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Surprise painful nipping... Not sure how to deal with the situation.

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Paisley

Flat Coated- RetrievingAlaska- n Cattle Dog
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 9:39am PST 
I play with the dogs every day in our backyard. We try for regular walks, but sometimes it's just too hot (100+ degrees last week). The walks should get better as it's FINALLY cooling down outside, but that isn't what I'm here for.

Paisley is a Doberman mix, we think there is potential for some ACD in there too. She was *supposed* to be all Doberman (from a Doberman rescue) but...you know how rescues can be. laugh out loud

Essentially, as she has grown up, she has developed this playful nipping that surprises me. I throw a ball (which Pixie chases for HOURS) and play a bit of tug with Paisley. Gunner watches us like we're loons.

I've tried all kinds of things with her, but she is so unfocused on me (always) and easily at her threshold that I have to keep games calmer for her. If it gets out of hand, I get nipped.

I'm not talking in terms of flea biting (though she does that, too), I'm talking when we play she is almost always over her threshold and she jumps up and nips my arm. It not only hurts, but it breaks skin. Not a major bite, and it's always in play. She'll even initiate it.

I'm wondering if this has to do with the ACD we think is in her. If she wants to "herd" me. She can't stand it when anyone (dogs, cats, or humans) run. That's when this starts.

Pixie deals with it by stopping and standing still until she stops play bowing. Then she'll finish chasing her ball or whatever.

I'm not sure how to change this behavior. When it happens all play stops, I mean. I literally turn my back on her and walk into the house. Usually looking at the pinch-like bite on my arm. confused

This has to change. In the next couple of years we're talking about having a human puppy. I can't have her nipping like this with a baby around.

Help, please?

Dayna and the pupsters.
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Niki

1229379
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 9:55am PST 
My Aussie sounds like he has similar behavior. When he gets really excited (like every morning), he will lightly grab my hands or arms. I always have toys around so he has something to bite instead of me, and if he does I stop playing and saying "no".

He also gets over-stimulated if he wants to go swimming but is nervous about jumping in. In those cases he will yelp, jump in the air, and sometimes try to nip at me. It's like he's frustrated and just wants to go in the water sooo bad, but is hesitant to jump. In those cases I keep sticks handy and he usually sails in after one.

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about non-aggressive nipping. I know my solutions aren't perfect.
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Paisley

Flat Coated- RetrievingAlaska- n Cattle Dog
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 10:21am PST 
Thanks Nikki,

I try and throw stuff for her--but she is only interested in catching it. Sometimes. This girl is so ADHD she can't even focus on the tastiest treat in my fridge if she is more interested in something else. I just don't know how to deal with her displays of inattention.

And it's not as if she hadn't had any formal, fun training! We've been in two agilitiy classes and two obedience classes. She is actually better behaved out of class than in!

I just don't know what to do. shrug
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Niki

1229379
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 5:07pm PST 
Amp up your exercise schedule. Try to take her out for an extra 30 minutes more per day .... of straight running, playing with other dogs, or hiking. I would actually recommend 45 minutes, but 30 should be enough to see a difference.

Also make sure you do a lot of mental stimulation at home. I have taught Ben silly stuff like opening the mailbox or how to unflip a plastic container with his toy under it. Really simple tasks and games can be good mental challenges to dogs. Do lots of short training sessions a day too ... I definitely notice my dog is more exhausted when he's had to think for a bit. wink

Do you crate at all? I use a roomy, soft-sided crate and put Ben in it when he needs to calm down. Sometimes he's like a little kid that needs a nap. When he gets overly playful and into everything, I know he needs a little downtime. He settles down quickly .... and recharges for later! lol
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 5:31pm PST 
Have you tried yelping? A lot of times, puppies are too hyper for that to work, but older dogs will often freeze and then apologize. I'd also recommend praising her profusely (and give many treats in succession, if she'll take them) any time you see her think about biting and restrain herself by turning her head away, licking instead, or stopping the motion so that she mouths gently (since you may have a two legged puppy in your future, once she's got that, you may want to teach not to mouth at all). If there's anything else she loves that you can give her or do with her, go for it. Anything to help her realize that that was a very, very good behavior so that she'll try to figure out what she did right. If you can pinpoint certain occasions where she nips, you could try teaching an incompatible response, like, when you see dogs running, chase mom to the corner of the yard, sit, and get a treat.
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Paisley

Flat Coated- RetrievingAlaska- n Cattle Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 4:49pm PST 
Kodiak, thanks for the help. You, too Nikki.

Paisley isn't a pup anymore. She is a lovely two years old. We used to crate, but don't need to except for car rides any more. And this play behavior is exclusively outside.

I like the idea of treating her for an incompatible behavior. Perhaps I'll try that this evening. Or start the process.

The hardest part is finding something she really cares about. It varies from day to day. confused
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 4:57pm PST 
Paisley, I have TWO females, one poodle and one Crested, who are constantly jumping up in excitement and nailing my arms! it hurts and they even make me bleed!
My only solution is to let those two out AFTER the rest are already outside, OR to wear long sleeves! I can yelp, or say HEY, but they KNOW they aren't supposed to do it, they just can't help themselves.
After the initial beginning of playing, I can do anything with them and they WILL NOT ever nip at me, only in the excitement of going out to play. They only do it to me, too.
I also have a cat that does that to my legs. He will actually duck away as soon as he bites me, but then he always comes back for more. He does it first thing in the morning while waiting for his breakfast. I call it love bites but that doesn't make it hurt any less!!!
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Paisley

Flat Coated- RetrievingAlaska- n Cattle Dog
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 5:45pm PST 
Toto! BOL! I've tried the yelping thing too--absolutely pointless! big laugh

My cats also nip my hand in "love". It doesn't hurt as bad as Paisley, who is actually worse when I'm wearing sleeves. I think she thinks they make my arms squeaky toys. confused laugh out loud

Thanks for the help!

ETA: posted as wrong pup...red face

Edited by author Sun Sep 9, '12 5:46pm PST

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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 7:44pm PST 
It does depend on the dog, and probably the more worked up the dog is, the less effective yelping is. It didn't work very well for Kodiak as a puppy, but my current foster responds really well to it when he nips my hand playing tug. If I yelp, he is very concerned, drops the rope next to me, kisses me, and wants to climb in my lap instead of going back to playing.
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Bhaira

Belly Rub! Belly- Rub!
 
 
Barked: Thu Sep 20, '12 5:55pm PST 
Does it ever happen outside of these games? If not, then I would eliminate them entirely from the repetoire. I know they are fun, but this type of nipping can be dangerous. There are other fun games you can play to tire Paisley out and enjoy each other's company. I'd especially suggest nosework (talk to Asher!). It really tires the pups out, it's incredibly fun for the both of you, you can do it at home, AND I've seen it help OCD and reactive dogs calm down more than any obedience class could.
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