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Oofph, me again! Sorry, I feel like I ask a lot of questions!

 

I had a question on how to handle nipping on the face.

 

Ever since bringing Dallas home when he was 9-10 weeks old, I've had an issue with him nipping my face (and now my husband and brother-in-law's faces). It started whenever I'd have to pick him up to take him up or downstairs, usually upstairs back to our flat. I assumed at the time that he did it because he didn't want to go back inside. The way I solved this was, when he was a few months old, I stopped carrying him upstairs and just had him walk.

 

He's 7 months old now, almost 8 months. The nipping the face had died down. Not entirely, but it has died down compared to when we brought him home. Typically, Dallas will nip on the face if he's on the couch with us. He does this funny/weird "rawr rawr rawr" as if he's full of beans and nips me on the face. He never does this when he's calm, but usually when he's wanting to play or just wants something in general.

 

My brother-in-law was just over and likes to play a bit rough with Dallas. (Getting on the floor with him, kind of wrestling). Dallas nipped him on the chin and drew blood. So, I know that was actually more my brother-in-law's fault for playing rough. Even my brother-in-law said that. However, this nipping has got to stop. I'm worried it could do more damage - plus, it's just not pleasant to be nipped :rolleyes: I'm not sure how to get him to quit. What we have been doing is just saying "ah-ah!" or "no!" and stop playing with him or push him off the couch if he has done it while on the couch. This doesn't seem to be having any effect. I mean, we've been doing that since we brought him home and he's still nipping!

 

I don't feel this is out of aggression because he never snarls, growls, bares his teeth, etc. It is really like a crocodile snap, I think I've seen someone describe it as before. I know for sure it isn't a full-blown bite either because he would do a lot more damage than a pinch to the skin (or the slight cut my brother-in-law had - it wasn't deep at all).

 

We take him to play fetch and have a nice, big run around at the beach and/or the park every day for at least a total of 2 hours, some days longer, so I feel like exercise isn't the problem.

 

Anyway, any advice would be great!

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How does Dallas take food from your hand? In other words, does he take it slow and gentle or fast and frantic? If the latter, maybe start there. And yes, keep faces clear of his teeth.

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Puppies learn bite inhibition from their litter mates. When they're playing and nip too hard, the other puppies yelp and play stops abruptly. The offending puppies learn quickly that nips = the end of fun.

 

I've always been taught to do the same thing with nipping puppies. Use a high pitched voice to yelp "Ow!" or "Ouch!" and then immediately ignore the puppy. Play can resume later on a calmer level.

 

It sounds like your pup didn't get this from you when he was little. Instead of actually dealing with the nipping you just changed your tactics and avoided the situation when nipping occurred, so he didn't learn to curb his enthusiasm.

 

So, yes. Now you need to retrain what he should have learned months ago.

 

In the meantime, most definitely keep him away from anyone's face and whenever play becomes too rowdy, stop it before it gets to the point he's so riled up he wants to bite. He should be limited to calm play until he's learned to play appropriately.

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My female BC used to be a nose nipper. Just like a crocodile, she'd wait for the perfect moment, then leap and snap those pointy little puppy teeth. I tried to redirect her to toys, say "No" that type of thing. Then I remembered the litter mate behavior. One day she got me good! I squealed like a stuck pig and got up and walked away. That was the end of it!

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Cool, thanks y'all! We'll work on the retraining and keep faces away from teeth.

 

How does Dallas take food from your hand? In other words, does he take it slow and gentle or fast and frantic? If the latter, maybe start there. And yes, keep faces clear of his teeth.

 

Dallas is typically really gentle when it comes to taking food from our hand. He tends to be fast but not really frantic. He's always gentle, though.

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I have dealt with this by yelping like a dog, and then taking the puppy and shutting her in another room or her crate for 5 minutes, or yelping and then completely ignoring her for same number of minutes. They are doing it to get attention so you give them the opposite of what they want. And the yelp is something a puppy understands.

 

One puppy who persistently bit my ear, I finally got really annoyed when other things did not work and I turned around and bit her ear. That took care of that. Wasn't my puppy; the owner told me it had been a problem for a while but after that she never did it again.

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I'd say start over, keep faces out of reach, do the yelp-and-ignore tactic and put her on a time out if she can't calm down. Over excitement is a big contributor to that sort of thing. They think they are just playing, but even older dogs won't tolerate too much puppy-biting to the face. ;)

I also have no aversion to an actual physical correction and a big NO, sometimes. I don't mean beating the puppy, but when my little female kept trying to leap up in my lap to bite my nose (!!!), I got the light cardboard roll from a roll of paper towels, and if she didn't take a verbal correction, she got a light bop with that. It wasn't traumatic, didn't hurt, wasn't abusive and got the point across.

There really is no harm in just saying NO. ;)

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I don't teach pups not to bite like the pup's littermates do. I teach them like their mother does :D .

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I am with Gloria on this one.

Even if it is not aggression, a face nip from a 7/8monthth old dog is a rather scary experience. Snapping jaws in your face by a bordercollie sized dog...

