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jferb1948

Suddenly Nipping

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We have a rescue dog 3 yrs old now 4 yrs (border collie mix but looks and has all border collie traits) we got her a year ago. She is a great dog in many ways but did have to get used to the fact she is also  very sensitive and timid and wants nothing to do with other people In the last month we have allowed her to start sleeping in our bedroom. she loves this and is always happiest when she is with us. She is very good with me and my husband. My husband has Parkinson's and uses a walker. Just recently, when he gets up at night to go the the bathroom and when he is trying to get back in bed (he moves a little slow) our dog will get up go to him and start nipping at this legs. This just started. 

My question is why would she do that and how to stop her?  Thank you in advance for any insight and help with this.

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Is the walker new or has he used one since you have had the dog?  Is his movement 'different' at night than during the day?  Has she been nipping only since she has been sleeping in the bedroom?  Where did she used to sleep?  What does she do if you get up during the night?

I would simply tell her Ah, No or your word she knows to stop doing something then ask her to go lie down.  The other option is a crate in your room at night.  I personally would try to figure out WHY she is doing it and then desensitize her.  It may be she is anxious because she senses something is not right.

 

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Does she do it during the day?  If only at night I would try turning on a light and see if she still does it.  Does your husband usually have someone with him, close by when he is moving through the house?  List those things that are different at night and then go through and change them to try to figure out why.  Maybe she is uncomfortable with him being up and alone at night???  Thinks he should be in bed???  

Does she stand in front of him when he is leaving the bed and behind him when he is going back to bed.  Dogs often sense something if off .  We have a hard time understanding that at times annoying behavior can be them trying to tell us something.  Of course it could be she is simply anxious and has nothing to do with him.

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We have a whole stack of things that our dog does which we don’t understand but training an alternative seems to suit our pup. So for example when your husband gets up he can ask for a ‘lie down’ and a ‘stay’ until he gets back into bed. 

Practice the training during the day and in different places as well as the bedroom. Get your dog used to the fact that when your husband uses the walker anywhere you may randomly ask your pup to lie down (or sit) and stay. Good luck :) 

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 I don't think it is as important why the dog is nipping as it is to stop it. Of course, if you can figure out that it is a different walker, or something obvious, then you can address that. But the important thing is never  to allow her to get away with that.

I would do a sharp NO! or AH!, whatever I am using with that dog to express displeasure, and then pop the dog into the crate, or banish her from the bedroom immediately. She doesn't have to stay there all night, but for 5 minutes or so to indicate to her that if she behaves that way she cannot be with you at night. This requires 100% consistency on your part. If she really wants to be with you, and you say she does, she will earn to curb this behavior pretty quickly.

I would not bother with distractions and so on, because this is potentially very serious behavior. Not only could your husband be tripped or otherwise injured, but if your dog ever nips at a stranger you can end up in a world of trouble, which could include a very unsafe situation for your dog. In many places you can be sued, and your dog may be kenneled for weeks at the pound, and if it were to happen more than once the dog can be killed.  I take all nipping and biting (beyond puppy mouthing, which I still try to stop as early as possible) very seriously, because it is.

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