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About a month ago we rescued one of a seven pup litter of lab/border collie mixed pups. Max was about 11 weeks when he came home to his forever home. I'm having tons of fun, training him into the dog I want to be a great member of our little family.

 

I do have one concern though, he is a nipper. I mean, a NIPPER. He is smart as a whip, was housebroken in a matter of days. He doesn't even want to piddle in the front yard and I think he'd be mortified if he had to do his business during his walk. When I was growing up we lived in the country with a woods right across the road. Our collie always went there when he needed to. Max is like that with the back yard. THAT is where he goes. But to get back to the issue....

 

I read a lot of the posts the other day about nipping. This is not something he did when he first came home. It is a habit he is trying to develop. I taught him early on to come and "be good boy" for a treat which he does well if I can get his attention. At times though, he is so intent it is hard get his attention and I have to grab him to stop him. He is really bad with my husband. Bill uses a walker and when he gets up to go anyplace Max is right there. I'm feeling like he is attempting to herd him. He is also nipping our arms though. Maybe the most difficult time is at night when we are going to bed. He sleeps in our room, usually on a pillow next to me on the floor. Once we are in bed all is fine, and I can protect Bill, he can be a little bugger with me. He has started grabbing my night clothes. The good boy routine isn't working at this time of the day.

 

So, can I get some feedback? I'm sure as I hear back I can pinpoint the issue better, but if anybody can give me some advice I'd so appreciate it. He is probably about 4 months old now. I'm beginning to think about a professional trainer. My concern is that rather than puppy nipping, this is a border collie nipping.

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Welcome! This is a good place for all sorts of information about Border Collies and crosses with Border Collies. And thank you for adopting a rescue pup!

 

This is not "herding behavior", it is typical *puppy behavior* and something you need to nip in the bud (pardon the pun).

 

There can be several approaches to dealing with this particular problem. Some find the use of a sharp, "Ouch!", to distract the pup, get him to look at your face, and allow you to distract him into a preferred behavior. Some pups respond very well to this (more sensitive pups, perhaps?) and some don't.

 

When I have a pup that begins a nippy behavior, I first try the above. If that is not productive, I try substituting a more desired behavior - in other words, get the pup doing something else that is rewarding and interesting.

 

Teaching a pup the "leave it" command can also be helpful - that is described in other topics previously posted (I don't have time here to go into that right now). That teaches a pup to leave whatever it is (ankle, shoelace, something on the floor) and look at your face for redirection.

 

And, if nothing else works for me (all the *nice* options), I have no problem taking hold my pup's muzzle, and sternly saying "No!". If the pup "gets the idea", the pup gets praised and redirected. If not and the pup goes into a tantrum, I lift the pup off the floor by the scruff of the neck (hind feet on floor, pup supported by my other hand) until he realizes that the behavior is unacceptable, is not getting him what he wants, and he relaxes and yields.

 

Gotta run, and I know others will chime in with better advice! Best wishes!

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Thanks Sue.

 

I read someplace else (in fact I think it was your post) that at his age it isn't herding, rather puppy behavior. I hated to admit the behavior was just plain naughty! At this point the little angel is going to find himself lifted I think. I have done that a few times, even though I have read it really isn't necessary, just talk quietly and "sternly" isn't getting it with Max. I almost laugh to myself because he is almost comical!

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Of course, the first image that popped in my mind with your title was a serious-looking, largely-black (just a dab of white on the nose and the hairy chest) dog in a white lab coat, maybe a tray of test tubes on the counter behind him...

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Welcome to GABO (Grand Association of BLab Owners), we have jackets ;).

I feel like I hit the jackpot and got the best of both worlds (see: photo below).

 

Cerb did exactly the same thing and the advice I got here was invaluable. Another vote for bud nipping (nine out of ten doctors agree..and if you know that reference, yer old or had a wasted childhood)

Again welcome...and we love pictures!

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Agree 110% on the crate!! I'd quit playing with him at all in the bedroom - I'd want him to understand that bedroom = chill. To this end I'd have a crate and a couple of safe chew toys for him (like nylabone). Yoyu know that todders who start acting all hyper when they need a nap? Pups are the same!

 

What are you doing with him in the way of training and exercise? At this age he'd soak up training like a sponge and it would exercise that little brain so he'd settle better, too. Age appropriate exercise is pretty important - a tired pup is a good pup!

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The "Ouch!" in a hurt voice worked for us. Also, when Star would nip at the kids I had them stop, turn their back, and ignore her. That worked well too and might help with the walker situation (except perhaps he won't be able to turn away, but maybe look away?).

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With Fergie, we did the really hurt "Ouch" with a cringe away from her. Not what she wanted to happen, so the nipping stopped quickly.

 

Another method, if that doesn't work, is a shake can: a soda can with pennies tapped inside - maybe 10-12. When Ferg did something we needed to stop, like lunge for a passing car while on leash, we'd yell "NO!" and shake the can near her head. Worked a treat.BTW, that's leash in the left hand, can in the right, swing right hand over above the pup's head, and shake hard.

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Turbo our aussie was horrible for nipping/biting when he was a pup. If he was calm, he was fine. As soon as he got hyper or amped up, he was all bitey mouth on whatever. It took over a year before my husband could pet him or ruffle up his fur vigorously without him instantly grabbing his arms and trying to play (aka nip/bite). You could pet him a couple times calmly and that was it. It was almost like human touch was too exciting for him. He also had nipping issues if we moved quickly, or if Andrew was carrying anything large (furniature, lawnmower, wheelbarrow, computer monitor). It seemed to take forever, but he started saying "no bite" as soon as he felt the mouth and then getting up and walking out of the room and over the barrier we had to keep Turbo out of the living room. So eventually I think Turbo realized being mouthy got him no attention. My current pup will act like she wants to jump and grab my clothes if I run. So far as soon as I see she's starting to get that behaviour in her head, I slow down and tell her to sit and then give her a treat for that to distract her from what she was about to do. Seems to work well for her.

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