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  #1  
Old October 18th, 2011, 11:31 PM
mybubbles65 mybubbles65 is offline
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Muzzling my Puppy

My 7 month old Border Collie mix loves to mouth. She loves to play with the cat but is a little too rough with him. She especially likes to bite his legs and I'm afraid she's really going to hurt him. She's only playing but doesn't realize she could hurt him. She loves to bite me and my husband too. I've tried the yelping thing when she bites but she thinks that's a game and bites more. We're thinking of keeping a muzzle on her until she figures out that when she bites, the muzzle goes on and when she doesn't bite it stays off. Thoughts on this? Other suggestions?
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Old October 19th, 2011, 12:02 PM
Jumajum Jumajum is offline
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You need to do some bite inhibition training pronto. Ian Dunbar's siteis a good place to start.
Beyond yelping, remove yourself from the room and the dog.
You're probably fully aware that your lovely Border Collie has strong herding instincts. One of the tools that they use in herding is nipping and biting. It will take a fair bit of consistent conditioning but it will pay off.
If it does get worse, look for a professional trainer to help you.
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  #3  
Old October 19th, 2011, 01:12 PM
jpittssr jpittssr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mybubbles65 View Post
My 7 month old Border Collie mix loves to mouth. We're thinking of keeping a muzzle on her until she figures out that when she bites, the muzzle goes on and when she doesn't bite it stays off. Thoughts on this? Other suggestions?
I would love to have a border collie myself so I can understand why you chose this one. HOWEVER, It seems like you chose a pet based on what you like rather than one that fits your life style and living conditions.
The border collie naturally wants to herd. That's what they are bred for. Forcing an animal to be something else out of character is just asking for problems.

I had a similar problem with a Jack Russell Terrier. At my age I found that she was just too energetic for me. I loved that little dog more than I have ever loved a pet but I had to be honest, it was just not fair to her for me to keep her.
I ran an ad on Craig's List and found several people that were eager to have her. ( I did not sell her nor charge a re-homing fee. I had spent several hundred dollars on her. ) I selected the family that I thought was best able to care for her and give her a loving home. I talk with them frequently to see how she is doing.
I now have two Toy Poodles which are much better suited for me at my age and life style.

I would urge anyone to do your homework. Choose a pet that will fit your family for a long time.
Please don't try to remake a pet into something they are not.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 01:51 PM
mybubbles65 mybubbles65 is offline
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I resent the fact that you're telling me we got the wrong dog for our family. She is a wonderful dog and very smart. She is a Border Collie/Lab/Spaniel/Pointer and has some traits from all those breeds. She loves the cat and the cat lover her. They play all the time and get along very well. She just plays a little rough with him. She also bites my husband and I. This has nothing to do with her herding instinct. She's just a pup that never learned from her mom and siblings not to mouth. Some constructive advice would be nice not criticisms telling us we got the wrong dog. You have no idea how much time we spent researching breeds. We did choose a pet that suited our lives (for instance deciding a Jack was way to bouncy for us). She is very quiet and snuggly, just a mouther. We are not trying to make her something she is not. NO dog should be mouthing.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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breeze breeze is offline
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mybubbles

in my option I would not muzzle the pup. I would try and train her not to nip or bite, reward when she listens.

walk away after you yulp.

give her a toy to replace the biting or nipping

do not play tug of war at this time

you can also gently close her mouth and tell her a firm no!!
give her a toy and then walk away.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 12:44 AM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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Muzzling your puppy is not a good idea. It will not teach your pup anything and could result in a lot of fearful behaviours. Instead you need to teach your pup alternate behaviours that will get attention. Basically the jumping and nipping are all attempts to get your attention so you need to withdraw your attention when she does that. If she nips you then immediately turn your back to her and walk away for a few seconds. Return to her and if she makes a better choice then reward with attention (praise) and/or treats. It usually doesn't take long before they figure out the nipping ends the game. Yelping works for some dogs, it worked for my 5 year old when he was a pup but doesn't work much for my new puppy.

If she is doing the jumping and nipping while you are in motion then I would just totally freeze in position and look away. I have started to do that with my pup and she has figured it out very quickly and now will only possibly nip if she is super excited.

I would also suggest working on a lot of behaviours that will teach her some self control. These include things like holding a short sit stay, down stay and also a "on your bed" command. These take time to build but if done in short, positive training sessions you will see results very quickly. You can then use those behaviours to manage her level of excitement. If she is getting super amped up then you can ask her to sit stay for a few seconds and that will help calm her down a bit. Generally most puppies nip most when they are very excited so keeping that from happening is half your battle.

Have you crate trained your puppy? Sometimes when they are over excited the best thing for everyone is a little time out. Keep some kongs stuffed with yummy things (canned dog food, peanut butter, cheez whiz etc) in the freezer and when everyone (people included) need a time out then cheerfully escort the pup to the crate and give her the kong to chew on. Never use the crate angrily but sometimes we all benefit from a short break.

Good luck.
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  #7  
Old October 20th, 2011, 10:15 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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You have a mixture of mouth oriented breeds. BC nip to herd. Labs and Spaniels retrieve with their mouths. I don't know about Pointers, do they retrieve too? Anyway, these breeds are hardwired to use their mouths and the right way is developed with training which the mother dog does not do all by herself. You have to help your puppy.

Let me insert here that most dogs learn to exist in harmony with their house mate cats. If the cat won't give the pup a whack on the nose you must step in.

Are you taking her to obedience classes? A good trainer will help you with techniques to try. You have lots of energy and a need to work built into those crosses. Exercise alone won't do it, that dog needs mental work too.

Yelping doesn't always work. Yelping in a high pitched voice may sound like excitement to your pup. In training you use your voice and high pitched GOOD GIRL is praise and encouragement while a low growly BAD DOG is discipline. You see how your pup might get confused?

The Dunbar article is great, please read it.

Other things to try are. Be tree. Stop playing. NO! Lip under the teeth. Substitute an acceptable toy BEFORE the bite comes. Keep your hands free. I did the last two with my Lab. I swear the only time I got to cuddle him was when he was sleeping on my lap. At 6 months old something clicked in his little black brain and he simply didn't bite.
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  #8  
Old October 20th, 2011, 11:21 AM
mybubbles65 mybubbles65 is offline
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Thanks

Thank you for the constructive advice. I will try all these things. She did attend a puppy training class for six weeks in the summer. She did very well and learned a lot of general obedience. I have an in home trainer coming next week to help with this specific problem. She is much better then when she was a small pup so I'm sure she will only get better. I just worry about the poor cat. He is so gentle that the silly bugger won't give her a good whack or bite. I'm sure that would put her in her place. Thanks again everyone
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  #9  
Old October 20th, 2011, 11:55 AM
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ownedbycats ownedbycats is offline
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Just a word of warning. Up to this point, nipping has gotten your attention, even if it was negative attention, which is what she wanted. When you start completely ignoring her every time she nips, for the first little while she may nip harder or more frequently because nipping always worked before. Now, all of a sudden, it doesn't work, and she can't figure out why it is no longer working and will try harder figuring she just didn't nip the right way or hard enough.
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  #10  
Old October 27th, 2011, 06:40 AM
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kigndano kigndano is offline
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youve gotten A+ advice so far

i would say though if children are around either keep the dog on a short leash attached to YOU at all times or get a playpen area for it, just so theres no traumatic accidents while training is ongoing.

good luck!
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