Why Do Pit Bulls Nibble? 6 Reasons and How to Stop It

Pitbulls, particularly when they are pups, have a tendency to nibble or cob with their front teeth. 

Puppies learn to nibble as a group and enjoy playing together by delicately nibbling on each other. If the puppy has no siblings or companions to nibble on, you will most probably become its next target. 

Many Pit Bulls often wonder about the reasons behind the dog’s tendency to nibble.

So, why do Pit Bulls nibble? Pit Bulls nibble for various reasons. For example, it could be seeking attention, showing affection, self-grooming, self-soothing, trying to explore, or underlying health concerns. This nibbling tendency in Pit Bulls will frequently occur on humans, blankets, and favorite toys. 

Keep on reading to understand more about the reasons why your Pitbull nibbles and ways to deal with it.

Why Do Pit Bulls Nibble?

a photo of a Pit Bull nibbling on a toy to show why Pit Bulls nibble

Pit Bulls tend to nibble on things more when they’re puppies – like all dogs do. However, this behavior might persist as they become adults if not corrected in the proper way and at the proper time. 

Excessive nibbling is considered an undesirable behavior, so it’s important to understand the reason behind the dog’s behavior in order to prevent it from happening. You can’t fix the root issue if you don’t know what it even is, right?

So, here are the common reasons why Pit Bulls nibble:

Seeking Attention

One of the main reasons why your Pit Bull might nibble on you is that it’s seeking your attention and wants to play with you.

Pit Bull puppies nibble on their possible playmates in a friendly, caring manner. So, if your Pit Bull starts to nibble on your clothes while shaking its tail in a playful stance, then this is a sign that it wishes to play with you.

Pitbulls get really attached to their owners, and behaviors like nibbling can show that your dog is either not getting enough attention and time with you or they are getting too attached to you, which is a bad thing. You can learn more about how to recognize and handle velcro Pitbulls here.

Showing Affection

If you look at the news and their exterior, you may think that Pit Bulls are serious, tough dogs, but the truth is quite different. Pitbulls are actually very affectionate and loving with their families, and they show this in any way they can.

Gentle nibbling is one of the common ways Pit Bulls show their affection for you. 

If your Pit Bull softly nibbles you while snuggled up in a hug, that’s how they indicate how much they appreciate you and being with you.


Whenever a Pit Bull nibbles on itself, it is usually to clean or groom itself. If they do it to groom themselves, you may want to increase their grooming and bathing frequency a bit. You can check out this guide to learn how often you should bathe your Pitbull.

If the Pit Bull starts nibbling on you, it could be its way of grooming you and taking care of you.


Pit Bulls often nibble on items like toys or blankets as a way to soothe themselves whenever they’re restless, anxious, or in pain. It is more common in teething pups, but it can also occur in adults.

In moderation, this is a completely normal activity, but it might escalate to become more excessive and impulsive.

Trying to Explore

Pit Bulls are often intrigued by their surroundings, especially when they’re puppies. There are many differences between human babies and young puppies, but they are very similar in how they explore the world around them at the beginning of their lives; they will try to fit everything into their mouths if they can.

A puppy’s mouth is one of the most important tools for exploring and learning about its environment. 

Nibbling is one of the actions Pit Bull puppies do to learn about the many items, sensations, and tastes in their surroundings.

Health Problems

Some nibbles by your Pitbull are caused by health problems. Your Pitbull’s excessive or compulsive nibbling might be caused by both physical and psychological issues.

Pit Bulls with dental problems may try to reduce their pain by nibbling on anything they come across. Meanwhile, Pit Bulls who nibble on themselves may be allergic to something or injured. 

Make sure to examine your Pit Bull for rashes, blisters, redness, and other symptoms of skin conditions when they nibble themselves excessively. You can check out my guide to rashes, hives, and skin problems on Pitbulls here.

If you notice any symptoms in your Pit Bull or can’t determine the reasons for its nibbling, it’s highly recommended to take your dog to a vet to get a diagnosis and the necessary treatment.

How to Stop Your Pit Bull From Nibbling?

It is fine to let your Pitbull nibble on you occasionally. When it’s a pleasant expression of affection, your Pitbull’s nibbles can be really charming. 

However, at a certain point, the dog’s tendency to nibble will become too excessive, and you will need to take some action to stop this kind of behavior.

So, so here are some steps you can follow to stop your Pit Bull from nibbling:

Offer a Distraction

One of the most effective methods to stop your Pit Bull from nibbling on you or your belongings is offering a distraction.

 When your Pitbull starts to nibble, divert their attention to one of their favorite toys, food, or another activity.

The aim is to either prevent your Pit Bull from nibbling a particular person or object or to completely eliminate the habit.

Chew toys in particular work very well, and there are plenty of good options to choose from.

Here are two very good options;

KONG Rubber Ball Extreme

The KONG Rubber Ball Extreme performs similarly to a tennis ball, providing your dog with the same type of jaw-satisfying enjoyment, and is durable enough to last.


  • The diameter of a 3-inch ball is somewhat greater than that of a tennis ball.
  • Built to withstand hours of eating, chasing, and catching.
  • The ball bounces quite nicely, providing hours of fetching entertainment.
  • Made in the United States

Goughnuts Maxx 50 Stick

Goughnuts make a variety of extremely durable chew toys, with the Maxx 50 Stick being the most durable.

The Maxx 50 Stick, like other Goughnuts chew toys, has a special two-color alert system that enables owners to know whenever the toy should be replaced. 

Your dog can still use the toy as far as only green or black is visible, but if red is visible, the object must no longer be deemed safe.


  • The Maxx 50 Stick floats, making it an ideal toy for the swimming
  • Goughnut’s basic chew toys are made with 50% more carbon for greater durability.
  • The Maxx 50 stick is meant for large dogs, being 9 inches long and 2 inches thick.
  • Made in the USA


Next, make sure to reward your Pit Bull after diverting its attention and distracting it from nibbling.

Pitbulls have a strong desire to please and react well to praise and encouragement. 


It is critical to be consistent with any training in order to form desirable habits and eliminate bad ones. Inconsistency will confuse and halt your training progress.

So, if you truly want your Pitbull to quit doing something, be persistent in training them. 

When Do Pit Bulls stop Teething? 

Teething is one of the most difficult phases of any dog’s life, during which they develop many undesirable habits.

As mentioned before, nibbling is more common in teething Pit Bull puppies. So, it’s important to understand when Pit Bulls stop teething to determine if their nibbling tendency is normal.

The teething period for Pit Bulls starts when they’re at 8 weeks of age and last for about 5 to 6 months. They will first grow their baby teeth; then, they will lose those baby teeth to grow their adult teeth and molars.

Related Questions 

Can Pit Bulls Cause Injuries While Nibbling?

Pit Bulls cannot cause injuries while nibbling because nibbling doesn’t have the same force as biting. When Pit Bulls nibble, it won’t be strong enough to break the skin or do any serious damage.  It’s usually a way for Pit Bulls to show affection to others, not cause any harm.

How to Take Care of Your Pit Bull’s Teeth?

To take care of your Pit Bull’s teeth, you need to brush them regularly with a soft toothbrush. You also need to make sure that the toothpaste is suitable for dogs to prevent the dog’s gum from becoming irritated.

How to Tell That Your Pit Bull Is Teething?

You can tell that your Pit Bull is teething by looking out for certain symptoms such as excessive chewing and nibbling, swollen gums, bleeding, lack of appetite, drooling, and a mild fever. Teething also causes a lot of discomfort and pain for the dog.

Helpful Resources

Puppy Teething and Nipping: A Survival Guide

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