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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'd never heard this term before, but stumbled upon it recently in a Patricia McConnell blog post. Does your spoo ever bop you in the face with his or her nose?

Peggy's hurt my face a few times now with a sharp, sudden shove. It never occurred to me it could be a precursor to a bite, but McConnell says it absolutely can be. Eek.

I know context is everything, but it always happens so fast, I can't get a read on her body language.

It happened just now while we were laying on the bed, lazily playing with a ball. In retrospect, maybe I was invading her personal space? I think I was leaning towards her face when it happened, but again...it was so quick. Is a shove from her nose acceptable in that case?

It's also happened while I'm just sitting on the couch, minding my own business (aka ignoring her).

BOP!!! Ouch.

She's usually got a toy with her, though, so again—never thought it was anything to actually worry about. Just unpleasantly demanding. She even recently threw a ball right into my face. Oh boy did that ever suck.

I'd obviously like to curb this behaviour, so if you have experience with it, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
(In retrospect, my mini mix used to do this a lot, too, but never to my face. It was a firm shove against my hand if I stopped petting her, and much cuter due to her tiny size.)
 

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I'm just going to keep talking to myself here as I work through this behavioural conundrum. ? Googling is bad. It makes me quite anxious. So I forced myself to stop that nonsense and it suddenly occurred to me that "KISSES!" is a command we've taught Peggy rather unconsciously. She's so young and unstinky and sweet, we welcome her kisses and often encourage them.

We also use the "TOUCH!" command regularly, and she sometimes does it with tremendous force.

These behaviours combined are exactly what she's doing to my face. Perhaps I've gone and taught her something very, very stupid? (Albeit unintentionally.)
 

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I'm guessing Peggy is asking you, in dog speak instead of English, to play with her. "Wanna wrestle!" Poke poke. "I'm boreeeeed." Poke poke. "Play with me!" Poke.
Since poking is rude, I would respond by giving her the exact opposite of what she wants. Turn away and completely ignore her for a minute. Then, when she isn't poking you, reward her by doing something fun that doesn't include poking your face.

I think touch is an ok command. The concept can be a foundation for more advanced concepts, like ringing a bell to go out. Plus it's one of the more easily redirected behaviors. You just tell them to go touch something other than what they are poking. You can play guessing games with "touch the stuffy, touch the frisbee, touch the ball." It gives the dog attention while working the brain.

I personally don't like teaching kisses. A lot of people don't appreciate getting licked by dogs. I can't in all fairness expect the dog to sort out when and why it's s ok to lick some people but not others. It's just easier if the dog has one rule - don't lick people.
 

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If I'm being boring, ignoring my poodle, and staring at my phone in my hand, he will often put his snout under my hand(s) and rather forwardly push my hands up, typically gently, but sometimes swiftly and strongly enough to cause me to fumble my phone. He always has a playful look in his eye when he does it, so I certainly don't take it as an aggressive act, but I simply view it as an effort to get attention.

When he was younger, and more puppy-like, if I was in bed for example, these sudden and energetic acts could certainly be surprising, and cause the dropping of of heavier objects, or getting booped in unexpected ways.

My poodle has not shown any aggression towards humans.
 

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Misha does this to our rabbit. He knows not to bite the rabbit, but he wants it to DO SOMETHING so he will go up to it and shove it a bit with his nose. I've seen my friend's doberman do the exact same thing to the rabbit. Neither of them actually want to hurt it, but they would like to see what it might do. Thankfully the rabbit doesn't mind and just puts on his boring face. I've also seen the same doberman do this to dogs that were in his house, in a more unfriendly manner. So I can see it being territorial aggression. But I think it often is just a way of messing with something or someone. It would not worry me unless accompanied by other aggressive signs.
 

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Having been the recipient of true muzzle punches in my work, as well as nose bonks from Raffi (thankfully not to the face from him though), I can assure you there is a world of difference- hard to describe but as long as you have some 'dog sense' it's visible.
The muzzle punches are often with a head swing, and often impact with part of the jaw, versus the nose bonks which are really the nose.
Raffi does also sometimes do a 'grab' at the cat or an arm/hand, that's with an open mouth but not biting- so very gentle mouthing basically, and we deal with it as such.
As far as Peggy's face bumps, I agree with cowpony that she is demanding attention in a rather rude way, and that should result in removal of attention. I also like the idea of teaching Touch to other things to keep her thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Having been the recipient of true muzzle punches in my work, as well as nose bonks from Raffi (thankfully not to the face from him though), I can assure you there is a world of difference- hard to describe but as long as you have some 'dog sense' it's visible.
The muzzle punches are often with a head swing, and often impact with part of the jaw, versus the nose bonks which are really the nose.
Raffi does also sometimes do a 'grab' at the cat or an arm/hand, that's with an open mouth but not biting- so very gentle mouthing basically, and we deal with it as such.
As far as Peggy's face bumps, I agree with cowpony that she is demanding attention in a rather rude way, and that should result in removal of attention. I also like the idea of teaching Touch to other things to keep her thinking.
I found a video of a dog (literally) taking a man down with a muzzle punch, so I think I know what you mean. It wasn't with the tip of the dog's delicate wet nose, but rather with the side of its muzzle. And wow did it look painful.

