Greyhound Teeth Chattering: 7 Possible Reasons & Solutions

Teeth chattering is typical behavior in greyhounds, and most people’s first thought is that it’s because they’re cold. However, shivering is rarely the cause of teeth chattering in greyhounds.

Chattering is a form of communication. They might use chattering to tell you something or to communicate with other dogs too. The most common reason is that they’re happy or content. 

What Does Greyhound Teeth Chattering Look Like? 

Your greyhound teeth chattering will look like a typical human shiver. You’ll be able to see their bottom jaw moving up and down rapidly physically, and you’ll hear the click of their teeth. You can also feel the chatter of their teeth when you’re patting their head. 

Because a greyhound’s teeth look similar to human bottom teeth, except for their canines, it can even look quite amusing. 

Diagnosing exactly why your greyhound’s teeth are chattering can be a challenge, so here’s every possibility and what to look out for.

Happiness Or Contentment

greyhound dog teeth chattering

Greyhounds might chatter their teeth as a way to show you that they’re happy or content. It’s just like a cat when they’re purring.

You’ll notice this when they’re sleepy or chilled out at home, and it’ll most likely be when they’re cuddled up to you. It’s a massive compliment, as your greyhound is enjoying the bond you have. 

How To Diagnose This

If your greyhound is laid out in a relaxed position, their chattering may be accompanied by a tail wag. It might be that they’re just settling down to sleep with you or that you’re petting them in just the right place. 

You might also notice this if you have multiple dogs. They’ll use this behavior as a signal that they’re happy with each other too and that there’s no danger around.

If this happens when your greyhound is just meeting a new dog or other pet, it could be a good thing, showing that they’re happy with the stranger and feel comfortable with them around.

The ‘contented chatter’ should always be accompanied by tail wagging and open, inviting body language. 

What Should You Do About It?

Keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Your greyhound is loving the attention or is enjoying their time with the other pet. 

Excitement

my greyhound chatters her teeth

Chattering can also be a sign of excitement. This might occur just before a walk, when you get home from work or if you’re in the middle of a play session.

How To Diagnose This

Your greyhound will have a wagging tail, open and active posture, and might even be crouched low to the floor in a pouncing position or rolling on their back if they’re expecting belly rubs. 

When your greyhound is excited, they may jump up at you if they’re not adequately trained. This, coupled with teeth chattering, could appear quite intimidating. But it’s just their way of greeting. 

What Should You Do About It?

Teeth chattering because your greyhound is excited is a good sign; it means that they’re enjoying themselves. However, some of the other symptoms of excitement could be bad.

They need to understand that teeth chattering is acceptable but jumping around and causing chaos isn’t. Turning your back and ignoring your dog when they do that will quickly and gently teach them that the behavior doesn’t get them the attention they’re asking for.

Nitting

why do greyhounds chatter

Nitting is the common practice of teeth chattering against someone’s skin. Greyhounds are well known for this, and it gives the sensation of a very slight nip. They won’t draw blood, but it can cause bruises if it happens often.

(Read my full post about it.)

How To Diagnose This

Nitting isn’t like biting. It’ll be clear that your greyhound isn’t trying to hurt you. You won’t experience any growling or barking beforehand and no aggressive behavior.

There isn’t much research regarding nitting and why it might occur. However, based on your dog’s body language, it seems that greyhounds nit when they’re being affectionate or possibly when they’re feeling anxious and need your attention. 

What Should You Do About It?

Nitting in itself isn’t anything to worry about from your greyhound’s perspective. However, it could become off-putting or annoying especially if you have guests, and might even be concerning if you have young children.

There are a few ways that you could deal with nitting:

  • Treat Training – Tell your greyhound to stop the nitting behavior and give them a treat when they do. Repeating this act will show them that they only get a treat when they aren’t nitting. 
  • Remove Attention – As soon as your greyhound starts nitting, stand up and walk away. They’ll begin to learn that nitting is achieving the opposite of what they intended as you remove your attention from them as soon as they do it. 
  • Do Nothing – Some owners find nitting cute and can cope with it. As it’s technically not bad behavior, just annoying, you could leave it as it is. 

