What Is A Pibble Nibble? 7 Reasons Why Your PitBull Nibbles


cute pit bull puppy head tilt

The term Pibble is an affectionate term used to describe Pitbull type dogs. Lovers of these breeds, such as myself, feel that the loving, cute, and silly side of these amazing dogs are often overlooked. The Pibble Nibble is a behavior that many Pitbulls perform, and some people may find odd.

What is a Pibble Nibble? The Pibble Nibble is a soft nibbling behavior that many Pitbulls do using their front teeth. This behavior is a gentle nibbling that is often done on owners, blankets, and favorite toys. There are few reasons why a Ptibull nibbles, such as play, affection, and anxiety.

I myself own two Pitbull type dogs that have all done the Pibble nibble on more than one occasion. In this post I will go over the various reasons why your Pitbull nibbles and some tips to prevent the more unhealthy behaviors. The more you know about the Pibble nibble, the better you’ll understand your dog. Let’s dig in.

Why Does My Pit Bull Nibble?

There are a variety of reasons why your Pit Bull will nibble. Learned behavior, affection, grooming, self soothing, and health issues are just some of the reasons behind the Pibble nibble. 

A Pit Bull that nibbles on a blanket in a compulsive manner, versus a Pit Bull that nibbles at you and your clothing can be showing two completely different states of mind. Some Pibble nibbles are relatively acceptable to a degree, and others should be managed.

These are the various reasons why your Pibble nibbles, and what you can do to address this behavior when unhealthy, or unwanted.

Playing

pit bulls and amstaff playing

One of the main reasons you will receive the Pibble nibble from your Pit Bull is an invitation to play. This behavior is learned as a puppy along with littermates. Puppies engage in playful, gentle nibbling to engage their potential playmates in some fun.

When your Pit Bull begins to nibble on you or your clothing gently, is wagging their tail, and in a playful posture, this is an invite. Your dog is looking to engage with you in some playtime.

Affection

Pit Bulls are one of the most affectionate breeds of dogs I have ever known. One of the ways a Pit Bull, including my Pit Bulls, show they love you, is through some gentle nibbles. When your Pit Bull nibbles you gently when curled up together in a cuddle, this is how they show they love you and being around you.

Grooming

When Pit Bulls nibble this can be a behavior associated with grooming. Typically when a Pit Bull nibbles themselves they are cleaning or grooming themselves. When done to you in a gentle manner this can also be a sign they are trying to grooming you as a sign of bonding and affection.

ruby and chester in front of mural

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Anxiety, Excitement, and Calming

Pit Bulls that nibble on things such as toys, blankets, or sometimes you, use this as a self soothing technique. You will often see this in puppies that are teething, but it can carry into adulthood.

Much like why your Pit Bull will chew a bone when they are bored, anxious or excited, nibbling can provide a calming effect in dogs. My Staffy Pibble does this with her toys when she is over excited or anxious. This is a perfectly natural behavior in moderation, but can become impulsive. More on that to come.

Related ArticleWhat Age Do Pit Bulls Calm Down, If Ever? 7 Hyper Tips

Exploring

aggressive destructive chewer pitbull

Puppies are curious about everything in their world. One of the primary ways a puppy will explore and learn about their surroundings is with their mouth. Nibbling is one of the behaviors puppies engage in to understand the various objects, textures, and tastes in their environment.

Habit

A Pitbull that still nibbles well beyond being a puppy can be a result of habit. This learned behavior can stick with your Pitbull for years in the form of a coping mechanism for stress, a means to initiate play, and a means to self soothe excitement.

Health Issues

Some Pibble nibbles can be a result of health issues. Both physical as well as psychological factors could be behind obsessive or compulsive nibbling by your Pitbull. For dogs that have dental issues, nibbling can be a way they try to relieve the discomfort.

Pit Bulls that are nibbling themselves can be showing signs of allergy or injury. When my Staffy’s allergies begin to bother her she will nibble at her feet. When your Pit Bull compulsively nibbles themselves, check them for hives, sores, redness, and other signs of skin problems. Consult your vet for treatment options.

