|Boredom, Stress, or Anxiety||The act of chewing provides a mental stimulus and helps relieve emotional states.|
|Comfort or Chewing Instincts||Dogs sometimes nibble to soothe themselves or to satisfy a primal instinct.|
|Attention-seeking Behaviour||This can be a form of communicating their needs or desires.|
|Teething||Puppies may chew to relieve discomfort during the teething process.|
|Allergies or Injury||Nibbling can be a response to physical discomfort or distress.|
|Playtime Rituals||Some breeds may use nibbling as a playful and bonding activity.|
If your furry friend has taken a fancy to your pillow, you are not alone. This puzzling behaviour is a query many pet owners have.
Let’s decipher the enigma surrounding our canine companions’ pillow-biting antics.
The Mystery Unravelled
There’s more than meets the eye when your pet gets cosy with your pillow. Dogs use their mouths much as we use our hands – to explore and engage with their environment.
As such, chewing or nibbling is a natural instinct for dogs and puppies.
They can get their chompers into your favourite pillow for a myriad of reasons, ranging from teething discomfort to pure boredom.
Boredom, Stress, or Anxiety
Dogs are highly social creatures, and when left alone for long periods, they can get bored or anxious, which often manifests as destructive behaviour like chewing on a pillow. Besides, stress or anxiety in dogs could be a potential cause, especially when they’re in a new environment or there are significant changes in their routine.
Comfort and Chewing Instincts
Your pillow’s softness, warmth, and smell could be extremely comforting for your dog, especially when you’re not around. It’s akin to a child with their favourite blanket. Plus, let’s not forget the primal instinct to chew, which can be an irresistible urge, especially for puppies.
Ever wondered why your dog chooses to gnaw your pillow right in front of you? Well, it might be their way of saying, “Look at me!” Dogs can engage in certain behaviours to seek attention, and they quickly learn that nibbling on your pillow earns them your immediate attention.
Puppies go through teething, much like human babies. The discomfort of growing new teeth can lead to excessive chewing. And, your soft, plush pillow might seem like an ideal solution to alleviate the gum pain.
Allergies or Injury
A dog biting or chewing on things might be an indication of some physical discomfort. Allergies or injuries can cause irritation, and your dog might try to soothe the discomfort by nibbling on your pillow.
Some dogs, particularly pit bulls, might nibble on pillows as part of their playtime rituals. This behaviour can be a sign of their comfort around you.
Training Your Dog To Stop Biting Pillows
Now that we’ve decoded the reasons behind your dog’s pillow-nibbling behaviour, it’s crucial to determine an effective solution.
We recommend visiting Dream HQ’s guide on choosing bite-proof pillows to protect your bedding while satisfying your pet’s chewing instincts.
Training Your Dog to Stop Biting Pillows
We’ve discovered the various reasons dogs bite pillows, but how can we curb this behaviour? Here are some effective strategies that you can employ to train your dog to stop using your pillows as chew toys.
Keep Pillows Out of Reach
Out of sight, out of mind rings true in this scenario. One simple way to deter your dog from indulging in a pillow-chewing spree is to place them out of their reach. Store them in a closet, or put them on a high shelf when you’re not around to supervise.
Provide Chew Toys
Dogs inherently need to chew. Therefore, replacing pillows with suitable chew toys could be a solution. Make sure these toys are durable and safe, serving as a perfect alternative for their chewing needs.
Train Your Dog to “Leave It”
This command can be invaluable in preventing your pet from biting your pillows. Start by holding a treat in your closed hand and utter the command “leave it.” When your dog ceases attempting to get the treat, reward them with a different treat. This technique encourages them to associate the command with the action of releasing an item.
Use Taste Deterrents
Applying taste deterrents, like Bitter Apple spray, on your pillows can make them taste unpleasant to your pet, thus deterring them from chewing. Remember to supervise your pet initially when implementing this method.
Address Underlying Issues
If your dog’s pillow-biting habit stems from stress or anxiety, addressing these issues could be the key. Provide more opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. If necessary, consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviourist for professional advice.
Consistency is Key
In dog training, consistency is paramount. Ensure everyone in the household adheres to the same rules regarding pillow access and commands. This consistent approach can accelerate your dog’s learning process.
To summarise, here’s a table encapsulating the strategies to prevent your dog from biting pillows:
|Keep Pillows Out of Reach||Prevent access to pillows when unsupervised.|
|Provide Chew Toys||Offer safer chewing alternatives.|
|Train “Leave It” Command||Teach your dog to release items on command.|
|Use Taste Deterrents||Make pillows taste unappealing with safe sprays.|
|Address Underlying Issues||Solve stress or anxiety issues with professional help if necessary.|
|Consistency||Ensure everyone in the household follows the same rules.|
Making Chew Toys More Appealing to Your Dog
Chew toys serve multiple purposes. They cater to a dog’s natural instinct to chew, provide a sense of comfort, and keep their teeth clean. However, not all chew toys are equal in a dog’s eyes. Here are some useful tips to make chew toys more enticing for your four-legged friend.
Fill Them With Treats
One sure-fire way to pique your dog’s interest in a chew toy is to fill it with their favourite kibble or treats. Try using a bit of peanut butter or cream cheese inside the toy, which will not only encourage chewing but also keep them engaged for a while.
Give Your Dog Options
Just like humans, dogs also have their own preferences. Providing a variety of chew toys can help cater to these tastes, ensuring they remain interested. Keep an eye on their chewing patterns to determine which toys they prefer, and always ensure that the toys you provide are durable and safe.