I would definitely say "no", and I would say it only once, after that it is "coming down like a ton of bricks" time. The dog has to understand that this kind of play with humans is absolutely unacceptable.

Until that is clear I would not let him on the couch with you.And certainly no more playing rough like your brother in law did.

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What Maja said, and it generally only takes once!

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What Maja said, and it generally only takes6 once!

Probably/maybe, when we are talking real puppies.

I know the rather strange habit of calling dogs "puppies" when they are imo way past that life stage.

I personally would not call an 8 month dog a puppy anymore, and by that age such a behavior has become more or less ingrained. I think it is a bit optimistic that you will be able to cure this problem with one single correction at this point.

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If I had a 7-8 m/o nipping at my face they would get a very upset verbal what what the heck do you think that youre doing?!?! Its not acceptable and its fairly dangerous if kids are involved at all

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I had Bonnie at the age of 7-8 months and her mother in the same household. It didn't seem the mother changed her technique at this stage from the time at about 5 weeks old (up until 5 weeks pups were not corrected in any way, and after that period, Kelly very diligently taught them puppy manners).

 

7-8 month old usually are the growing pains of adolescence and both older bitches in our household treated Bonnie's dumb ideas in the same way. And this is where the difference is in my opinion: Sometimes the "litter mate" response works best because the pup is just ignorant. But sometimes the pup is testing the boundaries and then it may not work so well. But the way a good older dog reacts to such mischief is in my opinion a good track to follow. Kelly, Bonnie's mother - always impressed me with her dispassionate, short and decisive correction of the youngsters, much in the way that Gloria wrote: She always warned them first with a short growl. And if that didn't work, then the next step.

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P.S. Long time ago, I bought a video by Derek Scrimgeour The Shepherd's Pup - much to my surprise the youngest dog there was, I think, 7 months old, and there was a "pup" in the video that was 1.5 years old. I figured at that time that if Derek says it's a pup, then it's a pup. Later, it was very useful in training, since a dog this age looks grown-up, but mentally it is very immature.

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Dear Doggers,

A simple cuff, repeated when necessary had always worked for my pups. In this instance I think the Ouch solution is safer. Donald

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P.S. Long time ago, I bought a video by Derek Scrimgeour The Shepherd's Pup - much to my surprise the youngest dog there was, I think, 7 months old, and there was a "pup" in the video that was 1.5 years old. I figured at that time that if Derek says it's a pup, then it's a pup. Later, it was very useful in training, since a dog this age looks grown-up, but mentally it is very immature.

Derek can say what he wants (btw make no mistake, I have a huge respect for Derek Scrimgeour as a handler, instructor and writer), in my book a 1.5 year old dog is an adult. I would suspect "pup" is more used as a term of endearment, rather than literally meaning pup.

My wife and I have the silly habit of talking about our younger horses as "tryppi" ( an Icelandic term for a horse between 1 and about three years old) even though they have been under the saddle for years ;)

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... in my book a 1.5 year old dog is an adult.

 

I would agree. But the OP's dog in question is 7-8 months old.

 

Borderline puppy to be sure, but not a year and a half old young adult. ;)

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And I was making a distinction between the dog in the original post that started this thread and any tangential reference to a dog twice its age. ;)

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I don't think anybody is confused :D . My post was only pointing out that that referring to a dog under a year old as pup is not anything weird or unusual, and that in training, some folks go much further than the age in the dog in the OP, making the 7-8 month old very much a pup.

 

It seems that most people agree that the end of puppyhood is about 9-10 months. This when the pup can handle actual training on stock rather than simply being encouraged to work sheep. That means mentally they are mature. The interesting thing is that dog shows also put the limit there - puppy class ends at 9 months.

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A bit tangential, but I was surprised at first to hear sheepdog folks refer to starting dogs as "young dogs" no matter how young or old they were age wise. It was about experience on livestock rather than chronological age, so that a 7 year old dog -- or even older -- in the early stages of training is still considered a young dog.

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Haha, to be fair, he definitely doesn't look like a puppy now! I still refer to him as a puppy because of his age, but once he hits a year I'm just going to refer to him as a dog :rolleyes: either way, they're cute so it's all good!

 

Thanks for all of the suggestions! We have stopped the rough housing completely and that has helped.

 

Dear Doggers,
A simple cuff, repeated when necessary had always worked for my pups. In this instance I think the Ouch solution is safer. Donald

 

What do you mean by a simple cuff, Donald? Sorry, I'm a bit slow on the lingo!

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A bit tangential, but I was surprised at first to hear sheepdog folks refer to starting dogs as "young dogs" no matter how young or old they were age wise. It was about experience on livestock rather than chronological age, so that a 7 year old dog -- or even older -- in the early stages of training is still considered a young dog.

 

This is also done in agility around me. Okay, not always 'young dogs' but even a 7 year old just starting can be a 'baby dog'.

 

And no, no confusion from me. Until the dog's a year old, it's a pup. Once it's a year old it graduates to that 'baby dog' thing, where, for me, it sits until it's 3. THEN it graduates to being a proper dog.

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