Pitbulls that compulsively nibble at blankets, toys, and people to an uncontrollable degree may be experiencing chronic stress and anxiety. If your Pitbull has began to display any out of character behaviors like these it’s always best to consult with your vet to rule out any health issues.

Related ArticleHow Do I Keep My Pitbull’s Skin Healthy? – 7 Skin & Coat Tips

How Do I Stop My Pit Bull From Nibbling Me?

pit bull with woman

Allowing your Pitbull to nibble at you from time to time can be acceptable. When it’s a sweet sign of affection the occasional Pibble nibble can be very cute. There is however a point where you should discourage this behavior. 

When your Pitbull nibbles you too much, too often, or a little rough, it’s time to stop the behavior. This type of behavior should not be encouraged and should be managed before it becomes a habit or a destructive behavior. Redirecting, rewarding, and repeating the process is how you stop your Pitbull from nibbling you.

Redirect

One of the best ways to stop your Pitbull from nibbling on you or your things is redirection. When your Pitbull begins to do the Pibble nibble redirect them away from that behavior with a favorite toy, a treat, or some other activity.

The goal is to either stop your Pitbull from nibbling a specific person or object, or stop the behavior entirely. Distract them through redirection to help break the behavior and eventually the habit as a whole.

Reward

Once you have redirected and distracted your Pitbull away from their nibbling behavior, reward them. Pitbulls are very eager to please and respond very well to positive reinforcement. Show you are pleased with them stopping a behavior and focusing on your chosen distraction.

Repeat

Consistency with any training is crucial to make new habits and break old habits. Repeat your redirection and reward on a consistent basis. When you really want your Pitbull to stop a behavior, be consistent in teaching them a new behavior. A lack of consistency will create confusion and stall your progress in training.

Final Thoughts

pit bull under table

Pibble nibbles are usually a Pitbulls way of showing affection and love for you. Whether that is through cuddling or initiating play, a Pitbull gently nibbling you with their front teeth is often harmless and sweet.

The Pibble nibble can also be a sign of stress and excitement. The behavior is how your Pitbull will calm themselves and self soothe. This can begin to manifest into neurotic behavior over time so addressing the cause of the stress or excitement should be a focus.

Learning to stop your Pitbull from nibbling on you and your things is a skill every owner must learn. As a responsible owner you need to dictate the terms of your interactions with your Pitbull. Nibbling can be unwanted and unhealthy when left unchecked, so practice the redirect, reward, and repeat method.

Work to better understand your Pitbull and the root of their behaviors. Once you are able to better establish why they are behaving a certain way the more equipped you will be to manage, or allow that behavior. In the case of the Pibble nibble, in the end, you are the judge.


PIBBLES & BITS TOP PICKS

King Komb DeShedding ToolOne of the best dog brushes on the market. I use the King Komb each and every week with my Pibbles. Easy to use and even easier to clean.

Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo – Smells great, cleans great, and best of all keeps my dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling amazing. Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo keeps my Pibbles skin moisturized like no other.

Earth Rated Dog Wipes – Dog wipes are an essential to keep on hand, and nothing beats Earth Rated. Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and durable. I keep these dog wipes in the house and the car for everyday use.

Kong Extreme – Kongs are one of my most used tools to give my dogs some mental stimulation and something tough to chew. Kong Extremes are as tough as they come and will give your Pibble the entertainment they crave.

Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.

BeneBone Dog Chew – The toughest dog chew around. My dogs absolutely love the bacon flavor and peanut butter flavor BeneBone. These will keep your toughest chewers busy for weeks, if not months and years.

BarkBox Super Chewer – Variety is the spice of life, and BarkBox Super Chewer is the perfect way to keep your dog engaged. New treats, toys, and chews each and every month that your super chewer will love.

iCrate Dog Crate – The iCrate is my absolute top recommendation for dog crates. I use this for both my dogs and love the sturdy, easy to store, and versatile adjustable panel. You need the iCrate in your life.

HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.

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