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Border Collie Nibbling/Nipping: (Important Info)

If you’re border collie is nipping or nibbling you, you’ll want to know why, and how to stop this behavior before it progresses.

When collies engage in this behavior it’s important to nip it in the bud so to speak, as they can get progressively more intense (harder) with their little nips as time goes by.

While they might not do this with malice, it’s still very important to be in control of this and stop it. Everything you need to know about this is below.

border collie nip nibble

Do All Border Collies Engage In Nipping & Nibbling?

Are they all nippy and nibbly? Well, not all of them. But many do show this behavior.

It’s common but not a must-have trait for every Border Collie out there.

Some may nibble or nip more than others. It often depends on their training, age, and individual personality.

Remember, each dog is unique…

So, if your Border Collie is a bit nippy or nibbly, it doesn’t mean every Border Collie will be the same.

Some might be super chill and not show this behavior at all.

Nibbling vs Nipping: A Key Difference

Before we dive in, let’s clear something up.

Nibbling and nipping are not the same.

Nibbling is usually softer and more gentle. It’s like tiny bites but not painful.

Your dog might do this when they’re feeling playful or loving.

Nipping is a bit stronger. It’s a quick, more forceful bite.

This is often a way for your dog to get your attention.

Or it might happen when they’re too excited. Knowing the difference can help you understand what your dog is trying to say.

Why Your Border Collie Nibbles You

Alright, so why does your Border Collie nibble?

One reason could be affection.

Yep, your dog might just be telling you they love you. It’s a way for them to bond with you.

Nibbling can also happen during grooming.

Your dog might nibble you as if they’re grooming a fellow dog.

Another reason might be curiosity.

Dogs use their mouths to explore the world. Your dog might nibble on you just to see how you’ll react. It’s a way for them to learn about you and your boundaries.

Why Your Border Collie Nips You

Now, let’s talk about nipping.

One big reason is herding instinct. Border Collies are herding dogs.

They’re used to rounding up animals like sheep.

If your dog nips at your heels, they might be trying to “herd” you. It’s in their nature.

Another reason could be over-excitement.

Maybe you’re playing a really fun game of fetch. Your dog might get so pumped up they nip you by accident.

They don’t mean to hurt you. They’re just caught up in the moment.

How To React To This Behavior When It Happens

So, what should you do if your Border Collie nibbles or nips?

First, stay calm. Yelling won’t help. If it’s a gentle nibble, you can just let it slide.

It’s likely your dog is just being affectionate or playful.

If it’s a stronger nip, say “no” in a firm voice.

Then, redirect their energy. Give them a toy or get them to do a trick.

The goal is to show them what is and isn’t okay to do.

How To Train Against This

Training is super important.

If you want to stop the nipping for good, you have to be consistent. Use positive reinforcement.

This means giving your dog a treat or praise when they behave well.

If your dog nips, redirect their focus as mentioned earlier.

Then reward them when they follow your command.

This will help them understand what’s expected of them. Training takes time and patience, but it’s totally worth it for a happier, well-behaved dog.

Why It’s Important To Stop This Behavior

You might think nibbling and nipping are cute or no big deal. But it’s good to stop this behavior. Why? Well, let’s talk about it.

First, if you let your dog nibble or nip you, they’ll think it’s okay to do it to others. Imagine having friends or family over. Your dog might nibble or nip them too. Not everyone knows how to react to that. Some people might even get scared.

Second, little nips can turn into bigger bites. Your dog might start with a small nip. But if they think it’s okay, they might bite harder next time. And that could hurt someone.

Stopping this behavior is a good way to make sure everyone stays happy and safe. It’s good for you, your dog, and anyone who comes into your home.

Last thoughts

So there you have it! Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of why your Border Collie might be nibbling or nipping at you.

Remember, every dog is different. With a little love and training, you and your pup can understand each other better. Happy training!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.