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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 9-month-old Rough Collie pup Sergeant is the sweetest, and rarely nips and loves to give kisses. One problem he has is he'll start licking while I'm snuggling with him/petting him and then he'll start nipping at the same time he is licking. He even does it to my younger siblings while licking their face and ears (usually when they are hugging/cuddling him) and I don't want him to accidently hurt them. How should I go about training him not to do this? I've been stopping cuddles/pets and saying a firm no. Tips and corrections would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Are you sure he likes hugging as much as you think? Dogs don't see it as affection, they see it as restraint.

You could try the five second rule.

Stroke him for five seconds (some dogs prefer you avoid the head) then stop. Only if he initiates further contact by nudging you or similar, continue for another five seconds then stop again. Continue only for as long as he keeps asking. That gives him control and in turn that will build his confidence around you because he knows he can make it stop at any time.
 

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Ask your younger siblings to stop hugging him. I have only known one dog in my life who actually liked being hugged; it is very uncommon for a dog to like that.

Joanne's advice about the 5-second petting is good.

Do not say "a firm No" to the dog!
The dog is trying to communicate with you, and it seems to the dog that no one is listening to what he is saying. Most likely he has given off other signals that he doesn't like what is happening right now, but you have not seen them so he thinks you are ignoring them. If you continue to overwhelm him with hugs or petting and keep telling him No if he nips he may very well feel he needs to escalate his response. This is very often how a dog ends up biting someone, and the dog if we could ask him would say something like, "I tried and tried to tell them and they wouldn't listen!". The dog always pays the worst price for this. Don't do that to him.

It's not your fault if you have missed the signals so don't feel bad. No one knows dog body language until they learn it, right? But in the future, while you are using the 5-second petting rule, observe him. How does he respond? Do you see a little tongue flick? An ear going back? Does he ever look away or lick his lips or yawn? all of those and many other things are stress signals that you can learn to recognize and know your dog better. He will love you for it and it will prevent future misunderstandings. You can look up dog stress signals or dog body language on the internet and find many places that will hel you to learn these things. And it's really quite fun to learn, too. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the tips and much needed corrections. I will definitely do the 5 second rule. I will watch for other signals; I feel bad I was correcting him for what is normal!! Thank you so much for all your information!!

There is one other thing he does that I don't really know what to do.
Sometimes, if he's really excited (if someone in our family has just gotten home, or he is just greeting someone in the morning) he will jump straight up and bang the person they are greeting with his nose. Like not licking or anything but just a solid wham! Like yesterday I was copying our tom turkey's gobble and he leapt up and banged me. Maybe someone will be able to tell me what this means/what to do? Thanks!!
 

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It sounds like maybe excitement, but easy enough to fix.

Dogs struggle with ’don’t do’ things, just like us. If I said to you, don’t think about a football field, what’s the very first thing that comes to mind?

So, rather than teach ‘don’t jump’, teach an alternative but incompatible behaviour. For example, a really well rewarded ‘sit’. He can’t jump up while he is in a sit, but importantly, it has to become a far better choice for him, so break out the good treats.
 

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I definitely use sit and down when I run into a friend in town, and I want to chat for a bit without the dog tugging at the leash. However, sometimes an over excited dog simply can't manage sit or down. It's like I've poured Coca-Cola into a water bottle and am shaking it. The bottle simply isn't strong enough to contain the fizz, and eventually the top pops off. Doggy wiggles need an outlet if the dog hasn't yet mastered impulse control. Instead of requesting stillness (sit, down) I ask the dog do do something that requires movement. Some of the exercises I have taught my dog include spin, back away, touch, wave a paw, go get a toy, come to heel, etc. Depending on what's happening these exercises are still incompatible with jumping on the person walking in the door, but they allow for movement and provide a relief outlet for the excitement.
 

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Since this jumping up is a habit he has, you probably know the most likely times he will do it. When you see it coming, if you have not had time for the sit cue (which is a good thing, but you may not have time for it sometimes) then take steps backward, or turn to the side, so that the dog cannot connect with your body and lands on the floor instead. Then ask for the sit, and praise.

If you have something at your back making backing up impossible, then bring one leg up so that your knee is in front of your body, blocking the dog from hitting your face. This will bump him back down onto the floor. Don't move your knee outward, it's not necessary, and might hit him in the chest too hard; just let him bump into it himself. Again, as soon as all four are on the floor, cue a sit and praise.

If the dog is always prevented from doing this, one way or another, he will eventually stop doing it.
 
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