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Instinctive nipping at other family dogs

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I have a BC (rescue) and a Wire Haired Pointing Griffon (also a Beagle, but she is not an issue whatsoever). My BC has a very strong (but very sweet) personality. That said, there are times when he lowers his body position and looks "intense" and then nips the hind end/leg of the Griffon. Of course, this rarely ends well. We have had many a fight in our house (mostly with only pinched skin, occasionally battle scars, but always sounding horrible!) and I want it to stop. I've started researching intensely and found some very useful information, and I determined that I need to start at square ONE with the BC in obedience training. I have no idea of his history before I got him except that he did know tricks (shake, down, sit, etc). He's very bull headed, but trainable. Some tricks take literally minutes to learn. But keeping him out of the kitchen is impossible. So, that said, I've begun positive reinforcement training for BOTH dogs. Treating them equally to show each one that it's a level playing field. This seems to wear them out mentally, which helps a lot! But I still have a long road ahead. So, the top two issues are:


1. Unwanted nipping by the BC at the Griffon (it's NEVER at anyone/thing else)

2. Charging the front door when people come/doorbell rings (this is a small space where fights are likely)



I have contacted a trainer that specialized in herding dogs (she has BCs and Aussies). She is going to do an in home consult to begin with.


Suggestions are appreciated...thank you!


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I'd work on a "go to place" command both for the keeping out of the kitchen issue and charging the door issue. Train one or both dogs to go to a mat or something and stay until released. On the management end, I'd try and keep the two dogs that are having an issue separate as much as possible. Are either or both of them crate trained? Crating and rotating may work well for giving them some space until the trainer gives you some more tips once she sees them.

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For one thing, do what chrisandgabe recommends. I had a friend with a very reactive dog. She did a combination of training (teaching a "spot" to go to) and management (making sure her dog went to the spot which was away from any "congested" or "contested" area).


A major problem is that when a behavior becomes ingrained (becomes a habit), it is much harder to overcome but that can be done with smart training and consistency. Oftentimes, teaching an alternative behavior (like going to a "spot" or going into the crate) can help a lot as it takes the place of the problem behavior, and the training itself has intrinsic benefits other than just avoiding a particular behavior.


Very best wishes, and I'm sure others will contribute good advice.

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I find Border Collies very Focused and it can take some practice to figure out the best way to break that focus so they can 1. hear you, and 2 so you ask for another behavior.


Some dogs do well if you use a particular word, others a sound like a hand clap, AH, but most will do better is you interrupt the Thought before it becomes an Action. YOU anticipate him nipping and correct the thought rather than after the fact.


The door thing is a common problem. In an excited situation many dogs get into spats, that can be the owner pulling into the drive, in a dog kennel boarding situation, greeting people, playing with toys... I would address the situation individually - work on one dog with the other dog in another room, in a crate ect. Teach each one the way you want them to react to someone coming, get that really good with each one before trying together. Set them up with friends coming ect, keep them on a leash so they can be successful. Be matter of fact and calm will go a long way to helping them remain calm.

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