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11 Extraordinary Reasons Why Dogs Nibble Clothes + 5 Tips

Why Does My Dog Nibble My Clothes

You might be wondering why your dog would open their mouth and tug at your clothes. 

You may find it adorable and amusing. 

But there are different indications of why dogs do it.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • Indications whether the behavior is normal or not.
  • 11 extraordinary reasons why dogs nibble clothes.
  • 5 tips on what to do if your dog nibbles your clothes.
  • And so much more…

Why does my dog nibble my clothes?

Dogs nibble your clothes due to boredom and wanting your attention. It can also be due to teething during their puppyhood or separation anxiety. They explore and communicate with their mouths. Grabbing your clothes is an instinctive behavior that is common among dogs.

11 reasons why your dog nibbles your clothes

#1: Your dog lacks mental stimulation

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have responsibilities. Have you ever imagined being one?

They don’t pay bills. They don’t have worries and happy being with you. They’re always playing here and there!

They only have you and all the things you provide. They don’t have electronic gadgets or friends on social media they can play with.

Not to mention if you have no pets in the house other than your four-legged friend that it can play with.

“I agree. You don’t have big responsibilities as a dog. But what you can do is only limited. If I were one, I’d be bored most of the time.”


Dogs can experience boredom too if you’re not around and they don’t have anything to play with. 

This causes them to nibble on your clothes when you’re preoccupied with other work.

Dogs dealing with boredom do whatever they can to stimulate their mind. This includes chewing some of your favorite items.

Recommended read: Why is my dog suddenly chewing up stuff?

#2: Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety

Your Dog Nibbles Your Clothes Due To Separation Anxiety

Does your pawed baby follow you from room to room all the time? And they become distressed when you attempt to move them away?

Dogs who don’t suffer from separation anxiety are comfortable on their own. In contrast, those that have become anxious in their owner’s absence. 

Signs of separation anxiety in your dog can be evident when you’re at home.

They seek constant physical contact and attention. 

This makes them chew on items and nibble your clothes to get what they want.

As a dog parent, you have the responsibility to help them cope with it before becoming chronic.

There are strategies that you can do to deal with the problem. 

If your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety, here are the things that you can do:

  • Leave your dog with worn clothes that have your scent. This can lessen events where they’d nibble on your clothes.
  • Distract them with toys that you know they will like. This can lessen events where they’d chew your items.
  • Establish an action that you can use whenever you’re leaving that tells your dog you’ll be back.
  • Introduce your pawed best friend to new dogs, people, and experiences. 

Remember, keeping a dog is maintaining a relationship. You have to commit, and it comes with responsibilities.

Never resort to any form of punishment as it won’t help. It can even worsen the situation. So, be patient with your furred little/big one!

Don’t forget to read: 5 causes why your dog is anxious all of a sudden 

#3: Your dog is hungry

Oh, no. Leaving your dog hungry is never a good idea!

This is one of the biggest reasons why your dog chews things up and nibbles on your clothes.  

Hungry furred pets may gnaw when looking for something to eat. 

Dogs get nutrition from their food which is essential for their well-being. So give your dog some snacks and see how they’ll react to it. 

If they accept and turn calm, then you might have forgotten to give them food.

If they stopped nibbling on your clothes, pat their head for obeying. It’s not their fault.

They’re hungry!

#4: Your dog likes the taste of your clothes

“Wait. What? But I give them food!”

Well, it’s true. Your dog may fancy the flavoring or your clothing due to its texture. Also, it’s comfortable and tastes familiar.

It’s the same when humans sleep with clothing belonging to someone they love and miss. 

The only difference is that we put them across our chest while dogs nibble them.

Odd as it sounds, some dogs chew and nibble their owner’s clothing items. It doesn’t matter whether they’re on you or piled up in your laundry.

Sometimes dogs that are anxious or bored may develop pica in them.

It’s a health condition characterized by the compulsive consumption of non-food objects. They can be your clothes, paper, wood, or even rocks.

Nibbling can be adorable as it looks. But your dog can get serious health issues if chewing up your items becomes their habit.