Peggy's is a straight nose to my nose/mouth, followed by a flurry of excited activity (possibly because she's genuinely hurt me a couple of times, and she reacts to my reaction).

It's easy to be led astray by random conversations online. I was reading a thread on another forum about a cattle dog walking up and poking kids, and everyone was acting like the dog was one step away from attacking. I'd always assumed that was herding behaviour, so I went into a real doubt spiral. ?
 

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Misha does this to our rabbit. He knows not to bite the rabbit, but he wants it to DO SOMETHING so he will go up to it and shove it a bit with his nose. I've seen my friend's doberman do the exact same thing to the rabbit. Neither of them actually want to hurt it, but they would like to see what it might do. Thankfully the rabbit doesn't mind and just puts on his boring face. I've also seen the same doberman do this to dogs that were in his house, in a more unfriendly manner. So I can see it being territorial aggression. But I think it often is just a way of messing with something or someone. It would not worry me unless accompanied by other aggressive signs.
Last night's stood out to me, only because I could tell she was extremely tired and not feeling very affectionate, and I still leaned way into her space. Bad me. It could have been a halfhearted attempt at play, or it could have been a request to back off. Either way, it was not accompanied by any other aggressive or anxious body language other than a quick lick of her lips after. (It's possible she just thought my face was tasty.)

I'll play rabbit next time and put on my boring face, even if it hurts.

Peggy will absolutely keep doing things that elicit any sort of energetic response, positive or negative. I'm learning (with the help of this forum....and this poodle) to take responsibility for my energy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If I'm being boring, ignoring my poodle, and staring at my phone in my hand, he will often put his snout under my hand(s) and rather forwardly push my hands up, typically gently, but sometimes swiftly and strongly enough to cause me to fumble my phone. He always has a playful look in his eye when he does it, so I certainly don't take it as an aggressive act, but I simply view it as an effort to get attention.

When he was younger, and more puppy-like, if I was in bed for example, these sudden and energetic acts could certainly be surprising, and cause the dropping of of heavier objects, or getting booped in unexpected ways.

My poodle has not shown any aggression towards humans.
?

This is soooo very familiar. Peggy has shoved my phone up and out of my hands on more than one occasion. Each time I got the message loud and clear: Stop paying so much attention to that silly thing!
 

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I'm guessing Peggy is asking you, in dog speak instead of English, to play with her. "Wanna wrestle!" Poke poke. "I'm boreeeeed." Poke poke. "Play with me!" Poke.
Since poking is rude, I would respond by giving her the exact opposite of what she wants. Turn away and completely ignore her for a minute. Then, when she isn't poking you, reward her by doing something fun that doesn't include poking your face.

I think touch is an ok command. The concept can be a foundation for more advanced concepts, like ringing a bell to go out. Plus it's one of the more easily redirected behaviors. You just tell them to go touch something other than what they are poking. You can play guessing games with "touch the stuffy, touch the frisbee, touch the ball." It gives the dog attention while working the brain.

I personally don't like teaching kisses. A lot of people don't appreciate getting licked by dogs. I can't in all fairness expect the dog to sort out when and why it's s ok to lick some people but not others. It's just easier if the dog has one rule - don't lick people.
I've never wanted a dog to kiss my face before. It's really weird that I invite this from Peggy! Especially since she has a tendency to perform commands with such, um, gusto.

I'll stop doing that. Not only do I agree with you—kissing's certainly not something I want her imposing on strangers—I think it also puts me in her face too much. I shouldn't be getting down to her level and putting my face right up to hers, especially not at this age. It puts me right in the line of fire.

When I asked my husband if Peggy ever nosed him in the nose, he said, "No. But I never put my face there."

Oh. Oops. Bad human.
 