Hunger

teeth chattering in greyhounds

Because teeth chattering is primarily a communication method, your greyhound might be trying to tell you that they’re hungry.

How To Diagnose This

This usually occurs if you have set mealtimes and you happen to be late with their food for some reason. It might appear while you’re standing in the kitchen making your food too, as it’s a sign that your dog feels you’ve forgotten them. 

What Should You Do About It?

If you are a little late with their food, then you’ll need to feed them as soon as possible to keep to their routine.

However, if your greyhound is chattering because they see you eating your food, you shouldn’t give them food just because they’re displaying this behavior.

This will encourage them to chatter their teeth every time they see something they want, assuming that the chattering is why you gave it to them. 

Attention Seeking

Greyhound teeth chattering Reddit

Teeth chattering could be a sign that your greyhound wants your attention. It’s sweet that they want to be near you, and this behavior could be seen as affection, as they value the time you spend together. 

How To Diagnose This

You might notice this if you have a busy lifestyle, and your greyhound misses you being around the house. It’ll usually occur when you’re busy, maybe doing housework or office work, you’ll find your greyhound wandering around the house after you. 

It could also happen if you’re sitting relaxing and your greyhound feels that you’re chilling a little too much and that you should be spending that time petting them. 

What Should You Do About It?

Spend some time with your greyhound. They deserve your attention, especially if they’re chattering their teeth rather than jumping up at you or barking.

They’re asking in the politest way possible. Take them for a walk or snuggle up and watch TV together. 

Feeling Threatened

Feeling Threatened

Teeth chattering can also be a sign of fear or to alert you to danger. This may happen if you’re out on a walk and your dog sees another dog that they don’t like or is worried about something that’s in front of them.

How To Diagnose This

Instead of the friendly, polite teeth chattering that you’ll be used to, the chattering will get louder and appear more aggressive. Their stance will change so that their head is lowered and their feet are further apart. The chattering may even turn into a growl. 

What Should You Do About It?

Walk away from the thing that’s bothering them as soon as you can. Getting closer to something that’s upsetting them will only make the situation worse. Turn around until they feel more comfortable. 

Anxiety

greyhound teeth chattering while sleeping

Greyhounds suffer from separation anxiety. It’s recommended that you don’t spend more than 6 hours at a time away from your greyhound or get them a friend so that they’re not alone during the day.

When you’re out of the house, they worry that you won’t come back or worry about having to protect the home while you’re not there. 

Chattering can become a nervous habit if this is the case and may even bleed into the time that you spend together when you are home. The more anxious they are when you’re out, the longer the anxiety will last after you get home. 

How To Diagnose This

Your greyhound will likely sit in a corner and be noticeably less friendly while they’re chattering. You might even notice a loss of appetite and other changes in normal behavior. 

Chattering because they’re anxious will display as a constant habit, and they’ll gradually become jumpy and may start to avoid you. 

Don’t confuse this behavior with the teeth chattering that occurs when your dog runs up to you when you come home from work. This is generally through excitement as they’re happy to see you. Genuine anxiety will cause your dog to become more reclusive. 

What Should You Do About It?

Crate Training – Putting your greyhound in a crate while you’re out gives them comfort as they have a smaller area to protect. If they only need to look after the immediate area that they’re sitting in, they won’t feel as much pressure. 

Dog Sitting – If you’re going to be out for a long time regularly, it’s a good idea to get a dog sitter to look in on them during the day. 

Friend – Greyhounds are social animals and need other members of a pack to keep them company. Consider getting another dog (preferably another greyhound) to keep them company.

Walking – A long walk just before you’re about to leave them alone will help to tire them out, so hopefully, they’ll sleep for most of the time that you’re gone.

Conclusion

Overall, teeth chattering is entirely normal behavior. However, it would help if you tried to look at the other behaviors that your greyhound displays while the teeth chattering is occurring. This will help you diagnose if there’s a broader problem to deal with it at the source. 

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