So keep all your clothes, underwear, and shoes away where they can’t get to them. 

Check out also: 33 questions about dogs and socks answered!

#5: Your dog wants to play

As I’ve mentioned, it’s normal as long as they don’t bite.

According to Dr. Klein, “nipping is a ‘conversation starter’ in dogs. It’s a vehicle to start play and interact.”

What’s the best thing to do? 

There’s no other option. Play with your pawed best friend!

Besides, it’s a vital part of growing up for young dogs. They may not develop to their full potential without playing.

Playing is a happy day for your four-legged pet. You’re helping them develop their bones and muscles. 

Moreover, they’ll become more mentally alert.

So play with them to help hone their social skills. In that way, you’re also strengthening your bond.

Do not underestimate the positive effects of having a happy time together. The advantages of playing with your furred baby are endless!

#6: Your dog smells your scent

Your Dog Smells Your Scent

Do you know that a dog’s sense of smell is better than that of a human? 

Humans have 6 million olfactory receptors, while dogs have 300 million. Their nasal tissue is 30 times larger than ours.

Imagine that? The sense of smell is a dog’s superpower.

No doubt that their owner’s scent makes them feel happy and secure. Your affection towards your four-legged companion associates with your aroma.

Sometimes you’d catch them sleeping on your laundry or snuggling up to your other items.

This goes to show that they have a stronger connection with their owner. 

It relates to the fact that they connect the scents given off by their owner with play and praise.

#7: You’re encouraging the behavior

Some fur parents find dogs nibbling on their items adorable. 

They’d want to see more of it so they give their dogs more rewards to repeat the behavior. No wonder they likely do this behavior a lot to get more.

You might be the type of owner who likes to train his dog to do various activities. 

You might have considered giving them treats and toys when they’d nibble your clothes.

If you remember doing this, it could be the reason for this constant behavior.

Well, you‘ll be needing the treats. But this time to teach your fur baby to leave it and replace your clothes with chew toys. 

#8: Your dog is exploring its environment

Nibbling to explore applies to small puppies. 

If your pup is teething, they’re likely to learn about their surroundings and chew any object they see. 

It’s typical behavior in young puppies to investigate. It motivates them to chew.

Chewing is necessary and natural for puppies. It’s one of their ways to learn and know the things around them.

During the teething phase, they experience pain. 

They begin teething at 4 months of age and finish with a new set of adult teeth by 6 months of age.

But if they become destructive after 6 months of age, they’re not teething any longer. It has become a destructive problem.

Providing appropriate objects to chew on and play with is part of their learning. 

Here are some tips to help make teething a less painful experience for your pawed pet:

  • Offer your pup some chew toys. Make sure they have different textures and shapes to keep their interest level high. Anything hard, soft, and edible can do the trick.
  • Give them frozen fruits such as bits of banana and strawberries. It can be messy but they help relieve oral discomfort.
  • Some pups prefer ice cubes. You can load up a bowl and have them enjoy it.

You might also like: Why does my dog bite my feet?

#9: Your dog is not getting enough exercise

When they lack exercise, they may develop this behavior and sluggishness.

You don’t want to leave them not doing anything productive every day. This causes them to go around and chew every object they see. 

They tend to look for ways to entertain themselves. Chewing objects is always an option.

It’s better to make a schedule to engage your dog in mental and physical stimulation.

Think of activities they can enjoy. Something that will exercise their body and mind to prevent destructive chewing.

You can have a run and jogging session together or do a puzzle for your pawed friend to solve.

#10: Your dog likes to nibble on clothes due to its genetics

It's In Your Dog's Genes To Nibble


There are more active dog breeds that chew more than other dogs. 

If your dog is on the list I’m providing, then you have to make an effort to get the chewing under control.

You don’t want to come home every day to find your slippers or items mauled to pieces by your pawed pet.

Some of the chewer dog breeds include:


They love to chew and sometimes swallow a variety of things. They love chewing on rocks and every single dog bed. 

Jack Russell 

These pawed friends chew a lot of things during their puppyhood due to teething. They chew due to curiosity and boredom.


