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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In June, I adopted my amazing rescue dog named Lucy. She is wonderfully behaved, extremely intelligent and loving. But, over time Lucy has developed this very odd behavior: she nibbles obbsessively at fabrics. She does not tear them up or try to rip them, she simply sits and nibbles at them. The only way to get her to stop is to call her. She doesn't seem to be able to pull herself out of this nibble-trance. She doesn't act panicky or anything--I think she just likes how it feels. Anyway, she is putting holes in blankets and it's becoming a problem when she nibbles at a strangers pants :eyeroll:. Any solutions or advice?
 

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How old is she, what kind of dog? Do you have a picture of her performing this behavior...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They didn't know exactly how old she is but we guessed about 1 year? And she is a mutt. It is highly debated by friends what she is. Boxer/Lab, Bulldog/Lab, etc. And no, but like I said she doesn't do it in a panic. She sort of rubs her front teeth on the item, but it looks like nibbling. She never puts in completely in her mouth or tries to chew it.
 

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I had a cat who did this when I was younger. She was found with her siblings and no mom when she was very, very young. She would nibble like this on stuffed animals and wool blankets (sometimes my sweater or something). I think it is because she lost her mom very young and never got to nurse.

Since you're guessing at the Lucy's age, I imagine the shelter doesn't know her history and if she was fully weened off her mom as a puppy. My guess would be that the behavior comes from something like that...

To get her to stop, I would try to modify this behavior they way you would any other unwanted behavior. When she begins to do it, distract her and immediately give her something else to do (I would suggest giving her a toy you don't mind her chewing/nibbling on - maybe a stuffed animal). Praise her profusely as soon as she stops nibbling on the blanket/person's pants/etc, and when she is chewing on the new, appropriate toy.

There are others on this board who have much more experience with behavior training, so hopefully you'll get some good advice! Although the above did work well for me to get my dog to stop chewing my shoes... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much! We had a cat that did that for the same reason. But when our cat did it, she drooled profusely. Yuck! She could wet entire blankets if we didn't stop her. But I'll keep working on it with her! She is a wonderful dog she is just...special. :)
 

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SaraNana,
Our Addy is "special" too! You might enjoy this link tremendously! A part of the story will make you fall down laughing, licking!

 

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My dog used to do that, he'd nibble on my sleeves or the body of my shirt. He never destroyed anything but he would crease the fabric and leave wet spots. I'd call him Niblet. Crazy boy. My theory is that they nibble, for the same reason fabric suckers suck fabric, it's a soothing behavior to them.

If your boy is destroying stuff then distracting him from nibbling is your best bet. I never bothered trying to deter Shadow since he wasn't destroying what he was nibbling on.
 

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I definitely think it's a self-soothing thing, and from my experience it is usually a cat or dog that was taken from it's mother a little too early. Not always the case though, i'm sure.

My fiance's parents have a 20 yr old cat that has been doing this since they found her abandoned at a very young age. She sucks on her tail and gets drool all over it, haha.

I've also met a few dogs, 2 of which were Collies that did this, with their "tweezer noses/jaws", it seems very easy for dogs with faces like that to do the nibbling thing. That stinks though, that it's causing holes in your blankets!

When she does it to strangers' pant legs, does she seem to be doing it to appease them? Or her doing it out of uncomfortability, trying to self-soothe?
 

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Addy will suck on the blankets on the bed too and leave huge wet spots. She is a rescue with a horrible puppyhood. I think it is self soothing too. Now she HAS TO be touching a live body, cat, human, dog, doesn't matter which, when she is sleeping. Sigh. Like if she wasn't she would fall off the face of the earth. So interesting.

This was an interesting thread, I wonder - does your dog do anything else to self soothe???
 
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