accidentally scrape you.

there are several stickies and mentions in threads; read 'the bite stops here" and search for "bite inhibition"

One tactic is to encourage the dog to lick you to show her playfulness rather than nibble. She still gets to have that contact with you but in a gentler, safer manner.
I agree with Shell - be careful about nibbling. Pits have a 'grooming' type of behavior that I would describe as nibbling, and seems to tickle, rather than be like nipping. It is very different than nipping clothes. So here's a suggestion:
1. You must teach a Lab/Pit Bite Inhibition, b/c either breed can do significant damage during play when they get excited - kids scream and run around, they get bitten by an excited dog, owners get sued, dog gets put down.
2. However, if you understand the process, you can try to discriminate and focus on all biting, nipping, pulling, except for the nibbling. But any time the dog gets excited and nibbling turns to nipping, you have to stop that.
3. Even when gentle, soft-mouthed dog, the strong recommendation for Bite Inhibition is b/c an injured, surprise, or excited can bite down to the bone... however, a dog with Bite Inhibition will rarely break the skin, even in emergency situations....
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