Why do dogs chew on legs

Why is the dog nibbling at me?

Anyone who takes a closer look at the behavior of dogs will quickly find out how much can be read from their body language and individual behaviors. From yawning to sneezing to barking, there are innumerable signals that dogs use to communicate with each other and with their owners.

Occasionally, this also includes careful nibbling. In the following, we will explain what this means and whether you should give your four-legged friend a break from this behavior.

Key facts at a glance

  • Dogs have a natural chewing instinct that can occasionally take over due to stress and stress.
  • Light nibbling is a sign of affection and is used, among other things, for grooming each other.
  • Snapping or pinching your teeth is an absolute taboo for dogs and should therefore be prevented.

Dogs have a natural instinct to chew

It is in the nature of dogs to chew on objects. This behavior is particularly pronounced in some dogs. In addition, boredom and stress can cause this instinctive habit to intensify in your four-legged friend.

With needs-based utilization and suitable chewing opportunities such as chews and chew toys, you can ensure that behavior does not get out of hand and that your four-legged friend does not destroy any furnishings or other possessions.

Nibbling as a token of affection

As a rule, however, the dog's nibbling on its owner has nothing to do with its chewing instinct. Instead, it is usually a sign of affection.

This behavior can sometimes also be observed among dogs. There, careful nibbling serves to strengthen one's rank within the pack as well as to calm down and groom. Normally, lower-ranking animals nibble on their superordinate conspecifics.

Therefore, if your dog nibbles on you gently without hurting you, you can see his behavior as a compliment. The four-legged friend just wants to show you that he likes you and tries to take care of your “fur” by nibbling.

When dog nibbling becomes a problem

Normally, a dog's nibbling is unproblematic and not painful. However, if the four-legged friend snaps a little tighter, it will of course look different. After all, depending on the breed, dogs have enormous biting force with which they can quickly cause serious injuries.

Clenching or snapping your teeth firmly is therefore a behavior that you absolutely must not ignore. Stop this behavior immediately and investigate its cause as soon as possible.

Especially with very demanding dog breeds, such as the Malinois, this behavior is often a sign of being under-challenged. Activities like dog sports can help counteract this. Under certain circumstances, however, you may well need the help of a dog trainer to get your dog used to pinching their teeth.


As you can see, careful nibbling in dogs is a perfectly normal behavior that your four-legged friend uses to show you his affection. As long as he doesn't hurt you and it doesn't bother you, you can let him do it without hesitation.

Harder pinching, on the other hand, should be prevented as well as indiscriminate chewing on objects that are not intended for this purpose. A needs-based utilization, enough attention and permitted alternatives such as chews or chew toys can help in this situation. However, if necessary, don't hesitate to seek advice from an experienced dog trainer either.

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