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Brenda Aloff often also talks about muzzle punchs and when your take a workshop with her if your dog muzzle punchs her or you she will not be happy. Brenda considers muzzle punches to minimally rude and often also pretty aggressive behavior. I also have no tolerance for it from my dogs. A couple of times recently I've had adolescent age dogs make bouncy contact with my face while I was training on the CGC test item where the evaluator has to touch the dog's ears, feet and do a light brush over. After one time as an accident I told the handlers to please make sure the dog's stayed on a sit or directed stand. They practiced on this and both dogs have improved.
 
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Brenda Aloff often also talks about muzzle punchs and when your take a workshop with her if your dog muzzle punchs her or you she will not be happy. Brenda considers muzzle punches to minimally rude and often also pretty aggressive behavior. I also have no tolerance for it from my dogs. A couple of times recently I've had adolescent age dogs make bouncy contact with my face while I was training on the CGC test item where the evaluator has to touch the dog's ears, feet and do a light brush over. After one time as an accident I told the handlers to please make sure the dog's stayed on a sit or directed stand. They practiced on this and both dogs have improved.
Should I be looking for patterns then, so I can preempt the jab by asking for an incompatible behaviour?

This is far from ideal, but here's how it played out this morning: We were both sitting on the floor, playing quite gently with a toy. I asked her if she'd like to go out for potty, and lightning-fast, in came her nose. Without even really thinking about it, I raised my hand in front of my face, in a fist, and she essentially punched herself in the face. A quick headshake, and she was fine, but I didn't mean to fight force with force. I just really didn't feel like getting bopped in the nose again.

Reflecting back, I'd also asked her last night if she'd like to go out, right before it happened. So there's one clear pattern.
 

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It is wise to look for triggers and figure out the patterns. If "want to go out is the trigger" most of the time I think I would try any of several things: 1. make sure you are standing or sitting out of reach when you ask about going out for a start to avoid the problem; 2. train a sit or down as a precedent fo the asking her about going out; and 3. if she makes a jump or intention mave as you work mostly on item 2 redirect her to a static behavior when you see the intention move.
 
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So helpful. Thank you!

Rather than "Want to go out?" and then a mad excited scramble to get to the door (at which point she's trained to sit politely), I will work towards having her sit to say "Yes, please!"

Jeez... These triggers would probably seem so obvious to an outsider. I appreciate having this space to work through it all. My exuberant little communicator would otherwise surely get the best of me.
 

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They are evil geniuses aren't they? I will readily acknowledge there have been times whwn Lily was running the show as a youngster. I got her number and certainly while Javelin is a different dog, he has not taken over from me for more than about 30 seconds at a time.
 
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I guess Bella has been muzzle punching my hand when she wants to be pet more, but she more so uses her touch to flip my hand up so she can get under it.
I don’t know if it’s too late for Peggy but maybe you would want to switch which part of her body she uses to “touch”. Bella uses her paws for the touch command. I would imagine it would be easier to dodge an unwanted paw than a dull face since you’re used to it giving you affection.
I hood you’re able to curb this behaviour :(.
 

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I guess Bella has been muzzle punching my hand when she wants to be pet more, but she more so uses her touch to flip my hand up so she can get under it.
I don’t know if it’s too late for Peggy but maybe you would want to switch which part of her body she uses to “touch”. Bella uses her paws for the touch command. I would imagine it would be easier to dodge an unwanted paw than a dull face since you’re used to it giving you affection.
I hood you’re able to curb this behaviour :(.
Peggy's taken it upon herself a few times to get fancy with "touch" and try using her paw. ? Unfortunately, she also has a tendency to abruptly paw me in the face. Sigh. Definitely one of those things that was cute when she was smaller and had nice silky pads. I probably inadvertently reinforced it.

She reminds me so much of my foster GSD. Lots of nosing and pawing. Similar communication intensity. Almost always a step or two ahead. Definitely makes me feel out of my depth sometimes.

But last week I was feeling high on our progress and I trust I'll feel that way again. Two steps forward, one step back, maybe a few sideways, a pause to smell the roses....
 

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Update: I've not received a nose shove, nose bop, or anything even remotely resembling a muzzle punch since lifting my hand just that one time, lightning-fast, to protect my face. That unexpected contact must have made an impression on her.

More importantly, though, I've stopped seeking an excited reaction by excitedly asking if she wants to go outside

I'm not the type that wants my dog to maul me when I come home. I understand that kind of excitement isn't usually pleasant for them, that it feels more like anxiety. So why would I trigger it before we go outside?

To break the habit, my husband and I now say to ourselves, "Don't ask. Act." And we love how Peggy responds with similar calm confidence rather than frantic appeasement.
 
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