New dog is 'bitey'

stir_fryiApril 17, 2010

My DD's friend just got a puppy. 7 months old "collie mix" -- it looks to me to be part border collie.

Nice dog in general. Seems to love people. Here's the problem.

When my kids are over there playing, especially in the yard, the dog gets very excited. She then gets very "bitey" or "mouthy". When I arrived to pick my DD up, she was on the ground and dog was biting at her ankles because she fell.

When you come in their front door, she will also jump on you and kind of mouth your hands.

I know this isn't aggression but honestly if she ends up biting my kids in the face, I'm gonna be mad.

Right now, they drag her away by the collar when she does this.

I imagine there is way to train her to stop doing this. They plan on taking her to classes. In the meantime, since she is not my dog, what can I tell my kids to do when the dog wants to use them for a chew toy??

PS: On a different topic, this family has two very nice cats. They cats have decided to live in the basement for the last three weeks since the dog arrived. Is there any hope that the cats will come around? Right now the dog is too curious about them (barks at them) and it freaks them out.

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Yes, the cats will work things out on their own. Next have your kids remain more quiet while in the puppys presence. Even tho they just want to play with the puppy they are reinforcing bad behavior. There should be no pulling, no tugging, no running, no yelling. The kids want to play with the puppy they can bring a toy or ball with them. That is what you tell the puppy, tell it NO when it starts to get oo excited, and teach it to play with the ball instead. Puppies explore the world through their mouths and noses, and to be a bit mouthy is normal, but it should always be discouraged and a toy given to the puppy as a positive reinforcement. Be patient it may take awhile. The kids can also YIPE in a high pitched tone like they are hurt when the pup gets too rambunctous, this is how pups tell each other enough is enough. Training is great, but it must be applied daliy and by everyone, you and your kids might want to ask to sit in on some sessions so the kids can learn how to be around puppies without jacking the pups up too much. Teaching kids how to handle dogs can benefit them throughout their lives. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 2:29PM
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If those kids "yipe" at the puppy, they're identifying themselves as the submissive ones in the child/puppy relationship.

Border collies are herders, & nipping at the ankles or feet is one way they herd.

which is vastly inappropriate behavior with human beings.

Dog's owners must, absolutely *must*, put a stop to this.

I'd guess obedience training ("owner training") would be a good place to start.

In my experience, cats who smack an upstart puppy immediately teach the puppy to leave them alone;
the fact that these cats are hiding already seems very bed to me.

I wish all of you the best.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 5:39PM
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I think Sylvia is on the money. Seven months old is getting on toward adult in size and also in habits. It is a natural instinct in a herding dog, and it should be stopped immediately, by correcting the dog each time it does it. It's not puppy play anymore.

The children are basically being herded. The dog isn't trying to attack them, but is trying to control them. Of course children playing in yards with dogs present turn on a dog's triggers, who wants in on the action. I suppose the kids are being boisterous and noisy and squeally (normal activity for kids) and that's an invitation to the dog to join in.

I'd suggest if you are concerned, that the kids play in your yard instead until they can get the dog to understand what they expect of it. The adults who own this dog may have to actually be around it for awhile when the kids are playing so they can verbally correct the dog and intervene, instead of dragging it away after the fact. The dog probably doesn't even know it's doing anything wrong and does not associate the consequences with the act.

Another reason why people need to research a dog's breed to see if it's a good match for their life. I think this poor pooch can be taught to restrain itself. But I also think that turning it lose into an arena of activity you/they know will excite it is poor reasoning.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 7:10PM
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I saw a trainer on T.V. put peanut butter on the kids hands so the dog learned to lick humans instead of bite. I have a six month old puppy but I've had her since she was two months old and like all puppies, she nipped at first. That's how puppies play with each other. I just held her mouth and said no biting. It's much easier if you get them at the very being. Not to mention that a two month old puppy's teeth aren't as hurtful as a seven month old.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 7:12PM
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My dog is also naturally 'bitey' around small children who are running / shrieking, and like you described, not in an aggressive way. But it is still frightening and upsetting to the child who is the target.

I am wondering whether their dog is like this around all children, or mostly around smaller children and visitors?

Our dog will back down if kids stand firm and give her a 'sit' or 'down' command. My older children (13, 11 and 9) were able to do this fairly quickly, but it took a lot longer for my youngest (who was 6). We practiced A LOT, starting with our dog on a leash, so my daughter would feel safer and more confident.

I left a leash on our dog, so that the kids could step on it while giving the 'down' command (admittedly, though, this works better for bigger kids). And my daughter also liked to keep a toy handy so that she could throw it (because our dog will always chase after it) if she thought our dog was close to that 'overexcited, bitey' behavior.

It is good that your neighbors are planning to take their dog to training, but some training for your child might be helpful too (I know, you shouldn't have to, but in the interest of her comfort and safety...) I notice that if I give my dog the 'down' command on behalf of a small child, she will stop, but will do it again later. Whereas, if the child does it, she stops completely.

