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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi:

We just adopted a Havanese rescue, approx. 1 1/2 years old. Super friendly, lovable boy. We just are going crazy with his sucking on everything in the house. He is constantly nibbling (almost like weaning) on us, our clothes, bedding etc.. We are constantly taking him for exercise, and giving him something to chew on. When we were at the vets I asked them about the behavior and they never heard of it. They said he was looking for attention but thats not it because he will do it even if we are playing with him. I am home all the time and he gets ton of attention. When he does it you can hear his teeth hitting each other (sounds like false teeth) Any tips for this constant nibbling or has anyone seen this before?
 

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Dave T
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Welcome to the forum. Good for you. what is his history. ? How often are we talking. ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
His history is that he was owned by an elderly couple that no longer had the energy to care for him. They also had an older dog. He went into rescue for not that long. He nibbles on everything about 80% of the day. My kids say he is addicted to nibbling. He doesn't hurt anyone or use his teeth on us. He buries his head in everything and nibbles likes he is trying to get something out of it. There are even times he coughs up fur balls I think from stripping the tops of furniture and blankets.
 

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Dave T
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I would suggest a professional consultation. This is something for a certified applied veterinary behaviorist. Unfortunately they are not cheap. As there are only a couple hundred in the world. If you want an other option , I would recommend an experienced trainer. If you need help finding one let me know. I'm not sure why your vet would not have some idea about this. But that's why there's a HUGE difference between a regular vet and a veteranary BEHAVIORIST. The reason I'm say vet behaviorist is because this might involve drugs as well as behavioral modification. If you'd like an article on this sort of thing , email me privately.
 

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Jacqueline
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can you redirect his nibbling? you know to a preferred chew item, like a bully stick? or a nylabone?
Have you checked his teeth? maybe something in his mouth is bothering him.
 

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Interesting. Lucy does something that sounds similar to this. She "chews" with her front teeth and clicks her teeth. When i swish her away and feel where she had been chewing, it's not even wet. It's almost like she's rubbing the outside of her front teeth on the fabric.

Congrats on your new puppy!
 

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interesting... our oldest cat does a version of this ... "nursing", up until she was about 5 she would literally suckle and get what ever she was suckling SOAKING wet...
She is a rescue and we assume she was seperated from her mom and littermates way to young.
Did her former owner have her from puppyhood?? DO they know who the breeder is?
 

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Beau's Mom
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Beau does that -- but only on the bed linens. He particularly likes to do it with pillow cases. The amazing thing is that it sounds like he is picking at the threads. But, not only are the linens dry, there isn't any indication that the pillow cases are harmed in any way. I've mentioned it to a couple vets, but it is so difficult to describe that they both looked at me like it just couldn't be what I'm saying.
 

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Lorraine, that is EXACTLY the case in our situation. You described Lucy to a 't'. it is when we are on the bed and there is no damage and it's completely dry.
 

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I bet they are just comforting themselves. Maddie will suck on my quilt but she gets it wet. Its to bad your rescue does it so often. He probably didn't get enough attention and has just learned the behavior make's him feel good. I can understand it being a bit too much!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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interesting... our oldest cat does a version of this ... "nursing", up until she was about 5 she would literally suckle and get what ever she was suckling SOAKING wet...
She is a rescue and we assume she was seperated from her mom and littermates way to young.
Did her former owner have her from puppyhood?? DO they know who the breeder is?
We had a cat who did that her whole life. She used to suck on our PJ's and get us all wet. We started giving her one of DH's big handkerchiefs at night, and she's suck on that instead. Made her a MUCH more pleasant bed partner.

We knew her from birth, so knew she wasn't taken away from mom too soon, but she was definitely the runt of the litter, and had a hard time learning to eat at weaning time. She was born not breathing, and thought to have been stillborn, but with some rubbing in a towel, gasped and started breathing. She had a LOT of weird habits, and was TOTALLY unlike her parents and litter mates. We always thought she might have had some brain damage from oxygen deprivation at birth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks

Thanks for replies. I will be taking the new rescue, buddy, to training after the holidays. In the meantime I am trying every kind of chew bone and toy.
I looked this up online also and people call this corn on the cobbing. That is what it is like..looks like the dog is nibbling on corn on the cobb.

