I’m lucky enough to know from experience that having a dog can be one of the greatest joys in life! Dogs are special animals, who not only appreciate and understand but also unconditionally love their owners like almost no other pet can.
Getting to know your dog is a lot of fun because every dog has his own adorable personality, complete with funny quirks. And as a responsible pet owner, it’s important to develop an understanding of what your canine buddy’s behaviors mean so that you can make sure you’re taking care of your pup appropriately.
Be honest with yourself; Do you know what it means and what to do if your dog starts licking the couch, headbutting you, or waiting for you outside the bathroom door? Each of these could mean something serious, or they could just be little reminders that your good boy needs your attention. Caring owners take the time to know what’s really behind the behavior so we can help keep him happy and healthy.
So what about dogs that get your hair? Why does my dog bite my hair? Dogs bite human hair for one or more of the following reasons:
- Love and affection
- Attention seeking
- A new scent
- Nutritional problems or pica
- Injury or illness
You (Mistakenly) Trained Your Dog To Get Your Hair
Maybe you didn’t do it on purpose, but if you ever rewarded your pooch while or right after he bit your hair, then you may have inadvertently taught them a lesson. A lesson in how to get what he wants.
Most likely, he was trying to get your hair for another reason and as you moved him away, you did something that made them happy – like patting their head and saying ‘good boy’.
Now your dog has learned (been trained) that he’ll get what he wants when he goes for your hair. This is a mistake people make with a lot of behaviors they would prefer their dog didn’t do. Be sure you aren’t making your dog happy or letting him think he’s making you happy, by biting your hair.
Showing You Love And Affection
Your dog loves you and wants you to know it. However, it might take some time for him to learn the most appropriate way of telling you and showing his affection.
My dog Duke (the wild one for those of you who have read my other stories) is a perfect example of this. For the first few years of his life, he’d practically knock me down trying to get even closer to me as a way of showing me how much he loved me.
Of course, in reality, by human standards, at least, you’re probably fine…And I’m going to guess you’re not even close to dirty by dog standards! But that won’t stop your good boy from wanting to groom you, and making sure your hair is clean by using his mouth is just part of the service he offers!
Asking (Begging?) For Attention
Dogs love getting attention from the leader of their pack; You! If they feel they aren’t getting enough attention from you they might start trying by doing some really odd things…like getting some of the strands of your awesome hairdo as a way of saying ‘what’s up?’.
Anyone who has owned a dog knows how playful they are and how they love having some good play time with their owner. Even if your doggo is starting to get up there in age, he’ll still want to join in – I can almost guarantee it.
When your dog bites on your hair, he might be trying to test the waters and see how keen you are to play with him. What happens next depends on your reaction!
Dogs are intrigued by their surroundings and curious about what your surroundings were when they weren’t there with you.
Through scent and taste, our pooches can learn about where we owners have been or who they’ve come across. Your hair might have the scent of a new crush you were able to get a hug from, or maybe the smell of a restaurant you haven’t been to in a while. Those reasons or many others could make your hair a prime place for investigation.
Who knows? Maybe it’s even your hair itself that has something new about it, which leads to my next point.
You Have A New Smell
It could be that you switched hair products that you use to wash or style your hair recently.
As I just discussed concerning the curiosity-driven biting behavior of dogs; they can also detect new smells in our hair when we’ve come into contact with someone new or gone somewhere different.
Pica or Nutrient Imbalance
Unfortunately, hair biting can also be a sign of a serious problem. For instance, it could also be a sign that a dog isn’t getting enough nutrients from his diet which causes them to crave something that they don’t even fully understand what’s going on themselves.
There’s also a condition called pica where a dog (or any animal) wants to eat items that aren’t even considered food material such as paper towels etc. Many things can lead to this disorder so it might take some serious investigative work by you and your vet.
Sickness Or Injury
When dogs don’t feel that great physically or mentally sometimes strange behavior results from it too – like biting hair from seemingly out of nowhere.
If your dog’s behavior starts to suddenly change in more than one way, then try consulting with an expert just in case there’s something more serious behind such actions like sickness or injury being covered up.
Why Is My Dog Suddenly Biting My Hair?
As I just mentioned, your dog may have started suddenly biting your hair due to health reasons. Dogs can’t tell us when they’re sick and oftentimes will actually even try to hide that they are feeling unwell or in pain. But sometimes they can’t, and new (odd) behaviors pop up.
On the other hand, if anything changed that made one of the other relevant reasons I mentioned above suddenly appear then that could be it too.