Make it a Positive Experience
Create a positive association with the chew toy. When you present the toy, ensure you’re upbeat and encouraging. Likewise, when taking it away, substitute it with a treat or words of praise to reinforce the positive experience.
Try Different Textures and Flavours
Dogs have keen senses and might get bored with toys that are always the same. Varying the texture, flavour, and scent of chew toys can reignite your dog’s interest and appeal to their natural chewing instincts. Consider toys that can be stuffed or designed to hold treats for an extra layer of fun.
Play Interactive Games
Engage your dog in interactive games that involve their chew toy. Activities like tug-o-war or hide-and-seek can make the chew toy exciting and help to strengthen your bond with your dog.
Let’s summarise these tips in a handy table:
|Tip||How it Works|
|Fill Them With Treats||Use treats or food items to entice your dog to chew the toy.|
|Give Your Dog Options||Provide a variety of toys to cater to your dog’s preferences.|
|Make it a Positive Experience||Use positive reinforcement when giving and taking away the toy.|
|Try Different Textures and Flavours||Appeal to your dog’s senses with varied toy characteristics.|
|Play Interactive Games||Use games to make the chew toy part of an exciting playtime.|
Identifying Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety is a common but often misunderstood issue among dogs. It can manifest in a variety of behaviours that are frequently mistaken for simple disobedience. Knowing how to spot the signs of separation anxiety can significantly improve your dog’s wellbeing. Here’s what to look out for:
Certain physical responses can indicate that a dog is experiencing stress or anxiety. These include:
- Dilated pupils: This can be a sign of fear or distress.
- Panting: While dogs pant to cool down, excessive panting can indicate stress.
- Yawning: Although yawning is typically associated with tiredness, dogs often yawn when they’re anxious.
- Salivating: Excessive drooling or salivation can be a sign of anxiety.
- Trembling: Shaking or trembling can indicate fear or anxiety.
- Pacing: Dogs often pace when they’re nervous or anxious.
Changes in your dog’s usual behaviour can also be indicative of separation anxiety. Signs include:
- Excessive barking or howling: While some barking is normal, persistent barking when left alone can be a sign of anxiety.
- Whining: This vocalisation is a clear signal that your dog is uncomfortable or stressed.
- Scratching at doors or windows: This can indicate that your dog is trying to escape and rejoin you.
- Destructive behaviour: This includes chewing, digging, or destruction of household items.
Health and Eating Changes
Look out for any changes in your dog’s eating habits or health, such as:
- Inappropriate urination or defecation: This behaviour might indicate that your dog is experiencing significant stress.
- Refusal to eat: Anxiety can result in loss of appetite in dogs.
- Depressive state: Dogs can also show signs of depression when they’re anxious, including lack of energy and disinterest in their usual activities.
In summary, here are the key signs of separation anxiety to look out for in your dog:
|Type of Sign||Symptoms|
|Physical Symptoms||Dilated pupils, Panting, Yawning, Salivating, Trembling, Pacing|
|Behavioural Changes||Excessive barking or howling, Whining, Scratching at doors or windows, Destructive behaviour|
|Health and Eating Changes||Inappropriate urination or defecation, Refusal to eat, Depressive state|
Why does my dog like my pillow?
Your dog likes your pillow because it’s soft, comfortable, and carries your scent. Dogs are pack animals and feel safer when they’re surrounded by their pack’s smell, even when they’re relaxing or sleeping.
Why does my dog start nibbling the blanket?
Your dog may nibble the blanket for comfort, to relieve stress, or out of boredom. This behaviour, called “nooking,” can also be a sign of affection or attachment. It’s a dog’s way of creating a cosy, secure environment.
Why do dogs chew fabric?
Dogs chew fabric to relieve boredom, stress, or teething discomfort. They also chew fabric because it’s soft and easy to manipulate with their mouth, providing a form of play and mental stimulation. Always supervise to prevent accidental ingestion.
Why does my dog nibble on pillows and blankets?
Nibbling on pillows and blankets is a common behaviour among dogs, often linked to their instinctual need to knead soft surfaces before settling down. It’s also a way for them to explore their environment or relieve anxiety.
What is dog nooking?
Dog nooking is a term used to describe when a dog sucks, chews, or kneads objects like pillows or blankets with their mouth. It’s usually a comforting behaviour that can also be a sign of feeling safe and content.
In conclusion, understanding your dog’s behaviour, especially when it comes to their interaction with household items like pillows and blankets, is essential for maintaining a harmonious living environment. Dogs’ actions, such as nibbling or chewing on pillows, often have deeper meanings rooted in their instincts and emotional states. This article provides insights into why dogs may chew pillows and offers guidance on identifying signs of separation anxiety in dogs.
We’ve covered the following key points in this article:
- The potential reasons behind dogs biting pillows, which can range from stress, boredom, or separation anxiety to seeking comfort, attention, or expressing playful rituals.
- Training techniques to stop your dog from biting pillows, including creating a positive experience, providing chew toys, using taste deterrents, and being consistent in the application of these techniques.
- Suggestions to make chew toys more appealing to dogs, with tactics involving filling the toys with treats, providing a variety of options, and turning chew sessions into interactive games.
- The key signs of separation anxiety in dogs and tips on how to help manage this condition.
We also referred to a wealth of information from various pages on Dream HQ, like how to choose a bite-proof pillow or understanding why some people bite their pillow. Also, you can learn about different types of mattresses from our pages on foam versus spring for side sleepers and pocket sprung mattresses.
By understanding your dog’s behaviour, you can create a more comfortable and stress-free environment for them, contributing to their overall happiness and wellbeing.
– Article by Lewis Hugh