nibbles and nips

September 12th 2014

“Isis is a dear little dog,” I think as she begins to nibble my fingers, hands and arms. I feel privileged to be the recipient of these endearments.

Aaaaaaaaargh! as they say in the Beano.

It bloody well hurts. (As they don’t say in the Beano.)

G explains it’s affection. As the owner of serial Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, he has had numerous lovingly inflicted wounds.

“And comfort nibbling,” says J. Ben, his German Shepherd does it sometimes to his bead bag as he prepares to sleep.

My wise friend S explains that dogs who have had little or no interaction with other pups don’t learn ‘soft biting’. Generally, of course, parents and playmates growl or squeak when a nibble becomes a nip.

And my ‘educational’ squeaks become shrill screeches when a little white tooth is planted between my knuckles – and a bellow when a sudden burst of affection climaxes in a sharp nip under the arm.

But little Isis learns quickly. Over several days, I squeak (or screech or bellow, according to the suddenness and intensity of pain received) and now a firm, deep “No.” and a swift withdrawal suffices.


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