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We are new to dog ownership and got a border collier pup about 5 weeks ago. We all love having him. The only concern we have is that he bites us often, especially our 11 yr old son. He almost gets like he is in a frenzy sometimes. What Is the best way to deal with this? Reading the info on this site I have come to realize that border collies need to be dealt with diff than most breeds. Thank you so much for any advice you have.

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Welcome! Rule of thumb - puppies bite, the higher drive they are the more they could bite. As high drive puppies get tired, they can become biting terrors. For my youngster, I would play with/hang out with/give him stuff to do for an hour and then crate him (where he'd nap) for 1-2 hrs. If he was out and about and started acting crazy (biting, couldn't calm down) I took it as a signal that he needed a nap (in a covered crate). This routine worked really well for my pup and seemed to proactively curtail the biting.

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You don't say how old the puppy is [ETA: Sorry, I see that's in the subject heading], but you should be aware that puppies nip in play. You'll find several threads in the archives that detail how people deal with it.

 

My first suggestion, however, is not to allow your pup to get to the point of frenzy in the first place, for so many reasons with nipping being only one of them.

 

It can become a firmly fixed behavioral trait in no time, and my general rule of thumb is to never allow puppies to do things that seem cute now but will not be when they're older, bigger and stronger.

 

If you haven't already, I'd strongly suggest you find a good positive reinforcement behavior trainer and enroll in a puppy or manners class, depending on your pup's age.

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BTW, this Ask an Expert forum is intended for questions specifically related to questions related to herding training that a rotating expert trainer will answer.

 

You may want to repost under General Border Collie Discussion where you're likely to get more replies.

 

And it's quite possible that a moderator will move it to the proper category.

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If your pup is in a frenzy, he's too wired, he's been out too long. Either crate him and let him sleep for a couple of hours, as suggested, or walk him and then crate him. Like young children, puppies are poor at monitoring themselves and get overstimulated easily. In addition, without meaning any harm, young boys often play rough with puppies and that increases the pup's desire to be rowdy and nip. You can play actively with a puppy, but not roughly. Nice bonding takes place on long walks and that might be a better way to get to know your pup and also tire him out at this stage of his development. Maybe more walks, a little training on the way, and a bit less play if that's what gets him biting.

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Ditto to what everyone else has said. I have a 9-week-old at home right now. She nips. She grabs pant legs. She grabs ankles when I'm walking (ouch!). Fortunately for me, I have a pack of dogs, anywhere in age from 18 months to 14.5 years. When she nips at any of them inappropriately she gets corrected for it, usually also with teeth. I am not advocating doing that with your puppy of course, but when she nips me, I cry out (after all, it hurts), which is usually enough to get her to stop whatever she's doing, and then redirect her to something that is appropriate for her to bite/chew.

 

My pup is pretty good at settling herself, but if she's getting too rambunctious, in the crate she goes. I also second the kids and puppies rough housing thing. If nipping is allowed at those times, then it's going to be more difficult to teach her that nipping is inappropriate. Consistency in how you react to the nipping is paramount.

 

So redirect him, crate him regularly to be sure he's getting plenty of rest (some frenzied nipping can be the result of being overtired or overstimulated) and also to teach him that there are times when he just needs to settle down (this will be invaluable when he becomes older and you want him to have an "off" switch), and make sure that your own behavior/play isn't encouraging the things that you don't want him to do.

 

J.

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When my pup was younger she wasn't much of a biter except if she was tired and then she was a little monster. I used to put Nattie down for naps just like I did my children when they were toddlers. Sometimes if Nattie got overstimulated she would bite and a little 15 minute timeout in the crate seemed to calm her and change her back into my sweet little girl.

 

Also, watch how your son plays with Remi. Years ago when my son was 11 we got a puppy. My son never teased or was unkind to the pup but he loved to roughhouse. Because my son played rough the puppy played rough and sometimes my son would get the puppy overexcited (wild puppy was fun until he started biting). I had to teach my son calmer ways to interact with the puppy.

 

Just now as I was typing this I had to tell my 12 year old daughter to play a calmer game with Nattie. I could see puppy was starting to get a little wild.

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Please check out Dog Star Daily (google it) to learn how to teach Bite Inhibition!!! This should be a must for all puppies and this one is definitely in need of it! Dog Star daily is a free website for fantastic dog training info and several of the presenters are Border collie owners.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our BC was a biter too. Don't mistake this for aggression. I was terrified about having an aggressive dog when I first got my BC, but all those behaviors (biting, nipping, growling as a puppy) faded with consistent training. What I did (and I tried everything) was to play the "OUCH!" game. If she bit too hard or too much, I would yell out "OUCH!" and then dramatically ignore her. There wasn't an immediate change, but the pup now (14 months old) has no issues with biting and if we wrestle or rough-house she will only mouth my hands or body (many trainers will discourage that, but I allow my BC to mouth me when we play, but I still enforce the limits with the ouch game, or just stop playing if she gets too excited, which she rarely does)

 

The other issue I faced was her constantly biting at my pant legs. This drove me crazy. Growling, biting and not stopping made me think I had a terrorist dog on my hands. The best thing that worked in this case was to calmly push her away and redirect that biting energy to a stick, ball or tug rope. By 4 months the behavior was gone. Whew!

 

I also agree with everyone about not letting the pup get to a frenzied state. Make sure she's tired from appropriate play and then give her crated "chill out" time. I think it's really good for their psyche to learn to be calm like that.

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