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Biting/Nipping at feet

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I have a wonderful 10 month old boder collie.

He has gone through puppy class and 2 levels of obedience. He has just begun flyball and agility classes. He loves it and so do I. But...... if I try to run with him, he bites the leash and pulls, or jumps and nips at me or bites at my feet. I originally bought him to run distance with me. I've tried "no, stop it!", I've tried bitter apple (he loves it!), Ive tried hot pepper salse, but that's pretty impracticle, and I've tried grabbing his muzzle. I've also tried ignoring him. I am at a loss. PLEASE HELP. thanks.


[This message has been edited by Rebecca (edited 07-21-2000).]

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Hi Rebecca,


It sounds like he's playing with you. But he should remember his training & behave himself. The herding instinct can be very strong in some dogs, but he shouldn't be herding anyone above him in his pack.

Since he's had obedience training, he knows the heel command. Did your trainer tell you how to give corrections for the "naughty" behavior? He should be heeling when you run, and should not break or disobey a command.

My BC used to nip at my kids' heels, but we broke her of that by enforcing the "OFF" command over & over & over again. She eventually learned that the nipping was getting her into trouble, and she stopped.

I have a soft dog though. She can be stopped verbally because she's so anxious to please.


I'm sure some of the more experienced BC owners can give some great advice. I only know what has worked for mine, and I listened to my trainer very closely. I also NEVER let her get away with it.



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You may be right about the "pack" thing. He never does this to my husband. However, I'm the one that works the dog. I do think he's just playing. But what do you mean by "I never let him get away with it?" I correct him every time he does it, but he continues to do it and has since I got him. I'm convinced that I'm just not getting through to him. If he understood that I meant business, I think he would stop. I have asked the trainers (repeatedly), but so far, nothing has worked. Believe me, I don't blame the dog, I blame myself. He is so smart and so loving and wants to please.

Thanks for your help. !!

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Hi Rebecca,


What I meant by "not letting him get away with anything" is just that. Make sure he understands ALL of the rules & never miss a correction. I don't know what you use for a correction. Find one thing that works for you & never change it. I always kept a short rope on Gabbies collar - 24 hours a day. So that every time she'd try to get away with something I could give a quick jerk & verbal correction. It was always the same - "Gabbie NO" &/or "OFF".

So - establishing the alpha position. You might want to get a training book, but I'll tell you what my trainers had me do right from the start.

First - set your ground rules. I was told never to allow her to go anywhere in front of me (meaning through doors, or in the house). So, when you go outside, make him sit/stay & wait until you go through the door first. Then call him out.

Also, certain places inside are off limits. Your room, upstairs - if you have them.

Your dog becomes a second or third class citizen - depending on how many people are in your household.

He is able to watch you eat, but does not eat until you are finished. He must depend on you for everything - food, water, etc.

These are a few of the basics. You decide his place in your family, but believe me - the behavior really changed once my Gabbie understood her place. I have 2 small children and wanted her to know that she came after them, so that she didn't hurt them.

Gabbie never begs. When she gets treats, she immediately sits like a good girl & takes them carefully from my hand.

She knows not to run around the house without my permission. She waits for me to go in/out before she comes in.

Don't get me wrong - she's a BC. She runs, jumps, mows my kids over from time to time. But she knows her place & is much happier because of that. She doesn't get into trouble as often, because she knows her limits. She'll still try to get away with things, and I'll put a stop to it the minute I see it happening.

I don't know if this helps - I'm rambling on.

If you look at some training books, they'll give you more detailed info about establishing your pack & what your role is.

Hmmm - I make my Gabbie sound pretty good. Now if I can figure out how to get her to wipe her feet when she comes in. LOL


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