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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20217
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My dog is a rescue dog. We have had her for one year. She is

Customer Question

My dog is a rescue dog. We have had her for one year. She is three years old, she panics about things and she nips and bites at times. She also barks at every noise and people.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Is she nipping as a result of her panic or are they separate issues?
Does she nip and bite you (her owners)?
Is she allowed on furniture?
What obedience training has she had?
Can you give me some details on when she has nipped or bit including what was going on before, during and what your reaction was?
How do you discipline her?
What breed or closest one is she?
Is she spayed?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They are seperate issues.

She nips and bites owners and visitors when we try to leave the house or hug each other any time.

She is allowed on furniture only when we say she can.

No obedience training-not great with other dogs but knows many commands which she follows, but she ignores any commands when we leave the house.

She has bit/nipped when shut in a separate room when the door goes, and often when my 16 year old daughter tries to stop her getting out of the front door after i leave the house- i ignore her. Bites any time somebody picks up a handbag or puts shoes/cardigan on.

To discipline Bella, we reward positive behaviour and we ignore negative behaviour, sometimes shut the door on her when she barks so she stops instantly.

Bella is a Sprollie- Springer x Collie and has been spayed.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for that information. It sounds like she is a dominant dog. Dominant dogs will nip and bite to reprimand the other pack members when they feel they are doing something the dominant dog does not approve of. IN this case, apparently she doesn't like people leaving or stopping her from leaving indicated by her biting when people do those things that indicate they are getting ready to leave her.

So to correct this situation, you need to establish all the humans as the bosses and her as the lower ranking member of the pack. The fastest way of accomplishing this is formal obedience training. YOu don't have to go to formal classes initially as you can train at home and involve everyone. However, eventually you need to finish her obedience training in an environment where there are distraction like a formal training class.

The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

As I mentioned, all the humans need to be involved with training. You also need to stop allowing her to be on furniture. It raises her physically to the same level as the humans so she feels equal or higher than the humans especially since she has teeth and is not afraid to use them. Keeping her on the floor will help lower her both physically and mentally.

I recommend using hot dog slices or liver slivers for treats. They can be messy but are very effective at getting a dog to work (obedience train). When a dog obeys even if for a treat, it makes them just a little more submissive to that person naturally lowering the dog in the pack.

She is a herding breed so nipping comes naturally and she is likely to have a lot of energy, so you need to have an outlet for that energy. Try at least two 30-45 minute fast paced (not strolls) walks. You can get a back pack and add cans and water to exercise her even more.

I would keep a short leash on her at all times to help with training. While I agree with positive training techniques, I also believe a dog should have consequences for misbhaving. You will be reprimanding her. A reprimand would be a short tug on the leash to break her concentration and a firm low toned, growl like "NO". This lets her know that the behavior is unacceptable. Rewarding her for the desired behavior is important as well. So if she doesn't bite when she would have previously. This helps her see what behavior you expect out of her instead of the bad behavior.

You can set up situations where she bites so you can use reprimands to correct her. Practice over and over such as someone putting on their shoes in front of her. Someone elses gives the reprimand if she goes to nip and rewards if she doesn't. She'll learn quickly how to get the treat and stop the nipping.

You can use the same reprimand and reward system to stop the barking. While you have been rewarding some behavior, you have no reprimands for bad behavior except shutting the door. Bark collars are very effective but the contacts have to be able to touch the throat, so the hair might need to be trimmed if you decide to try one.

Once she is pretty much trained, go to a formal class. In addition, teach her to sit when you are leaving. Have her sit while you open the door and reward her. Then have her sit while you walk out and back in so she starts to see you leaving as not necessarily being gone for a long time. She'll also start seeing that as an opportunity to receive a treat sinc eyou will be rewarding her. Of course over time, the treats will be reduced and praise used instead still throwing a treat in now and again to keep reinforcing the training.
These techniques should take care of the problems. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .