Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Have you ever woken up in the morning with your dog gently nibbling on your hair? His lips are pulled back and his front teeth closed as he is happily chewing on your hair.
You may be wondering why your dog cobbing your hair, and what should you do about it. Let’s talk more about this curious behavior.
What is Cobbing?
Simply put, cobbing is an instinctive behavior in dogs to nibble at things. Dogs peel back their upper and lower lips, their teeth together as they nibble on something. It could be themselves, you, other dogs or cats, or objects such as blankets and toys.
The term cobbing comes from the fact that it resembles nibbling on a corn cob. Cobbing is also sometimes called the pibble nibble.
Puppies like to play and explore the world, and in particular, they enjoy cobbing. They often learn this behavior when in a group with other puppies, having fun and playing by softly nibbling each other. It helps them to teethe and it’s part of their socialization process.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Chew Your Hair
Understanding why dogs exhibit certain behaviors, like when your dog nibbles or bites your hair, can seem daunting. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons why your dog may chew your hair.
Believe it or not, dogs might nibble on your hair as a way of relieving stress and anxiety. This behavior can provide a form of distraction and comfort to a stressed or anxious dog.
Separation anxiety is a common reason why dogs may start to nibble on things that are not food, like your hair. If your dog is often left alone or gets stressed easily, they might use nibbling as a way to manage their emotions.
If you suspect your furry friend is nibbling due to stress, redirect your dog’s focus towards chew toys and provide them with plenty of exercise and playtime to alleviate their anxiety.
Mother dogs often use their front teeth to gently nibble their puppies as a form of grooming and affection. Adult dogs can extend this behavior to their human ‘family’, and this might be the case when your dog chews on your hair.
It could be that your dog is using the action of chewing as a way of grooming you, similar to how another dog might. However, it’s important to monitor this behavior as hair could cause an intestinal blockage if your dog ends up eating too much of it.
Another possible reason behind your dog playing with your hair is that he may be trying to get your attention. Dogs often use their mouths to play, and if your dog is nibbling on your hair, they might be asking for your attention and interaction.
If this is the case, training your dog to use a toy instead for attention could help stop your dog from biting your hair. Give them plenty of attention when they use the toy, reinforcing the idea that they don’t need to start biting your hair to get you to notice them.
Finally, dogs may also be drawn to the appealing smell of hair products. This might be due to certain scents in your hair that the dog finds attractive. It could be trying to get a taste or smell of your hair, which might explain why your dog chews or licks it.
Your dog could like the taste of your shampoo or conditioner, making them obsessed with biting your hair. If you suspect this is the case, consider switching to unscented hair products to discourage your dog from biting or chewing your hair.
Should I Stop My Dog From Biting My Hair?
Yes, you should train your dog to stop biting your hair. While the act of your dog licking and chewing on your hair can be endearing, there may be potential risks if it becomes a habit.
Eating hair could cause an intestinal blockage, especially in small dogs, and some hair products can be harmful if ingested. Here are the steps you can take to address this issue.
Identify the Cause
Before you can stop your dog from biting your hair, you need to understand the reason behind the behavior. Is it a sign of affection, an attempt to get your attention, or does your dog simply like the taste of your hair products?
Once you’ve identified the cause, you can tailor your response accordingly.
Redirect His Attention
One of the most effective methods to stop your dog from biting your hair is to redirect their attention. Offer a chew toy or engage them in a game when they start biting your hair.
This gives your dog something else to focus on and helps them understand what they are allowed to chew on.
Use Verbal Cues
Training your dog to respond to verbal cues can be very helpful. A firm “No” or “Stop” when they start biting your hair can make them understand that the behavior is unacceptable.
Remember to use a stern but calm voice, as shouting or aggressive tones could cause fear or anxiety.
Time-Out for 10 Minutes
A time-out can also work for some dogs. When your dog starts chewing on your hair, calmly remove them from the situation and give them a short time-out.
This break helps them associate biting your hair with a negative outcome, discouraging the behavior.
Reward Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is always a good strategy. Whenever your dog resists the temptation to chew your hair or responds positively to your cues, reward them with praise, a treat, or a favorite toy.
This reinforcement will motivate your dog to repeat the good behavior.
Consult a Professional
If you’ve tried all these methods and your dog continues to chew your hair, it may be time to take your dog to a professional. A certified dog trainer or a veterinarian can provide additional strategies based on your dog’s specific needs and behavior patterns.
In some cases, your dog’s hair chewing may be indicative of a deeper issue, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.
Our canine companions can sometimes surprise us with peculiar habits, like chewing on our hair. While this might seem cute and harmless, understanding the reasons behind such behaviors is essential to ensure the well-being of our pets.
From stress relief and grooming to attention-seeking and the allure of certain scents, a variety of factors could be behind your dog’s fascination with your hair. It’s crucial to identify the cause and take appropriate steps to manage this behavior, from redirection and verbal cues to rewarding good behavior.
If these strategies don’t curb the hair-chewing habit, seeking professional advice can provide further assistance. Remember, patience and consistency are key in helping your dog navigate their world safely and happily.