new AS, some light nipping and whining all the time

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Barked: Fri Mar 22, '13 1:08pm PST 
Hi everyone,

Im brand new. I stumbled on this forum today while googling some issues we're having with the newest member of our family, Eli (as in Eli Manning from the NY Giants, my husband named him)

He is a 2 yr old "mini" AS we were told. He is 15 lbs. We are his third owner. We were told that others gave him away due to his herding the children and nipping at them but we haven't experienced any of that. We have a little dog and are currently staying at my moms house while our house is being built, she also has two small dogs. So three other dogs under 5 lbs are with Eli and he is great around them, plays nice and doesn't nip them.

On to our issue. The first is that he sometimes gets "spooked" from what I can tell from his body language when he goes in his cage and starts nipping at our hands through the cage. I tell him "no bite!" and he generally stops. I think this just may be some anxiety issues from him being in shelters several times between owners.

The other thing we've noticed is that he is very co-dependent on us. The lady at Petco rescue told us he was a big snuggler (which he is for the most part) but sometimes he just cries and whines no matter what we do until we are physically touching him. Even if we're playing with him he whines but once we touch him, he calms down. I think he just needs that physical connection but Im not sure how to not stress him out when I can't pet him if Im busy making dinner, etc.

Other than that, he's a great guy. Knows how to sit and that's about it, his disposition is friendly other than the occasional nip when he freaks out a little bit. Any suggestions for us to help him feel at home would be great. I know once we are in our house with just our two dogs (Eli and Libby) things will be a little better for him. I feel like there's a lot of stimulation all the time with three little dogs running around him.


The Monster
Barked: Sat Mar 23, '13 5:57pm PST 
I would recommend reposting this in the Behaviour & Training subforum.

Behaviour & Training

He's probably pretty overwhelmed right now, so give it a few weeks for him to really settle down and show is true personality. You'll either see him calm down, or you'll see him show more behaviour problems.

Read up on positive reinforcement and behaviour modification. Some great starter books are Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor and The Power of Positive Dog Training by Patricia McConnell. A lot of his insecurity can be dealt with by classical conditioning and showing him what you want him to do instead. Rather than saying "no" try to figure out how to get him to do what you'd prefer he'd do. It's a better, more effective, clear way to deal with behavioural issues.

Anyways, I'm going to cut this short since I don't have a lot of time. I suggest re-posting in B&T, and I'm sure people will have a few more pointers for you. I strongly suggest reading at least one of those books. Good luck!

Member Since
Barked: Mon Apr 8, '13 10:44am PST 
One thing we've tried with several dogs that has always worked re: crating. When you crate them, give them a kong ball filled with peanut butter or spray cheese. We only crate at night, so if you are watching the dog's weight, you won't want to use this method if you crate off and on throughout the day.
They come to associate the crate with a special treat (don't use the kong ball for anything else), and they practically ask for bedtime!