For example, it could also be due to you changing your shampoo, getting a new boyfriend, changing what you feed your dog causing his nutrition to get out of whack, etc.
So if you’ve recently made any changes at home – no matter how small they may seem – it could explain why your pup is biting your hair all of a sudden.
Is It Normal and Okay For Dogs To Bite People’s Hair?
Is anything a dog does normal? I know when I’m hanging out with my dogs, I think ‘that is one strange dog’ pretty often!
On a more serious note, yes, it can be normal for your dog to bite your hair.
If it’s the way you two play, show affection, or you (accidentally) trained him to bite your hair, then of course it is normal.
Is it okay for your dog to eat your hair?
Once again, it depends on the reason your dog is eating your hair. If your dog is eating your hair because he is injured or if he is suffering from a nutritional problem, or as a symptom of something else that is negatively impacting his health, then that’s probably not a good thing.
Even if your dog is biting your hair for an ‘okay’ reason, you still have to be okay with it. Personally, I wouldn’t be okay with it because I think it would be annoying and gross to have a dog biting my hair.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Biting My Hair?
Dogs biting our hair can be an odd and unwanted behavior, and if you’re like me you might not want your dog to do it…no matter his reason.
If you feel the same way, I’ve got some simple steps that will help you learn how you can stop your dog from continuing this annoying and gross habit.
Figure Out The Cause
If your dog is biting your hair, the first step you should take is to figure out why he is doing it. Is it because he is injured or attempting to play? Once you have identified the motivation behind the behavior, you can decide on the most effective method for changing it.
Don’t Encourage Him!
If your dog is getting something in return for biting your hair, such as ear scratches or playing time, then he will continue to do so. Make sure that you don’t reward this unwanted behavior by giving him what he wants.
Basic Obedience Commands
Your good boy should already understand standard commands like ‘no’ and ‘off’. Say these words every time your dog tries to bite at your hair and make sure you are firm and consistent in their use.
If you’re not consistent your dog might not be exactly sure what you want. And if your dog feels uncertain about what you want from him, he won’t be as inclined to obey.
Make Time For Your Dog
In some cases, dogs bite hair because they are seeking love and affection or trying to get attention. As a pet parent, it’s important to set aside time each day for bonding with your pup. Playing with your sweet pooch and showing him love with lots of pets can help meet his need for attention without him resorting to odd ways of getting your attention.
Check Your Dog’s Diet
If you recently changed up your dog’s food or altered his feeding schedule, double-check that he has all of his nutritional needs met in order to lead a healthy life. A poor diet could be causing uncomfortable feelings or cravings which may lead him to go after your hair.
Distract And Redirect
As soon as you recognize signs that indicate that your dog might go for your hair, distract him. A quick, sharp sound like a whistle or a clap is excellent at breaking a dog’s focus.
Then you can work on the redirect. Try giving your dog an object he can play with. It’s important that you offer an alternative before he starts nibbling at your hair since offering it afterward rewards the unwanted behavior.
Call The Pros
Sometimes our best efforts as owners aren’t enough when trying to change our dog’s habits; especially if there is an underlying problem we are unaware of. If this happens to be the case for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a veterinarian or professional trainer who can provide personalized advice specific to you and your pet!
Summary and Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Try To Eat My Hair?
In summary, there are a number of reasons why your dog might be trying to eat or bite your hair. It could be because he’s curious about new smells and tastes, as well as changes in diet or the products you use in your hair. It may also stem from an underlying health issue such as pica or nutrient imbalance.
Ultimately, it is important to observe any changes in behavior that occur with your pooch and assess if medical attention should be sought out accordingly.
Whether this type of behavior is normal for you and your dog depends not only on your dog’s reasons but also on how comfortable you feel with it – some owners find it endearing while others (like me!) do not!
Luckily, if you don’t want your dog to bite your hair you can easily do something about it. With the right combination of understanding and effort, you can help your pup break the habit. Start by figuring out why your dog is going after your hair in the first place and remedy anything that it could be a symptom of.
Double-check that your dog’s diet is balanced and with all of the nutritious ingredients dogs need to be sure that he’s not suffering from a nutritional deficiency.
And don’t forget to be sure he’s not suffering from any other underlying health issue. If he is, it should be addressed if necessary
Use the basic commands your dog already knows such as ‘no’ or ‘off’, and make sure that you don’t reward his unwanted behavior. But do be sure to give him plenty of playtime, love, and attention.
As a last resort, reach out for professional advice from a veterinarian or trainer who should be able to give you more specific tips tailored to your situation.
With these strategies in mind, hopefully, you’ll soon find yourself having no hair-biting problems!