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Problem, my 1 yr old dog is bitting my elderly mother.

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Let me give some background.

I have the almost perfect ( just turned 1 year old ) male BC that is neutered.

He is very loving to everyone, very smart and well trained. I used clicker training.

My mother is in her 80's and lives with me. It's just me ( 53 year old male ) and my mother living in the house.

He listens to me and obeys every command I give him. He usually spends most of his time with me as he is my dog.

Only on a couple occasions when he was around 5 months old did he ever try and bite me and it was when he was wound up and I was trying to get a leash attached and he tried to nip me twice. He never did bite me and hasn't tried since.

He is a little mouthy meaning when playing or rough housing he will put his mouth by where you are grabbing him.

I tell him off when he does this and he is getting much better, he never grabs you just puts the mouth by you or the side against you.


He is very affectionate with my mother but he does not listen to her much.

The problem is my mother doesn't follow the rules and lets him get away with not doing what she asks.

She is limited physically and very slow moving.


Recently she thought his ear looked red and called him over so she could look in his ear and he turned and nipped her. Her skin being like paper from old age so it broke the skin. There was nothing wrong in his ear and he lets me inspect anything without protest.

The other night she thought a ball rolled under his food station and when she tried to move it to see and get it for him he tried to nip her again but missed. This has happened maybe 4 times now that he has been aggressive with her.

He seems to be testing her for pack status is my guess. I'm not sure how to handle this.

I am thinking she needs to do some Basic training with him ( sit, stay, come), under my supervision and without any physical contact but i'm not sure. I want to stop this before it gets out of hand. I am also not going to allow any more mouthing on me. The second he does it I will ignore him.

He never seems aggressive except with her for that split second. The second its over he seems normal.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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From your description, it sounds as if your mom may not be able to follow your rules about handling your dog. At 80 yrs old, she may forget or not understand the need.


You might seriously consider crating or otherwise safely confining your dog when you're not able to directly supervise him. You'd want to get him used to it, and having your dog crate easily or rest in another room without you is actually a great thing to have.


I'm sorry there isn't a fix that would allow the two of them to hang out together, but it doesn't seem a safe or realisitic expectation.


Good luck,



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You can teach the dog to respect other people...even if other people don't necessarily ask the dog to behave. For example, we've always asked (well, demanded) that our dogs sit before anyone pets them -- and it was a struggle when the pups were six months old and full of the dickens... but they learned to sit and wait for the signal to "say hi." And they have to keep four paws on the ground at all times. People would say, "Oh, it doesn't matter if he jumps on us," and we'd explain, "It matters to us."


The reason for this is, DH and I also both have elderly mothers, (mine is 86 is pretty active and lives on her own, and and DH's is 76 and has Parkinson's Syndrome and is now in a care facility where the dogs regularly visit....they can't go charging up to fragile people who can't fend them off. My mom is dog wise -- but still, she's 86, so they have to behave around her.


And you are correct -- manners begin with you. How you play with your pup (i.e. the mouthing, the food guarding) has a direct bearing on how the pup will act with other people. Take some time to read a few behavior/training books and start with one or two things you'd like to correct and build from there. Clicker training is great but when you see a problem developing, there's a great deal of literature out there beyond the clicker books. (I believe in positive reinforcement, but the micro-second a dog starts mouthing, he gets a correction. That kind of behavior leads to nothing but trouble.)


If he wasn't already nippy with her, I might suggest that your mother work with him a bit as well, getting him to sit, lie down, etc. and reward him with treats -- when my mother in law was living at home (next door), we had the pups go through a mini-circus routine with her every night because it amused her and was good training for them, but it might be best if she not try to feed him for a time until he understands that it's VERY IMPORTANT to YOU that he be on his best behavior around your mother. In fact, in the beginning, my MiL had a difficult time delivering the treat - she wasn't fond of puppy slobber - imagine that! She would draw her hand back just as the pup was taking the treat, so she was in effect teaching them to snap at her hand for the treat, so we had to teach HER to toss the treat to the pup in order to not create the bad habit of snapping at someone's hand in them.


So, while you're watching what your pup is doing, watch what your mother is doing as well -- is she giving the pup the right signals to help him to behave? Or is she giving mixed signals, like my MiL was about the treat? This is way using a crate when you're not present, as was suggested is a great idea. Cognitively, neither your mother nor your pup may not be able to understand how to stay out of trouble and it's best for all concerned that they are separated when not supervised by you.



Raising pups -- and parents is tough work :).



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Gee, it's pretty hard to give specific advice without being there, seeing the behavior, knowing your dog, etc. First thing I will say is at 12 months, he is a kid, a teenager really and you will probably see changes in his attitude and behavior as he matures. They will definitely test to see what they can get away with. I saw a big change in Quinn at 18 months as far as his confidence and trying to push the other dogs around. I had to really clamp down on the interactions between him and the Lhasa and to this day (Quinn is 5) monitor them fairly closely, always ready to step quickly so tensions don't escalate.


With your mom's fragility, you may want to consider keeping your dog and mom apart when you are not home to make sure he will follow your rules for interacting with people (Rule 1 is no teeth on human skin ever!). Crating or keeping him in another room, for instance. When you are there to intervene as needed, see if your mom is willing to have him do some simple commands for cookies now and then. Not sure what her take on the situation is, but I can see this continuing to the point that it really becomes dangerous for her and for your pup's future.

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Great advice and It all makes sense and kind of what I was thinking needs to be done.


He is such a great dog and he will learn. He is very affectionate with my mother except for those few incidents, so we have discussed how to avoid them and so far so good. Avoiding the potential problem and having them interact under supervision, i think will be the key.

Thanks for all the help!

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