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Discussion Starter #1
We have an 8 mo. old red heeler (australian cattle dog) puppy and since he was about 4 mos. old, he has really been extremely mouthy and he heels us too! Ouch, did I mention ouch? We've tried yelping, verbally getting after him, tucking our hands and turning away, pinning him down like our older dog does with him, keeping him on a leash and pulling up on the collar until he stops, putting something appropriate to chew on in his mouth but nothing seems to deter him for long. He's very quick and many times nips you and leaps away before you can get him. I know he's playing, not doing it out of aggression but it sure makes me feel aggressive when he won't stop! He's had my youngest in tears several times. I want to nip this behavior in the bud (no pun intended) before he gets much bigger or severs a heel cord!! He's definitely a heeler :p He's really a good boy otherwise, a very quick learner, wants to be busy and have a job, loving.

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Your heeler is very handsome! As far as his nipping, you have your training together. What you are doing is right, but his instict to herd sounds very strong. One option that my puppy trainer said to do in class for extreme cases, was to take a small bottle of bitter apple and when the puppy nips, spray his mouth. I personally never liked that idea since you could get it in their eyes.
Have you tried a "leave it" command? This command tells them that the object in question is to be left alone. When he goes to nip try a strong "out" and "leave it".
The other thing I'd do if possible in your area is to get him into herding classes. This will give his work ethic an outlet and if goes well, he'll start to see that nipping the sheep, or cattle is the time and place for that behavior. There are many sites on the web to help you find herding facilities.
 

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Whatever method you choose to use, you need to stick to it. Some things take time to learn especially one like herding because it's in his nature.

Does this happen when he is playing with you? If so, the best suggestion I can make is to ignore him and stop the playing.

Have you tried clicker training yet?
 

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I've never done clicker training, just standard dog obedience and agility classes. When I'm feeding the horses, I'll throw his toys down the pasture to wear him out, he loves to fetch and chase. I'm thinking of maybe carrying a little squirt bottle of water to zap him when he nips at my feet, he's not wild about water :) We are using the "leave it" command with things we don't want him to chew like slippers, etc. and he's getting there but he's so mouthy, obsessive about chewing, chomping, nipping on everything! I know this will get better with age. My husky was a beaver in a past life with all the landscaping/trees, etc. but she didn't really nip us so this is new..... He used to try and herd the horses until he got stomped on once and he learned to keep away, smart guy. I'll look and see if there is anyone in our area who does herding. Bet he'd love that!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Agghhhhh, he is ruining the new trampoline!

The girls have always taken Skyler in the old trampoline to play but now with his current chompiness, have decided this isn't such a good idea.... then we got a new trampoline for Christmas and he discovered he can jump from the bank next to the trampoline onto the side and tore a big hole through the net to get in yesterday! Sigh...... what to do now? I know it's a phase but......hubby isn't happy......
 

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Oh no! Can you move the trampoline? Tell happy hubby it could be worse. A friend of ours had a lab that ate the walls in their house. Yes, when puppyhood was over, they had to replace the walls. Oh and they had to replace most of their underground extensively placed and piped sprinkler system. It was on a timer. Their lab figured out that and chewed the hoses/pipes and voila! Lakes by Jake!!
 

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My husband says we should call him "Marley"...... There really aren't too many other places to put the trampoline. I'm trying to figure out how to maybe fence off the bank area so he can't get on it. I caught him in the trampoline this afternoon yanking at another torn area and yelled and squirted him with a water bottle. He slunk away looking guilty. On a good note, tonight when I was putting out the trash cans for trash day, he listened to my "wait" command and didn't come out the open gate while I brought out the cans. He's getting that, at least :)
 

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Well to start off he is a Aust. Cattle Dog (heeler), I'll put it this way they are called heeler cause they where bred to heel the cattle, ie nip the heels of the cattle, hence the name Heeler.

What your dog is doing is what it was bred to do, there are a couple of ways of stopping him, one it the water bottle, but there is also, tapping on the nose when he does it an saying in growling voice Noo... Tapping him on the distracts him while the growly voice he'll learn that he not doing something right.

you must be firm with him.
 
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