Nipping back of legs

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Nipping back of legs

This is a discussion on Nipping back of legs within the Introductions forums, part of the DogForum Community Welcome category; I have a mixed breed dog that we rescued 3 years ago. We are pretty certain he is at least part dachshund. When people come ...

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Old 05-15-2011, 09:15 AM
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Nipping back of legs

I have a mixed breed dog that we rescued 3 years ago. We are pretty certain he is at least part dachshund. When people come over to the house and we are home he barks terribly, but settles down pretty quickly. The problem I am having though, is that even after settling down, there are times when our guest is walking away from him, he will suddenly jump up and nip the back of their leg. I don't know if it's because he's startled into being protective or just aggressive behavior. This behavior only happens when my husband or I are around (his beloved owners). Is it possible that he is part herder breed and is just trying to "herd" the stranger away from us? Any suggestions to stop this behavior? Normally, he is the sweetest thing ever.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:54 AM
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It sounds like he is actually a little bit afraid of strangers, as exemplified by his furious barking when they get there. Often fear turns into a bit of defensive aggression, so as the people walk away, he can sort of "chase them away." Your presence sort of emboldens his bravery, and he is also finding out that the visitors always leave when he does this, so it works to get rid of the people who are making him uncomfortable!

So what I would say the way to go after this problem is to increase his comfort level with strangers. You could do that by having visitors get on the floor with him and toss him treats. If pup is willing to take treats from visitors hands, that's even better.
Then, when visitors are ready to leave, put pup on a leash to prevent him from "chasing them away" as that is a sort of self-reinforcing behavior and its best to prevent it.

So overall the theme would be to help him to enjoy visitors, increase his comfort with them, associate strangers with good things (treats) and prevent the unwanted behavior.

Please be skeptical of any advice you might get that involves punishment or corrections for the undesired behaviors. Anything negative will just reinforce for pup that strangers are dangerous and bad things happen when visitors come over, and will therefore increase his fear and increase his defensive-aggressive behaviors.

Good luck and do let us know how things go as you try to improve this situation!
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:25 PM
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ditto tess, great advice

i would add, that it is really important that you not put pressure on the dog to interact with things he is afraid of, so it might be better for you to give treats to him until he is actively/happily approaching your guests, they can gently toss treats in the dogs direction, but people have a tendency to think that the dog should come up to them for the treat and this puts pressure on the dog to approach them.

be generous with this, seriously you want the scary thing=raining ham/chicken/hot dogs... save the dog's entire meal for this. and if you cannot give him treats, then confine him in his crate/bedroom/dog room with a nice stuffed kong so that he isnt forced to interact with people when he is afraid you might find this video helpful

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Old 05-18-2011, 05:40 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll let you know how it goes!
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