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breaking the heel herding of people (namely me)

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Helo

1233718
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 25, '12 7:18am PST 
I recently (about five weeks ago) acquired an ACD puppy. After years of happy Golden ownership, my fiance and I looked at sharing our lives with a different breed. The ACD was on our list and we got a great puppy from a great pair of parents. (He's 5 1/2 months old)

I am familiar with retriever mouthy behavior, but this is obviously different. He insists on nipping at my feet and herding me around, particularly if he has to go outside and we're headed toward the door. It's dangerous when he's around my 89-year-old grandmother and not loved when he's around the rest of us. I hate it, particularly when it's morning and I'm in my bare feet or shorts.

He's also become very vocally demanding and mouthy (chewing on me and nipping). I know he needs a ton of exercise (he's getting long walks in the morning and hours of play in the evening). We're working on training, etc.

I knew this was a breed characteristic, so I'm not overly frustrated with it or surprised by it. But I do want to figure out the best way to increase his gentleman self. He's smart and SO eager to please me. I'm sure we can figure this out, I'm just not sure of the best way.

Sorry this is so long. Thanks.
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Sheila

Bossy Diva
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 26, '12 1:58pm PST 
Try to stop walking immediately when the pup starts to heel. Turn and face the dog and say "no" in a firm voice. Hand it a toy to reroute it's focus. It took awhile for my pup. She's 16 months now and rarely tries to heel. The nipping took a bit longer with her. The nip of the ACD's is more of a pinch. I had bruises all over my arms. I would immediately grab her muzzle and hold it closed for a couple of seconds, say "no bite" and try to make a really mean face while pushing her away from me. Then I would ignore her for a few minutes. I think it was the ignoring her that really worked since she wants to be with me all of the time. She doesn't nip me anymore. She will still start to mouth me when we play but as soon as I say "no bite" she stops. ACD's are a headstrong breed so sometimes it just takes a lot of consistence.
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Helo

1233718
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 26, '12 3:28pm PST 
Thanks so much! I've been instinctively stopping walking (what made sense to me) when he does that and he's gotten better even in one day. This breed is AMAZING for its ability to learn...I am just stunned every day by how much he wants to please (without being squirmy or overly submissive) and how quick he learns.

On another forum, it was suggested a time out, but I don't want the crate to have too much negative association (other than he is in it when we're gone). Do you think that will work?
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Sheila

Bossy Diva
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 26, '12 4:09pm PST 
Sheila loves her crate. I think they come to view it as a safe place. She will go in by herself for a nap sometimes or just some quiet time. We did use the crate for time outs when she would get too hyper. Just for about 2 minutes at a time. Just enough to change her train of thought. The funny thing is now if I get upset with her I tell her she needs "time out" and she runs into the family room and goes into her crate all by herself. Pretty funny to watch.
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