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Discussion Starter #1
My 2 year old German Pointer has been with us for 8 weeks now. She has just started a very annoying habit of nipping your hand and /or jumper when you bend to pet her, she doesn't hurt just makes holes in your clothing. There is no malice intended and I am sure this
was probably how she controlled the pups she had about 6 months ago. Unfortunately she has now started to do this with other dogs when she is loose in the wood. She is enticing them to play with her as she runs away after nipping them. Some dogs owners think she is being aggressive and trying to hurt their dogs. I know she is just playing as she doesn't growl or show her teeth. Do you think she will grow out of this? Has anyone else has this problem? I have tried being cross with her and tapping her nose
but neither works. HELP!
 

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You need to show that you are the leader of this pack. You sound like you are no where near firm enough. Just remember she is the dog, you are the master. Use a tone, NOOOO, or BAHHH. Firstly you need to go back to basics, if you have her off lead, which is sounds like it cause she is trying to entice other dogs, this is irrisponsible. Get her on lead, everytime she attempts to run draw her back with a jerk (use a choker chain) and say NOOO. It has to be firm and with a tone.

She will learn respect for you soon enough. Same as if she does this to you at home on your jumper, NOOOO and if she continues, grab her collar and put her in a crate. Just remember you are the leader, not her. May sound cruel to you, but its not. For everytime she listens, give her a treat. Like a piece of liver, cooked is best. Just cut into small pieces.

Just give it a try and see how she goes.
 

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I agree with Sivaro, it sounds like you get frustrated with it, rather than firm towards the action. It does sound like it's just a playful thing, but at the same time, you being aware of that, you see no problem with letting it happen. In her view, even with just the tap on the nose and being firm, it doesn't seem like enough to steer her in the right direction. Playing is fine, but she needs to learn how to play, if that makes any sense.

Being with you for only 8 weeks too, may be another factor. She has not yet really come to turns of "checked out" her new environment, therefore is probably still trying to figure out who the Alpha dog is. Be patient, and be consistent with the advice Sivaro has given, and it should work. :)
 

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Positive reinforcement....is what is needed.Punishing in a crate is just that punishment....some people on here know how I feel about the use of crates.

If at all times you positive reinforcement with verbal instructions then she will definitely want to please you and get her rewards.All dogs want is to be loved...not punished by being caged.Disapproval can be shown by your voice and not by punishment.

My big dog was awful when i rescued him but grew into a big softy!
 

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BTW my dog used to love liver but dried out in the oven . Then i could take small titbits with us when we went out and reward him when he was doing as I told him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Although I am grateful to those of you that have replied to my plea for help so promptly, I am rather offended to be called irresponsible. Surely if i was irresponsible I wouldn't be asking for help in the first place!
Ruby only nips the dogs who refuse to play with her, and I am not even sure she makes contact with her teeth as the dog never seems to bother its their owners who think Ruby is biting them. When I catch her in the act I shout at her and put her on the lead (which is NOT a chocker by the way!) As for her 'nipping' in the house I certainly agree I should be sterner with her when she does it. (It may be better to describe it as her teeth chattering!) She has a crate to sleep in and as a place of respite so I certainly don't want to start using it as a form of punishment. I would be grateful to receive advice from anyone who has actually experienced this problem. Thankyou.
 

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I must apologize, I never meant to imply that you were irresponsible. I also don't agree with crates or choker chains.

I only meant that if you are concerned about the behavior, then it might mean that it may be presenting that there is a problem. Like, bonzy said, positive reinoforcement is the best way to go. However, if you're not concerned that your pup is causing any real harm to those around her and the dogs she tries to play with, then it sounds to me like the owners have a few control issues themselves.

If she's only doing it to dogs who won't play, perhaps she's just trying to goad them on or encourage them to join in with her. Which personally, I don't think there's much harm to, as long as it doesn't get too rough.

I'm sorry if I came across as accusing, I certainly didn't mean to.
 

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I don't think a crate should ever be used for punishment. It should be a happy, peaceful place. I also don't think putting them in the crate that way teaches them much. Take the opportunity to teach her how to behave better.

Some dogs snap the air or chatter their teeth when they get nervous or excited (I had one but she never directed it toward anyone). She also may well be snapping as a way to entice playing (mine do that with each other). Whatever the reason, it is bad social etiquette with both people and strange dogs. I would continue to put her on leash and remove her from the scene when she does it to other dogs, but don't yell because that adds excited energy to an already excited dog. Take hold of her calmly, but firmly - tell her 'no' or 'hey' or 'eheh' or 'shush' or whatever you want your correction sound to be, put the leash on and walk her away. Don't let her off again until she is calm and responding to you. Ask for eye contact, tell her to sit or heel or whatever jobs she knows or is learning until she calms down and shows you that you are the leader. Once you get her in that state of mind the reward can be being allowed to run and play again or it can be treats -- whatever is right for the given situation.

When she does it to you at home basically do the same thing. Calmly but firmly correct her and, if necessary, give her some jobs (sit, down, come, stay, whatever) so she relaxes and refocuses on you being the leader. You need to be as firm as she needs you to be so she takes you seriously. Too mild and she will not learn to respect you, but no need to be mean. Try not to feed her excited state with more excitement by yelling or getting frustrated. With repetition your correction sound will gain stronger meaning for her and she will be able to snap back into a calm, submissive state when she hears it.
 

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Totally agree with Ottertail.....It is being positive that works.....same as kids!! I have taught for 34 years and positive reinforcement was the order of theday.

The crate situation is cruel if the dog does not want to be there and how he can he ever want to be there if he is forced to be there and ignored and worse still covered up with a sheet....as I have read somewhere that someone does that too.
 

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You are definitely not irresponsible and good on you for finding a place to get some help.

The best thing to do is when your dog bites you say "NO" firmly and turn your back on him. Get up and walk away if you are playing. If play time is over he will soon realize that biting doesn't get him anywhere. Ignoring a dog is the best way to "punish" them for misbehaviour. If your dog stops biting when you say "NO" then reward him with lots of attention or a treat. Any negative attention is still attention and you will only reinforce the behaviour if you use it.

All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thankyou for your positive help and advice. I have found I can 'spot' the dogs Ruby is most likely to nip before she gets to them. They are usually the bigger old dogs such as Labs and Golden Retrievers who just can't be bothered to play with her. As soon as I see them I either quickly put her lead on or if I'm not quick enough grab her by the collar say a sharp "no" and put her lead on.
As Ottertail said it is more chattering through excitment when she is in the house as she is more likely to grab my clothes if I have been out and she is pleased to see me. I am finding this more difficult to deal with as I don't want her to think she is not allowed to show affection. I am saying a firm "no" and turning away but as its more an involuntary thing I am not sure she knows she is doing it.
 

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If it is excitement when she is pleased to see you, you may find you have better luck by telling her what to do instead of what not to do. Tell her to get a toy - hand her one. Praise her as soon as she has the toy and turn your back/ignore her if she drops it and mouths you or your clothes again. If she has a toy in her mouth she cannot nibble you. If you praise and pay attention to her when she has a toy she will learn quickly that getting one is a good thing to do.

I have Labs. They are very mouthy and always get excited when I come home. I teach them all from a very young age that they can't get into trouble if they have a toy in their mouth :). They learn easily and early to run a grab a toy as soon as anyone comes home or visits.
 
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