Thanks,

Linda
 

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Our 2 year Button does that nibbling thing when she goes to bed at night. Our sheets or my Robe. I think it's a soothing mechanism for her. She stops after a while.
 

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Linda - Sasha's Mom
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Hi:

We just adopted a Havanese rescue, approx. 1 1/2 years old. Super friendly, lovable boy. We just are going crazy with his sucking on everything in the house. He is constantly nibbling (almost like weaning) on us, our clothes, bedding etc.. We are constantly taking him for exercise, and giving him something to chew on. When we were at the vets I asked them about the behavior and they never heard of it. They said he was looking for attention but thats not it because he will do it even if we are playing with him. I am home all the time and he gets ton of attention. When he does it you can hear his teeth hitting each other (sounds like false teeth) Any tips for this constant nibbling or has anyone seen this before?
My daughter's Shebas did this, according to the vet psych she spoke to it is a nervous habit. It may stop as you new hav settles in more with your family. It may not stop totally but ease up quite a bit. Linda & kids
 

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Beau's Mom
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Well, I'm glad to hear it is called something! I don't like the interpretation of it as a nervous habit -- but at least others have seen it, too.
 

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Beau does that -- but only on the bed linens. He particularly likes to do it with pillow cases. The amazing thing is that it sounds like he is picking at the threads. But, not only are the linens dry, there isn't any indication that the pillow cases are harmed in any way. I've mentioned it to a couple vets, but it is so difficult to describe that they both looked at me like it just couldn't be what I'm saying.
Did you try taping it (with a smart phone) and then showing it to the vet?
When Bama was sick once we caught her coughing on tape...which was good because she didn't do it at the vet and I think they thought we were being overprotective paranoid puppy parents. But once they saw the video they knew just what was going on and what medicine to give.
 

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Dave T
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hi again. I hope you don't mind ,but I asked a professional trainer friend about your case. I did so in the hopes that you follow up some how. I know this is not what you want to hear for your new dog but , if what you are saying is accurate, I think this second and much more qualified second opinion is important to consider. Here's her letter to me. ...

Hi Dave,


If the dog is spending 80% of its time doing this surely its condition is suffering and its quality of life is poor. Perhaps just an exaggeration but if a dog is spending 80% of its day doing this then it is very serious and beyond the remit of anyone other than a clinical behaviourist and/or a veterinary behaviourist.


I would also suggest that she consults with someone urgently. And maybe she should be aware that her vet is not qualified to give behaviour advice unless he/she has extra qualifications to support their assertions. I am concerned that her vet has dismissed this, especially if she provided the description below.


Oral fixations such as sucking, pica etc. can be very serious and be part of compulsive, repetitive behaviour disorders. That he also seems to be ingesting items is worrying too as this obviously can lead to serious situations. True compulsive disorders are anxiety based and are neurological and therefore physiological. This means that treatment starts with medication and modification is used to treat the behavioural manifestations.


I would urge this pet owner to seek further advice. Perhaps you can help her locate a veterinary behaviourist or clinical behaviourist in her area or at least a vet who will consult remotely with a veterinary behaviourist. But I feel that a full consult and careful monitoring of this issue will be required. Ideally she will record the dog in different situations carrying out this behaviour and bring that to the consult.


This is likely a tricky one so I really do hope that they move forward to help this dog.

Wags and Woofs,
Anne Rogers
 

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I would try the redirecting. My only experience has been with some of my older adoptive children. They missed developmental stages, neglect, and would stick everything in their mouth like toddlers. Like some one mentioned it probably gives him comfort. I would try and give him toys/objects that are OK to nibble on to help keep him comfortable.
 

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Yes, it does seem to be called "corn cobbing" and that's exactly what it is reminiscent of. My poodle mix does this occasionally, but only on the hair on my husband's arms! I can see that if it was happening most of the day, then the poor dog is acting a bit neurotic, for sure. Poor thing! Please keep us updated.
 
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