Stopping a Dog From Nipping People Who Try to Pet Him

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 9, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped a 4 year-old Bichon / Poodle rescue dog named Mojo stop snapping at people who touch his side.

After sitting down with his guardian and observing his behavior, I got the impression that Mojo thinks that he runs the show. Multiple times throughout the session he refused to come over when invited by his guardian or myself unless we provided sufficient rewards.

I suggested that his guardian play a little bit of hard to get as well as start asking him to earn his rewards through desired actions and behavior. I shared my petting with a purpose and passive training philosophies with the guardian as both of these will help the dog start to see the human as being in the leadership position.

To stop the dog from nipping people who try to touch his side, I handed my phone to his guardian so I could demonstrate a few different techniques.

I always love it when I’m able to break through and change the behavior while filming the tutorial video. Unfortunately that was not the case with Mojo.

In fact following filming the above video, his guardian ran into a little bit of a snag as she started to hesitate when she reached over to touch his side after witnessing how he reacted to me. This caused Mojo to start nipping at her! It took a little finessing before we were able to stop this behavior which was entirely the result of the guardian showing hesitation.

If you are tentative or uncertain when interacting with the dog, the dog can feel uneasy and that was certainly the case with Mojo. Fortunately once the guardian let go of her trepidations, things returned to normal.

Unsatisfied with the results that I received the above free dog training video, I wanted to use a different approach, but knew that I needed to incorporate a muzzle to make sure that everyone stays safe.

I showed the guardian how to use positive dog training techniques to help Mojo develop a positive association with the muzzle. The guardian had informed me that a vet had tried to put a muzzle on him before and it was a disaster, so I was quite pleased with my approach as Mojo did not disagree in the slightest.

Once Mojo was comfortable with the muzzle, I found a combination of several techniques that allowed me to touch his side without any nipping whatsoever. Unfortunately, this technique will need to be repeated multiple times and since the guardian is not from the area, she didn’t have anyone else that would be able to come by and help practice.

To help Mojo stop nipping people who try to touch him, my lead dog trainer James and I will be stopping by a couple of times a week for the next few weeks to help the guardian practice the new technique to stop her dog from nipping to disagree with anyone who tries to touch him. As a dog behaviorist, I =have found that stopping a dog from nipping is often a slower process, but if you take your time, you can help them stop the unwanted behavior for good.

To help the guardian remember all the other dog behavior advice I shared with her during this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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