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Thread: a Dog that Nips

  1. #1
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    a Dog that Nips

    Two months ago we adopted a dog, bringing our total to three. The three dogs have worked out their hierarchy and all seem to acknowledge that I am the Alpha. Each dog has plenty of room to room to run and play, and each has his own den area. My problem, is that the new dog, called Blondie, spends a lot of time and energy going after my hands or wrists. Blondie is part terrier and part who-knows-what and the vet.'s guess is that he is about a year old. As far as we know, he has not been abused, he was just a little unlucky in the people who thought they wanted him. When he tries to get his mouth on me, he doesn't seem intent on inflicting harm, he just jumps for my wrist or hands when I am playing with the dogs, working in the garden, or when I have a bowl of food. He usually does this when he sees me after a long absence, such as when I get home from work, or first thing in the morning. I've tried blocking this pesky dog with my hip while telling him "no," but it doesn't seem to work. Any suggestions as to what this behavior means and how to STOP IT???

  2. #2
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    If I understand the kind of thing you describe - a small nip with the front teeth, often several in quick sucession? - it is a sign of affection.
    If you were another dog with a nice covering of hair it would be felt as a very gentle tug, not at all painful.
    As you have found out it can hurt human skin quite a lot!

    Spend some play time with this dog alone. As soon as a nip occurs say, "Ow!", drop whatever you are doing, turn your back on the dog and cross your arms. Look upwards while you do this. Don't go back to the game until the dog has calmed down and has wandered away from you a little (this may take some time at first!). Call him back, ask for a sit and then give quiet praise before resuming the game.
    This is not a serious problem really - the dog justs needs his bite inhibition heightened to include "love bites" to humans.

  3. #3
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    Yes, Carrie, Blondie gives a series of little mouthing nips, usually with just his front teeth. When he does this his tail is going fast and his ears are perked up. He is especially interested in getting my attention this way when I am interacting with one of the two other dogs. Affection???? That makes sense when I see all the dogs interact and how crucial biting, nipping, licking, etc. is in their communication. I will try your suggestions. I do love this little fellow, but YIKES! Enough already!

  4. #4
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    I had the same problem with Perry, he would get excited and usually nip me on the butt when I was walking, get in between my feet and nip at my ankles. This happened when we first got him, Carrie is right, we lavished him with attention and this nipping has really stopped. My biggest problem with him now is that he hates any kind of leash, haven't figured that one out yet.
    Jackie


  5. #5
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    Jackie..... I will not give up!! ......!

    The lead problem is an extension of Perry's position, as he (and, lets face it, you!) sees it. The lead is a form of control that he is determined he can do without and he knows how to put you in your place when you try to put it on him.

    I know you love him and will live with the lead problem...... but I have to try !!

  6. #6
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    Carrie, he goes crazy when he sees the lead or the harness. What I have been doing is making him sit, not easy to do when he is so excited, or I stand up and turn my back on him, because he is excited to go for the ride, he knows that the harness and lead means he is going in the car. I wait until he settles down and then I make him sit and put his harness or lead on. It seems to be working fairly well. What do you think?
    Jackie


  7. #7
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    Just HOW DO YOU solve a problem like Maria?
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    Winter likes to nip at the rest of my family usually in the rear end when they are walking down the hall, other then that the only time she tries to nip is when we're practicing for agility but with her it's part of her nature...she is a border collie after all so I'm trying to get her to understand that it's better if she stays quite and not nip while and we're running together, of course at the moment that's on hold because of the no running instructions from the vet.

  8. #8
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    Jackie - WOW!
    I am one happy behaviourist!
    Excellent job - keep it up....now if I can just sneak a few more little things in......
    I am smiling - a LOT


    Winter is a different problem altogether!
    It is in her nature to herd, and along with this is the nip - but you do not have to and should not put up with this behaviour
    This is not a breed quirk, it is a behaviour that is seen as acceptable by the dog because it is allowed.
    Winter is pre -designed to use this as a strategy to get what she wants - it is up to you to decide if it works for her, is acceptable and if it continues.

    Millions of collies, both working and non-working, live their whole lives without nipping. While it is a natural behaviour to her the only reason she keeps doing it is because it has some reward - it may be keeping strangers away from her, getting familiar people to do what she wants, getting positive feedback from the nipped person (high pitched squeals and fending off hands) or a hundred other things.
    If you are happy with it then it can't be seen as a problem - if not, it can be stopped.
    She sounds like a very clever dog and must be fun to have around - be aware though, that your breed is not a analysis of your dog.

  9. #9
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    Like I said the only time Winter nips at me is when we're training for agility or something, it's the rest of the family that she likes to nip in the rear...and she usually does it when I'm not there to correct her. I know my dad usually just ignores it because she does make any contact with him and my mom probably yells I'm not sure what my older sister does, but I know that general feeling is that we want her to stop.

  10. #10
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    O.K. This is a rewarding activity for Winter. She believes that at times of excitement she is encouraging you to do what she wants you to do faster by nipping.
    Try this for a week and get the rest of the family to do it too and I garuntee you will see a massive improvement.

    As soon as Winter attempts to nip, even if she makes no contact, the person on the receiving end should stop dead, cross their arms and stare at the ceiling (sky if you are outside). Continue to do this until she looses interest and turns away. Be careful not to speak or look at her until she has turned away - really given up on the whole idea, not just circling for another go. When she does turn away continue with what you were doing as if nothing happened. She will quickly learn that her behaviour achieves nothing and things only happen when she restrains herself.

    Let me know how you get on.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Carrie I'll tell the family what you suggested and then we can try it, and of course I will let you know how it turns out. BTW Winter is now eating without me having to eat something in front of her first so thanks for the help with that

  12. #12
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    Fantastic! If you can solve an eating problem then a nipping one is almost too easy - it is just a question of everyone doing the same thing, all the time and then the reward for the behaviour is gone.....so the behaviour has no function....so it also dissapear.

  13. #13
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    s (!!!!)

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