why does my dog attack my feet

What do all these breeds have in common? Corgi, Great Pyrenees, Aussie, Border collie, dachshund, Bernese mountain dogs, Maremma sheepdogs, heelersБ
all of these dogs (or mixes) were bred to do a specific job. Historically, they acted as farm security guards, tunneled for vermin, or steeredб or herded б livestock. As a vet tech, I often heard new puppy owners ask about ankle biting when they came to the clinic for puppy wellness exams. We would talk to them about herding behavior and how natural this behavior is for certain breeds or mixes. б Mostб б like those mentioned above, will sometimes nip at a personБs feet or heels. Essentially, theyБre trying to herd you, and theyБre mimicking the livestock herding behavior they were originally bred for. Anyone running around or playing vigorously is likely to be on the receiving end. б It shouldnБt be shocking to anyone, for instance, to hear about a corgi nipping at the heels of their owner. While these are natural behaviors for puppies, itБs important to redirect their behavior. Hard-Wired to Herd Certain canine behaviors are Бhard-wired. Б For example, our dachshunds are hard-wired to dig holes and this is their favorite past-time! I may not live with herders, but I certainly understand what itБs like to live with a dog that frequently needs help redirecting certain natural behaviors. б advise to redirect herding breed puppies, and remove the reward of your attention when they nip or bite. each your dog to play with a tug at your side. Redirecting the dogБs natural tendency to chase and bite at things keeps your legs safe and builds great toy drive, a valuable conditioned reinforcer for many dogs! Б -ClickerTraining With that in mind, these working dogs need a job.


If theyБre not herding, giving them stimulating activities and challenging problems to solve will help. б б Don t Add Fuel to the Fire And how are you reacting to the being herded? Are you adding fuel to the fire? The more people react to the behavior by running and yelling, the more your dog thinks this is a game. It s better to correct this behavior as soon as it starts and there are lots of techniques that work. б Enrichment for Herding Breedsб How should we eliminate the problem? Enrichment opportunities can come in the form of toys, playmates, food, games, and training. The goal is to give pets more control over their lives. Your working dog may simply be bored. Herding dogs often enjoy rolling and chasing balls in an outdoor enclosure. Think: yoga balls orб Herding this ball around a large green space is great enrichment. To stop your puppy from nipping at your heels, keep a favorite toy in your pocket. When she does bite, stop moving, then wave the toy around to distract her until she latches onto it. Using a rope tie a large, durable toy to a tree. This should be supervised. What about making an animalБs environment more interesting? Give a friend that has farm animals an old t-shirt or stuffed animal and have them leave it near the farm until itБs super-smelly. After several days, give this to your pet as olfactory enrichment. Perhaps this stinky t-shirt can be wrapped around that tug toy! Also, consider an enrichment schedule for your four-legged friend. Every day of the week, mark an activity for them ranging from toy to food and environmental enrichment. Safety first, of course! Supervise any new enrichment activities to ensure they re not a hazard to your pet. б Training experts and co-authors of provide valuable advice for pet parents.


Their recommended schedule has a ton of ways to set your dog up for success. An example plan: You just need some imagination! No one wants to go for a walk with their ankle-biting puppy or adult dog. Redirecting is easy, but you need time and patience. Just don t blame your dog for behaving in ways that are natural for them. Instead, find other great games. Further Readingб. You hardly ever see dogs chasing, nipping, or biting at trees. Why? Because theyБre boringБthey donБt move, squeal, run away, scream, give eye contact, or push the dog away. This program teaches pet owners how to read their dog, and is also valuable for children learning to safely interact with dogs. б My puppy used to chase me outside and scale my back while biting at me/my clothes (yes, it was as embarrassing and painful as it sounds) and this is how I dealt with it. What would you like her to do instead? How about walking at your side, focusing on you instead of your feet? For this, a good heal will do the trick. I differentiate a heal from loose leash walking- for me, they re two different things. Loose leash walking means not pulling on the leash, but I don t get more specific about that (I don t care where he walks so long as he s not dragging me around). That s expected every single time he s on leash. A heal is something I put on cue- heal or with me or holding my hand by the leg I want him walking next to. This is so freaking handy for walking by reactive dogs, walking through crowds of people, or walking by a tantalizing looking dead bird on the sidewalk. For this, start by luring her to your side using a treat. If you ve got a clicker, click/treat the second she s in the spot you d like.


If she immediately moves post-treat, bring her back and do it again. Eventually she ll catch on. Then start at a walk, clicking/treating as she walks next to you. If she flies away, stop the whole thing and lure/call her back to your side to start over. I love teaching this off-leash because adding the leash makes little to no difference once you ve really nailed it! This can also turn into a wonderfully fun and educational game of red-light-green-light if you take it outside. Can she stick right by you if you jog? Sprint? Sit at your side when you stop short? It s a lot of fun. Say you re cleaning your house and you just want her to get out of your hair? Mat training ( Go to your spot! ) is great for that. Get a mat/towel/small blanket/little rug that s exclusively for mat training. Like this thing should not exist to the pup unless you re expecting her to lie down on it. Tuck it away when you re not using it. The result will be that when you do take it out, she ll just settle herself down and you can throw her a kong and go on your merry way. To start, just click and treat any time the pup is on the mat in any way- one paw is fine. As she catches on you can start narrowing your criteria- only click if all four paws are on the mat. Only click if she s sitting on the mat. Finally, only click when she lies down. When you treat, reset the game by tossing the treat off to the side for her to chase. She ll scramble back onto the mat to do it again. As she gets good at the game start asking her to remain in a down for longer periods of time (treat her/give her something tasty to work on while she does this). Add distance to your cue- can you send her to her mat from a few feet away? How about across a room? Hope this helps! Have fun!

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