Not sure if your neighbors would be open to you working with your child and their dog, but it might be the fastest way. In any case, I wouldn't let my kids play in their yard with with the dog running loose until the situation is more under control. Like you said, you will be mad if your child is bitten, and the consequences might be disastrous for the dog as well.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 5:35AM
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We have an American Eskimo - I know exactly what you mean. Definitely training - of both the dog and the kids. My guy is now 6 and can't resist coat tails - but has stopped nipping at hands and feet. Problem too is the shape of their mouths - they don't have "lips" so that the teeth are right there and Eskies for sure have the jaws, teeth and claws of death. Re the cats, our Eskie loved our cat - it helped that they each weighed 22 lbs. - but when out now he will rush other cats (always on a leash) but if they hiss at him he will look shocked and back down - even if said cat is a 10 week old kitten. It will take time, but the cats will just have to train the dog - we have been through it a number of times - and also hope that the dog does not see th cats as prey - he shouldn't. Certainly a very small kitten - or a tiny dog that perhaps looks like a mouse, could be a problem. But all that said, I know many a cat who when a dog such as our Eskimo (or Border Collie) moves in, the cat is quick to pack the dog's bags - and hope. We once had a Beagle who was adorable but dumb as all get out. He found a cat in the cold and we took her in. She was very smart - and became his supervisor - but when people were over she would set him up so that she was the "victim". After our Beagle passed, we adopted a seriously smart Dachshund - and of course she was very happy to have a hound-type dog around again - although it was quite a shock to her to discover that he was smarter than she was - and she was brilliant. But the 2 made a stellar pair - the things they could get up to. So there is hope.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 3:51PM
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My cats are currently training my rescue dog (Brownie) ... there were a couple of scary episodes, and he got his nose scratched pretty good ... but he needed that to learn.

He just loves to chase ... so when they calmly walk in or by him, everyones fine. When they run, he runs. Which I keep telling him not to do. It's much better than it was, and cats are getting more comfortable with him. Just takes time and patience.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Well when I picked up my DD today, she got off the trampoline and the dog just ran up, jumped on her and bit her in the arm!

None of these bites break skin but I hope they train her soon to stop.

Also, I would like some advice from dog owners on what to do when people's dogs jump on you. On Martha Stewart's show she said to put your leg out at a 90 degree angle. They supposedly only like vertical surfaces. It did not work with this dog -- still jumped on me.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:17PM
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I'm sorry, but if you're so worried that this dog might accidentally cause an injury (and this surely sounds like excitement in the dog more than aggression) why do you still allow your children to be subject to it? It's like you're waiting for the axe to fall and then it'll be 'their fault' but actually you have as much responsibility as the other party to prevent it. It's a pup, it's boisterous and it may not settle down for a good long time.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 8:09PM
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The bigger problem, as I see it, is the fact nothing has been done to date. That bewhavior is relatively easy to correct, if done right. The trouble begins with doing the corrections right. If done wrong, or intermittantly, correction can actually increase the problem. You should tell the owners thay have a problem that is relatively easy to fix now, but left uncorrected will create a huge problem later. Hopefully, the owners will listen and make the corrections.

You, and your kids can, if you choose, let the dog know you and they will not allow it to do the jumping/mouthing behavior. Dogs are smart enough to differentiate between easy marks and folks who will not allow misbehaving.

You and your kids need to let the dog know its behavior is unacceptable. The time to stop jumping/mouthing/nipping is before the act happens.

The problem with this prevention technique is that you have to be confident and dominant without being aggressive. What you are signaling is you will not accept the jumping/nipping behavior, not being mad/upset/domineering.

When the dog approaches, face it squarely, lean forward a bit and say NO! as it approaches. If it still does not stop, move forward a step. That signals your dominance and lets the dog know you will not tolerate the jumping/nipping. Turning/backing away actually increases the bad behavior.

If you and your kids are not positive and confidant you can do this, the better course of action is to avoid the dog. Why? Because the actions of the dog now are a precursor of its future dominant behavior. If that behavior is not modified, it will accelerate until the dog begins doing damage.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:57PM
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Similar story, but slightly different. My friend's dog is a 10 month old beagle, so it's not about herding. He will jump/nip at you (adults, no kids around) - your knees, your butt, whatever. He runs up behind you so you don't necessarily see him coming to stop him before it happens. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:08PM
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IMO this owner is an accident waiting to happen.Poor dog just needs some limits set by someone that knows how to set them...sigh.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 11:12PM
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I completely agree. As does my friend. But she doesn't know what to do, and I have personally never had to deal with a dog with behavioral issues (at least not like this). Because you can't catch him doing it, he thinks it's a game. Can you give me some examples of how you would "set limits"?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 5:14PM
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