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Old 12-03-2012, 08:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why did my dog nip?

Today my Standard Poodle of 3 years who was adopted last year nipped as the cable technician left my home. He's never showed aggression, never nipped, or shown any type of dominance, he certainly likes to alert when people are at the door with barking and growling but is then quite friendly and likes to engage with people and allows everyone to feel comfortable in the home. Today however, for no apparent reason he nipped at the pant leg as the cable technicians back was turned as he was leaving the home. I said oh, I think he's just playing with you... I've never seen this behavior before. What does this mean? The cable man did not greet or make eye contact or engage with him and seemed standoffish.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not sure of the why, but I would be working hard to make sure it does not become an established habit. Poppy will jump up and nip when she is excited - barely noticeable nips, but I discourage them, largely by calling her to me before she gets wound up, and rewarding calm, polite behaviour. Giving the post woman and other visitors treats to hand out to polite dogs helps too. Perhaps Quincy was uneasy at having a stranger in the house, perhaps there was something in the body language - whatever it was, I would make sure I was ready to step in before he could even think about it in future, and would keep a pot of good treats near the door for visitors to toss to him as they arrive and leave.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It may have been an excited attempt to get attention since it sounds like he is used to being greeted. I would work on having him not greet people at the door, but instead have him stay on a mat or rug until he is invited into the situation. It sounds like the way he is currently greeting is too exited and I would discourage the growling, jumping, or even pleasent greeting for now. Instead reinforce that he needs to go to his mat/rug/crate before you will open the door, and then stay there until he is invited to greet a visitor, it will diffuse some of his excitement, give him a safe place to hang when there is a lot of activity at the door, and make your guests feel more comfortable not being mauled by a friendly pup the minuite the door opens.

Since he is already excited and friendly at the door, I don't know that additional socialization with strangers/treats will be as successfull as working on self control.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My dogs like to nip too when they are really, really happy! Indy recently gave me a loony (Canadian dollar coin) sized bruise on my inner arm from a nip when she was extremely happy to see me get up in the morning; I yelped and she dashed 6 feet away and looked upset. After that, I have been working on just what fjm suggested, tools so Indy can minimize her overexcitement, and rewarding her calm behaviour. My sister reminded me that Indy bit me on the behind a few months ago too! I had forgotten about that time
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not sure.

You might want to take a dog body language class, maybe there have been signs of aggression and you've missed them because they didn't fit the usual exploits we expect. Or at least, if there is some warning sign given you'll be able to catch it before he goes for a leg again. Going for the heel of that person (or another animal) when the back is turned could be herding instinct, or even predatory. It

Also I would regain ownership of the greeting in your home. There is no reason for your dog to be the greeter when they're extremely excited. Being overly excited could lead to unpredictable behavior with strangers.


Could also be a one time thing. I had a one time thing with my terrier once where he guarded a raw bone.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This may be left field, but.... Last night I was watching this thing on TV about a repair man that would go in and when there was a single woman alone, he would tie her up and attack her. Not saying that this was the case, but perhaps your poodle thought there was something amiss with this guy... Not saying that is what it was, but it is food for thought.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetheartsrodeo View Post
This may be left field, but.... Last night I was watching this thing on TV about a repair man that would go in and when there was a single woman alone, he would tie her up and attack her. Not saying that this was the case, but perhaps your poodle thought there was something amiss with this guy... Not saying that is what it was, but it is food for thought.
Even if her dog though there was something amiss with the cable guy, biting is just unacceptable. I have no doubt that dogs can sense things, but even if you believe that dogs are always right about their gut feelings, "people" often do not act on their feelings. It is not appropriate for a dog to bite a person with monovalent feelings, it is not OK for a dog to bite a person that doesn't like their owner, doesn't like dogs, is "odd", smells like a cat, or has a medical issue that the dog finds amiss. Even a dog trained for protection, needs to wait for the appropriate cues to act.

I know you are not excusing this behavior, I just want to stress that finding out what triggered the bite is only helpful in learning to prevent it in the future.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pluto View Post
Even if her dog though there was something amiss with the cable guy, biting is just unacceptable. I have no doubt that dogs can sense things, but even if you believe that dogs are always right about their gut feelings, "people" often do not act on their feelings. It is not appropriate for a dog to bite a person with monovalent feelings, it is not OK for a dog to bite a person that doesn't like their owner, doesn't like dogs, is "odd", smells like a cat, or has a medical issue that the dog finds amiss. Even a dog trained for protection, needs to wait for the appropriate cues to act.

I know you are not excusing this behavior, I just want to stress that finding out what triggered the bite is only helpful in learning to prevent it in the future.
In no way was I saying the nip was, or was not ok. I don't feel that it is my place to judge how others manage their pup... I was just pointing out a possibility to why the nip might have occured, nothing more. :(
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