Their chewing behavior is wreaking havoc on your wallet. They’re smart and curious, but nipping and chewing are common Beagle problems.


They love putting things in their mouth. Their chewing menu is extensive. Sometimes they even destroy them. 

Border Collie

They’re the most intelligent of dog breeds. Border collies entertain themselves by chewing various objects that spark their interest.


Their high energy makes them more prone to chewing than others. They love to explore new things around them.

Golden Retriever

These gentle-looking giants are playful and fun companions. They also like to hold things in their mouths.

#11: Your dog is unruly

One reason why your dog keeps on nibbling your clothes is due to a lack of command training.

They may be less aggressive but can still start problems. They ingest your belongings and even destroy objects around.

Spare some time to train them to address the issue. You also have the option to get a trainer to teach them obedience by using positive reinforcement.

Your pawed friend needs to learn that you control their snacks and resources.

You want your dog to be obedient and well-mannered. Apply training in a humane manner so that they can fulfill your expectations.

5 tips on what to do if your dog nibbles your clothes

#1: Make playing with your dog a routine

Occupy their mind by playing with them. It doesn’t have to be for very long hours. 

Even if it’s for a few minutes a day, having a bonding session with your dog can make a difference. 

Active play helps your dog thrive. It helps with the mental aspect of boredom and alleviates any stress or anxiety.

Keeping them busy will prevent them from nibbling your clothes. It’ll also keep them from destroying objects they see around.

Reward them when they obey and do well while playing.

It can be treats or praises.

#2: Get them chew-toys

Getting them toys of different textures can keep them from nibbling your clothes.  

Chewing is not a negative behavior among dogs. In fact, it has many benefits. Let them chew!

The key is to redirect that behavior to chew toys for your four-legged friend. 

There are reasons why they should have an access to these in your home.

They’re good for their dental health

It can help clean your pup’s gums and teeth. Your dog’s breath may also improve from dental chews.

They’re necessary for teething puppies

Chewing can develop strong and healthy adult teeth as it promotes teeth growth.

Investing to chew toys helps prevent destructive chewing

No fur parents want their slippers and items to be victims of this behavior.

They keep your four-legged friend busy

This is beneficial to you too. You can get some stuff done without them interrupting you.

Chew toys can keep your dog calm during stressful situations

They tend to put objects in their mouth to ease the feeling of anxiousness.

#3: “Leave it” training

You can teach your dog to leave things be with this training.

Once they understand, your dog should leave your items be.

This allows you to tell your pup when something is okay to nibble or grab.

What you need to do is:

  1. Place a treat on your hand with your other hand over it. In this way, it can not grab it. Let it sniff or lick the back of your hand until it stops trying.
  2. Reward your dog with a treat. Don’t offer the treat in your palm. Doing so helps highlights that leaving a thing alone leads to a chance for greater things.
  3. Do it again but this time start removing your hand. Cover it if it attempts to grab it. The goal is for your pooch to ignore the uncovered treat.
  4. If it shows disinterest with the uncovered treat, reward it for a job well done. Offer a higher value treat from your other hand.
  5. Introduce the “leave it” command as you drop the treat on the floor.
  6. When it ignored the food, reward your pup a higher value treat.

#4: Increase your dog’s physical activity

When you engage your dog in physical activity, it’ll prevent boredom.

Boredom makes your dog putting objects they see in their mouth. These include your clothes and shoes.

Physical activity helps in reducing their risk of developing anxiety. 

Your dog is less likely to engage in digging, chewing, barking, and even aggression.

It can be beneficial to you too! Your pawed best friend can be an excellent accountability partner. 

They can be the reason why you should exercise too.

#5: Discourage unacceptable behavior

If your pawed pet grabs and nibs clothes, try not to react. Freeze and don’t look at them. 

Wait until they let go.

Teach them that nibbling turns off any attention from you.

Warning: Do not ever slap or hit them for nibbling your clothes. It may backfire depending on your dog’s temperament.

They could become scared of you and may not come to you at all. Or could respond by attempting to bite you to defend themselves.

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