Stopping a Little Dog with a Big Nipping Problem

By: David Codr

Published Date: March 27, 2019

Penny Yorkie - Stopping a Little Dog with a Big Nipping Problem

For this Omaha dog training session we used some positive reinforcement and a walk to help 4 year-old Yorkie Penny stop being fearful and upset when people move around without her permission.

Penny was pretty worked up when we arrived for the session. But I could tell she was an anxious and fearful dog too. Many fearful dogs nip and act out when they are stressed or over stimulated. I used a few dog behaviorist tricks that allowed us to come inside without any nips.

When we sat down to discuss things, Penny barked and retreated to the upstairs landing to keep some distance. This is not unusual behavior for a fearful dog. I asked the guardian to ignore her and tossed several treats to the landing once she calmed down. She did not eat them right away as she was all worked up. Waiting for Penny to eat these treats was part of my plan as eating is an indicator that a dog is feeling more relaxed and confident.

Eventually Penny worked up enough courage to eat the treats then come into the room. This was an important step as I wanted to use counterconditioning to stop the dog from getting upset when people move around her.

Our new Booking Coordinator Becca was shadowing with me for this session so I had her assist us in demonstrating how to teach a dog to stop getting mad when people move around the room with counterconditioning.

It was great seeing how quickly Penny responded to this positive dog training technique. As long as the guardians practice this at Penny’s pace, she will start to connect people’s movements with the treats and stop getting upset when people move around her. Stopping a dog from being fearful is all about creating positive experiences and practicing them.

One of the people Penny hadn’t warmed up to was the guardian’s boyfriend. She would approach and sit next to him, but still got upset when he moved, even though he had been visiting frequently for months.

I took Penny out for a walk without the guardians to see how she did. Dogs process things by literally moving forward and all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors provide a nice distraction. Penny did so well I had the boyfriend take her for a walk next.

By the end of the walk, Penny was so relaxed the boyfriend was able to pet her and pick her up for the first time! The look on the guardian’s face when she saw him carrying Penny was priceless. I suggested the boyfriend start walking Penny as soon as he arrives for the next week or two. Im betting within a few days, the dog’s fearful behavior around the boyfriend will diminish rapidly.

To help the guardian remember all the dog psychology tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr